African startups invited to apply for GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption

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The GSMA has opened applications for its Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion, which will back startups in Africa and Asia that help to increase mobile internet adoption and usage.

It is the latest Innovation Fund run by the GSMA, after other focused offerings in 2019 and 2018, with this year’s edition supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the GSMA and its members.

The objective of the fund – which will offer grants of between GBP100,000 (US$124,000) and GBP250,000 (US$311,000) – is to support solutions that seek to address one or more of the following barriers to mobile internet adoption: accessibility, affordability, digital skills, and safety and security.

It will support startups or small to medium enterprises (SMEs) with innovative new products, services or business models which can address key barriers to mobile internet adoption and use, driving digital inclusion for those currently digitally excluded, including women. 

“Today, we understand the value of being connected like never before. “Mobile operators have invested almost US$1 trillion in network infrastructure over the past five years, bringing mobile internet coverage to 91 per cent of the world’s population. Despite this, 3.3 billion people are not using mobile internet services,” said John Giusti, chief regulatory officer at the GSMA. 

“Now is the time to find innovative ways to solve this usage gap for the digitally excluded – regardless of who they are or where they are. The Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion will drive partnerships to develop new and innovative ways of increasing use of the mobile internet so that more citizens can fully participate in society and the economy.”

Applications for the GSMA’s Innovation Fund are open here until May 22.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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