New GSMA Innovation Fund to back African startups delivering digital urban services


A new GSMA Innovation Fund is looking for startups in Africa, South Asia or Southeast Asia leveraging digital technology to deliver urban services with socio-economic, commercial and environmental impact.

The GSMA Innovation Fund for Digital Urban Services is the latest such fund run by the GSMA, after other focused offerings in 2020, 2019 and 2018

It is targeting startups with digital solutions in the plastic and waste management, water, energy and sanitation sectors, with successful projects to receive an equity-free grant of between GBP100,000 (US$140,000) and GBP250,000 (US$350,000) to scale their innovation over a 15- to 18-month period.

With two-thirds of the world’s population expected to live in cities by 2050, and most urban growth concentrated in Africa and Asia, the fund looks to address challenges to basic service provision as city authorities and urban service providers struggle to meet the demands of rapidly growing populations.

The fund will help to scale digital solutions that provide essential urban services to underserved populations from low- and middle-income countries in Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Grants and additional support are provided to startups, small to medium enterprises, or social enterprises that leverage digital technology, especially mobile, to deliver urban services with socio-economic, commercial, and environmental/climate impact.

Applications are open here until July 2.


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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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