In a world grappling with escalating humanitarian crises, from natural disasters to displacement and food insecurity, hope often lies in unexpected places. One such beacon of hope shines through the GSMA Innovation Fund for Humanitarian Challenges 2024, a vital initiative empowering for-profit startups, SMEs, and social enterprises to harness the power of mobile and digital technology for good.
This year, the Fund takes a revolutionary step forward, focusing on scaling existing innovations. No longer just a launchpad for promising ideas, it transforms into a catalyst for proven solutions to reach wider communities and deliver maximum impact. Imagine an AI-powered platform predicting climate disasters, enabling proactive evacuations. Or a blockchain-based system ensuring transparent aid distribution, eliminating waste and empowering displaced families. These are just a glimpse of the possibilities.
This Fund is more than just financial fuel. It’s a comprehensive support system, offering grants ranging from £100,000 to £250,000 alongside invaluable technical expertise, mentorship, and access to the GSMA’s vast network of stakeholders. This holistic approach ensures grantees thrive, navigating the complexities of scaling and maximizing their solutions’ reach.
But the true beneficiaries are those facing the challenges head-on. Imagine farmers in drought-stricken regions receiving early warnings via SMS, allowing them to optimize water usage and protect their livelihoods. Or refugees accessing crucial healthcare information and services through their mobile phones, even in the most remote locations. These are not mere dreams; they are the tangible outcomes within reach.
The application window for the Fund closes on February 12th, 2024. This is a call to action for innovators, entrepreneurs, and changemakers who believe in the potential of technology to alleviate human suffering. If you have a solution brimming with potential, a digital lifeline waiting to be deployed, we urge you to step forward and be part of this transformative journey.
- Grants ranging from £100,000 to £250,000: This substantial funding provides crucial resources to accelerate scaling your solution and reach more people in need.
- Flexible funding model: The Fund adapts to your specific needs, accommodating varying project costs and scaling initiatives.
- Expert guidance: The GSMA team, along with partners, provides invaluable expertise in scaling, technology adoption, and humanitarian implementation.
- Mentorship: Benefit from the experience of seasoned professionals who can guide you through challenges and optimize your impact.
- Access to the GSMA’s extensive network: Connect with mobile operators, government agencies, NGOs, and other stakeholders, opening doors to wider partnerships and deployment opportunities.
- Global recognition: Gain valuable exposure within the humanitarian and technology sectors, attracting potential investors and collaborators.
- Knowledge sharing and collaboration: Participate in workshops, events, and peer-to-peer learning activities to refine your approach and learn from others in the field.
- Monitoring and evaluation support: The Fund provides resources and frameworks to track your progress, measure impact, and continuously improve your solution.
- The opportunity to make a real difference: Contribute to solving critical humanitarian challenges and improve the lives of millions of people around the world.
- Become a pioneer in humanitarian innovation: Drive the adoption of cutting-edge technology in the humanitarian sector and set a precedent for future initiatives.
- Join a global community of changemakers: Connect with passionate individuals and organizations working towards a common goal of building a more resilient and equitable world.
- Type: Open to for-profit small and growing enterprises (commercially viable start-ups, small and medium enterprises, and social enterprises) with up to 250 employees.
- Financial viability: Must demonstrate a majority of income derived from commercial activities, with early-stage companies showing a reliable path to sustainability via commercial activities.
- Legal compliance: Fully compliant with relevant business licensing, taxation, employee, and other regulations in all countries of project operation.
- Bank account: Registered and have a bank account in the country where they will receive the grant money (if not the same as the project implementation country), capable of receiving GBP payments.
- Registration: Registered as a legal entity in the country of project implementation.
- Focus: Delivering humanitarian solutions to low-income and vulnerable populations in countries eligible for official development assistance.
- Technology: Leverage digital technology, especially mobile, to deliver solutions.
- Scalability: Possess significant potential for scaling up and reaching a wider population beyond the initial pilot project.
- Impact: Clearly demonstrate the anticipated positive impact on beneficiaries and the humanitarian sector, with a robust measurement framework to track progress.
- Partnerships: Openness to collaborating with mobile operators, public sector organizations, and other stakeholders to maximize impact.
- Project duration: Designed for implementation within a 15-18 month period.
Stage 1: Pitch (December 2023 – February 12th, 2024)
- Submit a concise online pitch outlining your innovation, its target humanitarian challenge, and how it leverages mobile and digital technology.
- Clearly demonstrate how your solution aligns with the Fund’s eligibility criteria and addresses a key humanitarian need.
- Ensure your pitch is compelling, highlighting the potential impact and scalability of your project.
Stage 2: Proposal (February – June 2024)
- Shortlisted applicants will be invited to develop a detailed proposal outlining their full business case.
- This stage involves providing in-depth information about your solution’s technical details, operational plans, financial projections, impact measurement framework, and risk mitigation strategies.
- You may receive guidance and support from the GSMA during this stage, including potential field visits for due diligence purposes.
Stage 3: Fund Panel (June 2024)
- An independent panel of experts will review all proposals and shortlists the strongest candidates based on their potential impact, scalability, viability, and alignment with the Fund’s objectives.
- The final decision on grant awards will be announced in July 2024.
Application Deadline: February 12, 2024Application ClosedOfficial link