African startups invited to apply for GSMA agri-tech fund
African startups have been invited to apply for the GSMA Innovation Fund for Digitisation of Agricultural Value Chains aims to scale digital solutions for the agricultural last mile and improve smallholders’ financial inclusion, livelihood and climate resilience.
The Fund prioritises enterprise services targeted at organisations (e.g. agribusiness, cooperatives, etc.) procuring from smallholders with the focus on those living on less than USD 2 per day.
Up to eight grants of £220,000 each are being made available to support projects of 24 months duration. In addition, the GSMA will provide in-kind support and consultancy to assist the development of business plans, and service implementation through market research, user-centric design, business intelligence, user-testing with agribusiness staff and smallholders.
The Concept Note application window opened in June 2019 and will close on 31 July 2019.
Applications for funding are assessed through a two-stage application process.
- Concept Note: The first step will be to submit a Concept Note, which outlines the project objectives, lists proposed partners, demonstrates the consortium’s capacity to deliver the project and explains how the project fits within wider strategy of the business owner.
- Business Plan: A short-list of applicants whose Concepts Notes meet the objectives and eligibility requirements of the Fund will be notified in August 2019 and invited to develop a Business Plan. This will further outline the strategy for implementing and scaling the service; provide a budget projection with an indication of how the grant is to be spent, and a workplan for the 24 month implementation period. The deadline for the Business Plan submission will be 31 October 2019.
All eligible applicants at Concept Note stage, irrespective of whether they ultimately receive a grant under this Innovation Fund, will be invited to join the GSMA AgriTech Priority Learning Partners Initiative, where they will gain access to a number of knowledge sharing resources and events, including webinars on the topic of enterprise solutions for the last mile.
All Concept Notes and Business Plans must be submitted in English.
All eligible applicants must as part of the Concept Note stage provide the following documentation:
- certificate of registration
- audited accounts for the last financial year
- details of operational and financial management processes
For more details about this fund click here.
The move by GSMA comes at a time when the focus on innovation is shifting to Agriculture. In April, World Bank has launched a digital agriculture technologies innovation platform in Kenya that seeks to boost agriculture sector by providing solutions around productivity, market access, financial inclusion and information to farmers.
The platform dubbed as ‘disruptive digital technology’ it aims at funding agri-tech innovations to step up technologies that will scale up food production of one million farmers in the next three years.
Under the platform, the World Bank Group has partnered the Korea-World Bank Partnership Facility; UN SDG Partnership Platform and the Ministries of Agriculture; and Information, Communications and Technology among others.
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