The 2nd Round of The GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund Is Now Open To African Startups


The GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund provides selected start-ups in Africa and Asia with grant funding, technical assistance, and the opportunity to partner with mobile operators in their markets to help scale their products and services into sustainable businesses with positive socio-economic impact.

For the second round, the Fund will be supporting start-ups operating in the Sharing Economy, and/or developing services for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Funding Process

The funding will be in the form of a grant which should be used for a specific project:

  • Launch of new product or service: a project where a brand-new value proposition is developed and/ or launched (Type 1).
  • Expansion into new market: a project which launches an existing product/service into a new market (Type 2).
  • Scaling-up existing product: a project to extend the reach/customer base of an existing product/ service in the same market it was originally launched in (Type 3).

Applicants are expected to submit and justify their requirements for the project to be funded, as well as funding amount and duration:

  • The amount can be between £100,000 and £250,000.
  • The funding requires a certain level of matching from the applicant.
  • The Fund will not be taking any equity against the funding; it will however control the monetary usage of the grant and only disburse funding based on milestones achievements. Incremental fund payments will be dependent on the start-up delivering proof that mutually agreed milestones/targets have been completed/achieved.
  • The duration of the project can be between 9 and 15 months.


To be eligible for funding, start-ups must meet the following criteria:

  • Be registered and operating in the country of project implementation (whether domestic or foreign owned) in compliance with relevant business licensing, taxation, employee and other relevant regulations.
  • Be aligned with one or both of the current Round’s focus areas.
  • Be in satisfactory financial health and have adequate financial systems to report regularly to the Fund and, if required, undergo an external audit.
  • Have adequate internal human resource capability to implement the proposed project within the proposed timeframe.
  • Have already demonstrated success and launched a product or service that has active users and generates revenue in at least one market.
  • Have the potential and appetite to form strategic partnerships with mobile operators where relevant.
  • Be compliant with fundamental human rights, UK Modern Slavery Act and Gender Equality Act, Child Protection Policies and international labour standards.

Application Process

Applications will be assessed through a 2-stage application process:

Pitch stage – The first stage will involve completing a short online questionnaire, to be reviewed by the Fund Manager and GSMA. The deadline for submitting pitches is 16th July 2017.

Proposal stage – The top pitches that meet the objectives of the Fund, and where the applicant is eligible, will be invited to develop a proposal setting out the full business case for the project. Applicants will receive support from the GSMA in developing their proposal; this support will likely include an advisory/due diligence visit to the applicant. Selected pitches will be notified early August 2017.

A successful pitch does not imply that the subsequent proposal will be funded.

An independent panel of experts (‘Fund Panel’) will appraise proposals based on the submitted material as well as recommendations from the GSMA and the Fund Manager.


Round 2 of the Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund opened on 1 June 2017 and all pitches are due by 16 July 2017 at 11.59 pm GMT.

Visit the official GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund page for more information.





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