GSMA fund to support SMEs, start-ups developing digital solutions for low-income populations affected by climate change

Organisations with mobile and digital solutions to increase the capacity of low-income and vulnerable communities to adapt to, anticipate and/or absorb climate-related shocks can now apply for the GSMA Innovation Fund for Climate Resilience and Adaptation 2.0’ 

Supported by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the fund will test innovative use cases, partnerships and business models to improve the sustainability and scalability of digitally-enabled solutions. Focused on use-cases demonstrating a positive impact on low-income populations (particularly women) and populations vulnerable to current or future climate risks, the fund will also support solutions that contribute to climate resilience via the strengthening of biodiversity.

Building on the GSMA Innovation Fund for Climate Resilience and Adaptation launched at COP26, this latest fund is open to applicants with projects in Africa, South and South East Asia, Pacific Islands, the Caribbean and selected countries in Latin America and Eastern Europe. The fund will award grants of between £100,000 to £250,000, with a match funding requirement, to for-profit start-ups, small and growing enterprises using mobile and digital technology to pilot or scale solutions that build resilience towards climate change impacts.  

While selecting the final cohort, a higher priority will be given to applications focusing on nature-based solutions, solutions for sustainable consumption and production, and projects supporting women.  

In addition to grant funding, selected organisations will receive tailored technical assistance, learning exchange and networking opportunities. Facilitation of relationships with mobile operators, public sector organisations and investors as well as opportunities to increase visibility and profile to potential investors will also be provided through GSMA’s events, publications, and social media. 

Max Cuvellier, the Head of Mobile for Development at GSMA, stated that: De-risking innovation through mechanisms like the fund we are opening for applications today has the potential to identify and support early-stage digital innovations that can help communities adapt, anticipate and absorb increasingly frequent climate shocks. With this fund we want to put an even stronger focus on supporting local teams and female-led organisations, as well as relatively nascent innovations in underfunded areas such as regenerative agriculture, forestry, fisheries, coastal and wetland ecosystems, or food and waste value chainswhile taking into account the need to strengthen biodiversity.”

Prof Charlotte Watts, CMG FMedSci, Chief Scientific Advisor and Director for Research and Evidenceat from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) stated: “Mobile and other digital technologies can help create a more resilient future, where communities not only survive climate shocks, but thrive in spite of them. Building on our longstanding partnership with the GSMA, FCDO is delighted to support the second phase of this fund, that will partner with start-ups and small and growing enterprises, that are seeking to use digital and mobile technologies, to ensure greater resilience and adaptation for low-income and vulnerable populations.”

“There is strong evidence that mobile and digital technologies can support the resilience of people in poverty to meet the repeated shocks caused by climate change. From the first round of the GSMA Innovation Fund we have seen innovative mobile solutions that strengthens the financial capacity of farmers and help them increase the productivity, with prospects of scaling up their businesses successfully. In this second round of the Innovation Fund there is an increased emphasis on nature-based solutions and biodiversity which is crucial to strengthen climate resilience. Sida therefore finds this new round of innovation fund for climate resilience by our partner, GSMA to be very relevant,” said Maria van Berlekom, Unit for Global Cooperation on Environment, Sida.

Interested applicants are invited to submit their pitches by May 16, 2023 at 23:59 UTC+1 (UK time) via the GSMA website.   


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