Start-ups and Mobile in Emerging Markets - Issue 4

Start-ups and Mobile in Emerging Markets: Issue 4

This blog is the foreword from the latest edition of our regular publication, Start-ups and Mobile in Emerging Markets: Insights from the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator.

The end of the year is always a good time to reflect on our activities over the last 12 months. When we look at the Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund portfolio, we can only be impressed by the progress and impact these start-ups have made in the last few months.

As of November 2018, 1.6 million beneficiaries have been reached by the various projects funded by the programme, while the equivalent of £2.5 million of additional income has been unlocked collectively, through direct revenue increase for citizens and local businesses, savings or productivity gains. On the investment front, two-thirds of the start-ups have now raised follow-on funding totalling £32.9 million, the vast majority of which is commercial.

Read the report

We are also proud to announce the latest additions to the portfolio: 11 companies from ecosystems as diverse as Benin, Ethiopia and Papua New Guinea, whose progress we are eager to support and share. Facilitating partnerships between start-ups and mobile operators remain at the core of our work, as we believe more strongly than ever that these collaborations can unlock commercial opportunities for both parties while delivering strong socio-economic impact for local populations and businesses. The case studies covered in this report (Section 1) once again illustrate the different forms these collaborations can take, from co-innovation on IoT and aquaculture (eFishery/Telkomsel in Indonesia) to democratising solutions (Ensibukko/Airtel+MTN in Uganda) or building new logistics value chains (Musanga Logistics/MTN in Zambia). These joint efforts are made possible by entrepreneurs’ vision and matched by multiple mobile operator initiatives to play an enabling role in the ecosystem (Section 2).

As is now customary in our Start-ups and Mobile in Emerging Markets report, we zoom in on one vertical to highlight how mobile innovation is impacting the UN SDGs. In this issue, we selected EdTech, as education — from K–12 to skills development for the workforce — holds the key to socio-economic development in countries across Africa and Asia Pacific and, increasingly, more start-ups are developing solutions to turn this challenge into an opportunity. Once again, local mobile operators have the potential to help EdTech services reach critical mass quickly and more efficiently as exemplified by the partnerships between our Innovation Fund grantees Ruangguru and Telkomsel in Indonesia, and Eneza and multiple operators in Africa (MTN, Orange, Safaricom and Tigo).

We hope you find the stories in this issue helpful and inspiring, and we look forward to hearing your feedback and experience.

The Ecosystem Accelerator programme is supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Australian Government, the GSMA and its members.

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