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GSMA Innovation Fund

Accelerating digital tech solutions that are addressing key global challenges

About us

Digital innovation offers a unique opportunity to accelerate socio-economic development in low- and middle-income countries. Digital and emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), have the potential to foster economic growth, connect people to jobs and other services and improve their resilience to climate shocks. These technologies also enable start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses to scale by providing the infrastructure for payments, communications, and content creation, as well as opening up new and more direct access to market.

The GSMA Innovation Fund sources innovative solutions leveraging digital and emerging technologies and supports them to scale and create favorable outcomes for local communities, which leads to greater digital inclusion, financial inclusion and resilience to climate and humanitarian shocks.

Since 2013, we have funded over a hundred companies to de-risk innovation across a range of sectors including agriculture, climate resilience, e-commerce, education, energy, financial services, humanitarian challenges, sanitation, waste management and water. 

Snapshot of our market visits

Our impact


Total people impacted


Total crowding-in


Total amount disbursed


Total number of MNO partnerships

Our funding approach


Applicants complete an online application to ‘pitch’ their proposal, which details the planned project and its potential impact. Call for applications are typically open for 8 weeks, twice every year. The GSMA aims to assess and confirm the shortlisted applicants 4-5 weeks after the deadline. On average, we receive between 300 and 600 applications per round.


Proposal development

The short-listed pitches are invited to develop a proposal setting out the full business case for the project. Applicants will receive guidance from the GSMA in developing their proposal. In addition, the GSMA will conduct an on-site project due diligence as well as a company due diligence, including an assessment of operational, fiduciary and reputational risks.

Selection and contracting

An independent panel of experts evaluates the proposals and awards grants to the winning applicants. These are then contracted, including definition of milestone payments and refinement of the budget. 

Grant project

The grantees are provided with direct funding, through milestone-based payments. In addition, the GSMA Innovation Fund offers bespoke technical assistance, partnership facilitation with mobile network operators and other digital players, networking opportunities and capacity building through regional bootcamps and profiling at world class GSMA events such as Mobile World Congress.

Finally, the GSMA Innovation Fund will support grantees to monitor and evaluate their socio-economic (or climate) project impact. Where possible, the GSMA may hire a consultant to conduct surveys of a grantee’s end-users and/or environmental impact for a deeper evaluation at the end of the funded project.​


Post-grant support

The GSMA Innovation Fund continues to promote alumni achievements and provides targeted post-grant support (e.g., connections with investors and MNOs where relevant). The fund also tracks the growth of the alumni for two years following the grant period.

Testimonials from our alumni

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Our portfolio


A map of our grantees

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Some of our latest grantees

  • Câm Dairy
  • SenzAgro
  • Crop2X
  • Sommalife
  • UjuziKilimo
  • Aloi
  • Farm To Feed
  • HydroNeo

Portfolio highlights

Portfolio success stories

Our insights and toolkits

Explore our insights and research through reports, blogs, and other resources developed by our subject matter experts.

Our toolkits

A collection of useful resources and toolkits to support your scaling journey.

Are you interested in partnering with us or our portfolio?

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GSMA Innovation Fund is currently funded by UK International Development from the UK government and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), and is supported by the GSMA and its members

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