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Courtesy from UX (File photo) / Frederico Silva, UX CEO
Mozambican UX is among the nine startups which have been selected to receive up to GB£250,000 (US$322,000) in grant funding, and mentorship from the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund, with seven of the awardees hailing from Africa.
In July last year the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator announced the launch of its Innovation Fund, with the first round seeking African and Asian startups active in the areas of sharing economy, or mobile services for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Startups could apply for funding ranging between GB£100,000 (US$129,000) and GB£250,000 (US$322,000), to be used for a specific project which aims to achieve a socio-economic impact, such as job creation, or opportunities for youth.
The accelerator has announced the nine first startups to benefit from the Fund, with seven African mobile startups dominating the list.
Kenya contributed two successful startups to the list: Kytabu – a leasing application for textbooks that are downloadable from an online library or via a Kytabu tablet; and Twiga Foods, which provides improved market access to farmers by buying their fresh produce and ensuring a constant hassle-free supply chain for roadside vendors.
Active across Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, Optimetriks also made the cut. The startup is developing solutions for customers to provide feedback and data for companies operating in Africa to better serve their needs.
Rwanda’s Safemotos joins the list, with its mobile-based platform which increases road safety and enables more transparent market interaction between motorcycle taxi drivers and customers.
The final three African grantees are Prepclass from Nigeria – a tutoring marketplace that connects learners and tutors through an online platform; Egypt’s Raye 7, a culturally sensitive carpooling solution for daily commuting which uses the trust reflected in social networks using mobile services; and Mozambican candidate UX, for its product Biscate, which connects workers in the informal sector to customers through USSD and web technologies.
Each of the startups was awarded between GB£100,000 (US$129,000) and GB£250,000 (US$322,000) in grant funding; and will receive between nine and 15 months of support from the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator, including mentorship, facilitation of relationships with mobile operators, and access to networks.
“After months of careful due diligence and fleshing out full applications, our Fund Panel of seasoned experts in the field of mobile technology, development, and impact investment selected our first portfolio,” said Max Cuvellier, head of the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator.
“We are extremely excited to start working with these innovative entrepreneurs, in particular to help them explore synergies with mobile operators, and how to leverage mobile technology to its fullest to maximize socio-economic impact.”
Applications to the second round of the Innovation Fund will open on June 1, and will continue to focus on start-ups operating in the sharing economy area, and/or developing services for MSMEs.
The meaning of this award for Mozambique
“Middle-class views are dominated by stigma and we still value a two-year technical course more than an artisan’s skill inherited over three generations. Biscate has the potential to change this social paradigm and positively impact Africa’s widespread challenge of low employment and income opportunities”, states Frederico Silva, CEO of UX.
It is estimated that 80% of Mozambique’s population under 35 years of age lack stable employment. Many of them struggle to meet their day-to-day living costs due to a lack of income opportunities. (Source: United Nations Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth).
UX’s product Biscate connects workers in the informal sector (plumbers, painters, mechanics etc.) who usually lack internet access to customers through hybrid USSD and web technologies. The service provides greater employment and income opportunities for these workers.
To further scale the existing service in Mozambique through partnership with more local mobile operators and to link workers to relevant training centres for skill-building and certifications. UX believes that mobile operators can offer their channel, infrastructure, technical expertise and brand credibility, while as a start-up they will be feeding them with fresh solutions that can scale fast.
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 its first round in 2016, the Fund focused on the sharing economy and services for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Round 2: Applications Open 1 June 2017
Round 2 of the Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund will open on 1 June 2017 with pitches due by 16 July 2017 at 11.59pm GMT.
For the second round, the Fund will be supporting start-ups operating in the Sharing Economy area, and/or developing services for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
For more details, you may watch our video, and refer to the Terms & Conditions here: http://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Innovation-Fund-Term-Sheet.pdf
For any further questions, you may contact email@example.comSource: Disrupt Africa / UX / www.gsma.com