GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion

Deadline: 22 May 2020
Open to: mobile industry start-ups or SMEs that have active users and have revenue in at least one eligible low- or middle-income market
Benefits: grant funding between GBP 100,000 and GBP 250,000


The mobile industry connects over 3.5 billion citizens to the internet across the globe and continues to lead efforts on digital inclusion by connecting more people every day. Despite this, there is still a ‘usage gap’ of 3.3 billion people covered by mobile broadband networks who are not using mobile internet services. These citizens tend to belong to the most marginalised groups and are disproportionately rural, female, and illiterate. If current trends continue, more than 40 percent of the population in low- and middle-income countries will still be offline in 2025.

The GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion aims to support innovative solutions to increasing mobile internet adoption and use for those currently not using mobile internet services.

Funded projects will focus on innovations that overcome a number of the barriers to mobile internet adoption including AccessibilityAffordabilityDigital Skills and Safety, and Security, and will look to demonstrate commercially sustainable models that can be scaled and replicated in similar environments.


To be eligible to apply, start-ups or SMEs must meet the following criteria:
• Have active users and revenue in at least one eligible low- or middle-income market
• Use or be planning to use mobile technology strategically
• Have the potential and appetite to form strategic partnerships with mobile operators
• Have a clear and measurable socio-economic impact, in particular: serving low-income citizens, rural populations,
women and/or youth
• Demonstrate how they will advance the SDGs
• Be registered and operating in the country of project implementation. The applicant must also be registered
in the country where they will receive the grant money (if not the same as the implementation country).
• Be fully compliant with relevant business licensing, taxation, employee and other relevant regulations in
all countries of operation
• Be compliant with all applicable laws including upholding/adhering to fundamental human rights,
UK Modern Slavery Acts, Gender Equality Act, Child Protection Policies and all international labour standards
• Have 50% matching funding for the total grant amount ‘in cash’ and/or ‘in kind


The support package includes:
• Grant funding between GBP 100,000 and GBP 250,000
• Mentoring on the use of mobile technology including expert advice and bringing organisations together physically or virtually to share relevant insights, and best practice on how to overcome the barriers preventing the unconnected from adopting and using mobile internet (including specific expertise on women, rural, etc.)
• Monitoring and evaluation support to help evidence SDG outcomes and promote product improvement
• Facilitation of relationships with mobile operators
• Bootcamp (a programme of expert-led sessions and targeted networking) and regular offline clinics including session on improvements of your product or service through, for instance, supporting human-centred design or usability testing led by subject-matter experts
• Opportunity to increase your visibility and raising the your profile to potential investors and partners through profiling in our publications, social media, and participation in our events such as Mobile World Congress Barcelona (global) and the M360 series (regional)

Beyond this support, the selected grantees will also benefit from enhanced visibility through the programme’s
insight publications, learnings through exchange with other portfolio grantees and networking opportunities with
the programme’s networks.

How to Apply?

To apply, please click here.

If you have any questions about the GSMA Innovation Fund, please email

For more information, please visit the official web page.