The GSMA mWomen Programme has announced the launch of the first round of Innovation Fund grants for NGOs. Please note that the term “NGOs” includes for-profit social enterprises which have a strong focus on delivering social impact.
The grants are intended to provide seed funding for NGOs to design and launch an economically sustainable product/service, distribution model or marketing campaign (an ‘offering’) that increases women’s access to and use of mobile phones and value-added services (‘VAS’). The goal of the GSMA mWomen Programme is to promote greater mobile access and usage by resource-poor women in low- and middle-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East, and Asia Pacific1
Worth of Awards

This round comprises three grants, valued up to US$ 140,000 for projects up to ten months long.
How to Apply
 There are two main ways of doing this:

  • Develop content or a service that is life-enhancing for resource-poor women, which can be widely disseminated via mobile. This could take place in the domain of health, agriculture, access to finance, entrepreneurship, education, etc. OR:
  • Support a mobile network operator (“MNO”) in the design and launch of an offering that will increase resource-poor women’s access to and use of mobile. The NGO’s contribution could be done through generating consumer insights, using grassroots networks to access the target communities, running educational campaigns, etc.
  • In both cases, it is required that the NGO partners with an MNO. The concept note should, at the minimum, contain a clear plan and strategy for the operator partnership, outlining who the key operator target(s) are.
  •  By application stage, the operator partnership must be in place. Please note that applicants who have a partnership with a mobile operator by the time of application submission are likely to be considered more competitive by the Selection Panel than those who do not.
  •  Please note that there will be a separate round of applications for both NGOs and mobile operators in the Pacific region which is scheduled to take place in the second The application process

The Fund employs a two-stage application process:

  • Concept Note Stage : The first stage includes preparation of a three-page concept note describing an applicant’s current mission and programmes and/or interventions, the specific project objectives, definition of success, high-level approach, anticipated deliverables and outcomes, internal participants and external partners. An independent Fund Manager then reviews concept notes to consider their alignment with Fund objectives and fulfilment of project and organisation eligibility requirements. A small number of applicants are then invited to the Selection Panel stage to prepare full applications, containing comprehensive details about the project.
  •  Application Stage: An independent Selection Panel evaluates these applications and awards grants to those best positioned to deliver on the Fund objectives. Historically, applicants who worked closely with the GSMA mWomen team to develop their applications have been considered more competitive by the Selection Panel than those who did not. Please read the term sheet for full details of the Innovation Fund objectives and the organisation and project eligibility requirements, as well as management, data and knowledge sharing, and performance monitoring requirements.

Deadlines: Key dates for this round are as follows:

  • Concept notes due: Wednesday, June 12 2013
  • Invitations to submit applications distributed: Friday, June 21 2013
  • Applications due: 16th August 16 2013
  • Grant awards announced to applicants mid-September 2013
  • Grant agreements signed: early October 2013
  • Please refer to the Innovation Fund for NGOs term sheet for more details. Don’t hesitate to contact the team at [email protected] with any questions and/or to enquire about support during the application process.

Click to read more and apply online