During the Science and Innovation day at COP26, the GSMA announced the launch of the GSMA Innovation Fund for Climate Resilience and Adaptation to help accelerate the testing, adoption and scalability of digital innovations that enable the world’s most vulnerable populations to adapt, anticipate and absorb the negative impacts of climate change.
The GSMA is a new member of the Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA) – a global collaborative effort to increase investment and capacity for action-orientated research to support effective adaptation to climate change. They support ARA’s best practice to find innovative and participative ways for incorporating the voice and views of local communities (such as through leveraging digital technology) as it empowers them to participate as equal partners in adaptation processes.
Through the Fund, the GSMA aims to:
- Test innovations that can increase the capacity of low-income and vulnerable communities to adapt to, anticipate and/or absorb climate-related shocks or stresses; and
- Develop approaches or business models that can be scaled or replicated in similar markets to build climate resilience and adaptation.
- The objective of the Fund is to test and generate insights from innovative use-cases, partnerships and business models across selected geographies, in order to improve sustainability and scalability of digital climate resilience and adaptation solutions with socio-economic and commercial impact on the lives of people vulnerable to current or future climate risks.
- The grant projects must seek to demonstrate:
- How innovative digital technology (with a focus on mobile) can increase the capacity of low-income and vulnerable communities to adapt to, anticipate and/or absorb climate-related shocks or stresses;
- What business models and partnerships are required for innovative digital solutions to be adopted sustainably and at scale;
- What additional socio-economic, commercial and environmental/climate impact can be achieved by using digital solutions to build climate resilience and adaptation solutions; and
- What role mobile operators and other technology companies can play in these business models and how they can make their role commercially sustainable.
Successful projects will receive an equity-free grant of between £100,000 and £250,000 to scale their innovation over a 15 to 18 month period.
- The GSMA is looking for start-ups, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and social enterprises in Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, Latin America and Eastern Europe that leverage digital technology, particularly mobile, to deliver climate resilience and adaptation solutions to and with low-income and vulnerable populations.
- The Fund is open to applicants whose projects are implemented in countries that are eligible to receive official development assistance (see OECD DAC) in the following regions:
- To be eligible to apply, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Be a small and growing enterprise or start-up leveraging digital technology, especially mobile, to deliver climate resilience and adaptation solutions to low-income and vulnerable populations in countries that are eligible to receive official development assistance. Have active users and commercial revenue (users and revenue from any products or services offered by the organisation) in at least one eligible country.
- Be an entity registered and operating in the country of project implementation (whether domestic or foreign-owned or a joint venture). In cases where responsibility for service delivery lies with a downstream partner, rather than the applicant, for example service delivery by a local government, it may be acceptable for the applicant to be registered in a country other than that of project implementation.
- Be fully compliant with relevant business licensing, taxation, employee and other regulations in all applicable countries of grant project operation.
- Be registered and have a bank account in the country where they will receive the grant money (if not the same as the project implementation country).
- Be an eligible entity and demonstrate that a majority of their income is derived from commercial activities. Early-stage companies who have not reached this threshold will need to demonstrate a reliable path to sustainability via commercial activities that generate revenue to be considered.
- Commit to providing 25% to 50% matching funding depending on the total grant amount requested.
- They particularly encourage the following applicants to apply:
- Female founders and applicants with good representation of women at all levels of the organisation.
- Local entrepreneurs and applicants with good representation of local talent at all levels of the organization.
- Applicants who have partnerships with relevant local stakeholders (e.g. community-based organisations) to deliver the project on the ground.
- Applicants who proactively demonstrate their solution disproportionately and actively reaches more female users.
- Applicants who have a clear understanding of the environmental/climate impact of their operations and have proactively taken steps to set targets to reduce or systematically measure these impacts.
- All applicants need to consider:
- The Fund will not support the development or prototyping of any new hardware solutions. Where there is a proposal to use existing hardware solutions (e.g. meters) as part of the project, applicants must be able to clearly demonstrate that all required approvals for wide scale importation and use of the hardware exist prior to grant execution. Applicants may be required to respond to additional GSMA compliance requests, including disclosing relevant supply chains.
- Having a clear and measurable social or economic impact to demonstrate how they are positively contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Applicants must ensure that their proposal clearly links to increased usage of digital enabled urban service solutions and positive impact for the underserved.
- Being able to demonstrate the potential and appetite to form strategic partnerships with mobile operators and/or technology organisations.
- Having a plan for long-term sustainability beyond the lifespan of the grant (such as through user uptake, business model, financial viability, follow-on funding etc.) and demonstrate there is further potential for scale or replication.
- Organisations piloting with government clients must have an MoU that demonstrates political will and capacity to commit to the project, prior to the final submission of the proposal to the fund panel, although this can be in progress during the application process.
- Organisations selling a service to a government during the grant must have a commercial agreement, prior to final submission of the proposal to the fund panel, although this can be in progress during the application.
- Preference will be given to applicants (organisations) that have not received prior UK aid grant funding through the GSMA. Applicants that have received grant funding from the GSMA in the past will need to demonstrate why they require an additional grant.
For more information, visit https://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/the-gsma-innovation-fund-for-climate-resilience-and-adaptation/