GSMA M4DU Utilities Innovation Fund 2017


  • September 3, 2017

The GSMA Mobile for Development Utilities Innovation Fund (“the Fund”) supports innovative organisations in emerging
markets. The goal of the Fund is to improve access to basic energy, water and sanitation services using mobile technology.
The Fund supports innovative business models that use technology and the reach of the mobile communications industry
to deliver underserved or low-income consumers with new or improved access to energy, water and sanitation services.
M4D Utilities serves as a “market facilitator” by sharing lessons learned and best practices from these trials to help
operators, innovators and funders advance these models.

The Fund is funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID), and supported by the
GSMA and its members.The Fund is calling for suitable Seed projects that:

The Fund is calling for suitable Seed projects that:

• Trial the use of mobile as a significant element of an energy, water or sanitation service;
• Involve an innovative business model that has a strong potential to deliver new or improved access to energy, water or
sanitation to underserved consumers;
• Are not easily supported by other commercial sources of finance but will contribute significantly to the body of evidence
that proves the commercial case (or financial sustainability) for mobile-enabled solutions in the provision of energy,
water or sanitation;
• Have a means of forecasting and measuring the number of end users receiving new or improved access, and the level of
service improvement and/or the frequency of use;
In addition, preference will be given to:
• Projects that target equitable access to energy, water and sanitation for underserved women;
• Projects that involve low carbon or renewable solutions for improving access to energy, water or sanitation for
underserved consumers;
• Projects which have the greatest potential for impact, and/or future replication and/or scaling;
• Projects which will have the most relevant insights about potential benefits to the mobile industry through these models.


The amount of grant can be between GBP 100,000 and GBP 150,000.


To be eligible for funding, organisations must meet the following criteria:
• Be one of the following:
» Energy, water, or sanitation service provider (i.e. enterprise), including
* Decentralised service providers
* Urban or peri-urban utilities, and
* Academia or NGOs trialling business model approaches,
» Mobile operator or infrastructure provider/owner
» Technology solutions provider
Preferably, grants that involve urban or peri-urban utilities should be led by mobile operators or technology
solution providers.
• Be an entity registered and operating in the country of project implementation (whether domestic or foreign owned
or a joint venture) in compliance with relevant business licensing, taxation, employee and other relevant regulations.
• The lead organisation must be able to accept foreign grants and deploy them in the country of implementation.
• The lead organisation must be in satisfactory financial health and be able to show two years of audited financial
accounts; have adequate financial systems to report regularly to the Fund and, if required, undergo an external audit.
If two years of financial audited accounts are not available, the GSMA is willing to discuss other suitable submissions.
• Have adequate internal human resource capability to implement the proposed project within the proposed timeframe.
• Have the potential and appetite to form strategic partnerships with mobile operators, where relevant.
• Not violate fundamental human rights or international labour standards.

Eligible Regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia excluding Algeria, Botswana, Gabon, Libya, Namibia, South Africa, Tunisia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Application Process

Applications will be assessed through a two-stage application process.
Concept Note stage – The first stage will involve completing a short online questionnaire, to be reviewed by the Fund
Manager and GSMA. The deadline for submitting Concept Notes is Sunday, September 3, 2017.
Proposal stage – Concept Notes that meet the objectives of the Fund, and where the applicant is eligible, will be invited
to develop a proposal setting out the full business case for the project. Applicants will receive feedback from the GSMA in
developing their proposal.
A successful Concept Note does not imply that the subsequent proposal will be funded.
Once the proposal is submitted, appraisals will likely include a due diligence visit and/or interview with the applicant. An
independent and anonymous panel of experts (‘Fund Panel’) will appraise proposals and make a final selection based on the
submitted material as well as recommendations from the GSMA and the Fund Manager.
We expect the final decision from the Fund Panel to be made in late January 2018

Application Deadline: September 3, 2017 (32 Days Remaining)

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