Funding Opportunities for Businesses: GSMA Innovation Fund for Digital and Urban Services

Funding Opportunities for African Businesses:

  1. The GSMA Innovation Fund for Digital and Urban Services

Start-ups, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Social Enterprises making use of digital technology to deliver urban services in their communities are called to participate in the GSMA Innovation Fund for Digital Urban Services. Areas of interest are: plastic and waste management, water, energy and sanitation. Chosen innovations will receive grants in the range of £100,000 – £250,000 to enhance their development. To apply, visit Deadline for application is July 2, 2021.


2. SAP’s Young Graduate Programme, Nigeria

Young Nigerian graduates in fields related to Business Adminstration, Management Information Systems and Industrial Engineering that obtained their qualifications (BA/BSc/ HND) within the last three years and also passed with strong GPA are invited to participate in Young Professionals Programme organized by SAP (Systems Applications and Products in data processing). The three-month programme is designed to give recent graduates the certifications and soft skills needed to become SAP Associate Consultants. Interested applicants must be unemployed or underemployed and be fluent in English. To apply, visit

3. Bayer Foundation’s Programme for Social Start-ups.

Sub-Saharan Africa based social start-ups whose endeavors align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 2 and 3 (zero hunger and good health & mental well-being) are invited to participate in the Social Impact Start-up Academy (SISTAC) innovation programme organized by the Bayer Foundation in partnership with Ingolstadt School of Management, Germany.

Selected start-ups will have the opportunity to work with social innovation masters students from the Ingolstadt School of Management to grow their businesses. Other benefits are: mentorship, networking access, free business consultation, funding opportunities, participation in competitions, inclusion in SISTAC knowledge database and invitation to workshops & events. To apply, visit Deadline for application is May 30, 2021.


4. DAAD Helmut-Schmidt- Programme (Master’s Scholarships for Public Policy and Good Governance)

Highly qualified first degree holders (with or without experience) in the fields of law, political science, economics and administration from developing countries nursing the ambition to take leadership roles in their home countries are invited to apply for DAAD Helmut-Schmidt- Programme (Master’s Scholarships for Public Policy and Good Governance).

The fully funded programme aims to prepare them for their future endeavors in terms of social and economic development of their home countries.

To be eligible, an applicant must have graduated within the last eight years. Selected applicants will benefit: study and research grant worth up to €861 per month for masters degree courses at German tertiary institutions, health insurance cover in Germany, travel allowance between Germany and the developing countries in question, rent subsidies and family supplement.

For information on the application procedure, visit Deadline for application is July 31, 2021

Also Read: Funding Opportunities for Businesses: Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation

5. IBM Code Global Challenge For Developers Worldwide.

Developers and problem solvers around the world are invited to participate in the Call for Code Global Challenge. The aim is to develop solutions addressing specific problems created by climate change. Areas of interest are: Clean water& sanitation, Zero hunger and Responsible production & green consumption. For a solution to be considered, it must use one or more IBM Cloud services or IBM Systems. Deployment of sponsor or affiliated APIs and open source libraries is also allowed.

Interested applicants are expected to form teams of at least five participants, each member not less than 18 years. There is also the University Challenge that allows students to also participate.

All winners will be invited to the Call for Code Global Award Announcement and support from the Linnux Foundation. $200,000 will equally distributed amongst them while $35,000 will be shared by the runners-up. For the University Challenge, each member of the winning team will receive a share out of $10,000 and also an opportunity for an interview for a potential role in IBM. For more information, visit Deadline for application is July 31, 2021,

6. Africa’s Business Heroes Competition

African social entrepreneurs who are impacting positively on their communities are called to participate in Africa’ Business Heroes Competition founded by Jack Ma. The purpose of the competition is to spot and grant support to the next generation of African sociopreneuers in their quest for a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future. Ten finalists will compete for a share of $1.5 million. Other benefits are: global recognition, networking, mentorship and training. To apply, visit Application opens from June 7 to November 30, 2021

7. Peace First Fellows in Residence Programme 2021

Young Africans not above the age of 26 years with demonstrated leadership qualities in their environments are called to participate in the Peace First Fellows in Residence Programme 2021. The objective of the competition is to select exceptional group of young leaders to join the Peace First team for a year to lead their projects in their communities. Selected participants will receive: competitive pay, professional development funding, mentorship and networking opportunities. Interested applicants living in Sub-Saharan Africa should visit for more information on the programme and the process of application. Deadline for application is June 4, 2021

8. GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize 2021.

African agriprenuers needing support for the growth of their businesses can participate in the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize 2021. The competition is organized by Generation Africa, a partnership initiative with a vision to strengthen the ecosystem for youth entrepreneurs in the agri-food sector across the continent. A male and female entrepreneur with the most scalable and innovative business ventures will receive $50,000 each and will also have the chance to attend the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF). Other benefits are mentorship and networking. For more information, visit Deadline for application is June 14, 2021


9. XPRIZE Carbon Removal Competition

Start-ups and innovators, high school students , university groups, small to midsize companies, community-based organizations, families and individuals that can create and demonstrate solutions (hybrid, engineered or natural) which can help in the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or oceans and isolate it durably and comfortably are called to participate in Elon Musk sponsored XPRIZE Carbon Removal Competition. The initiative aims at fighting climate change and rebalancing the Earth’s carbon cycle.

Interested teams must bring about solutions which at the initial stage can pull at least 1000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year and be scalable to gigatones per year in the future. The competition will last for four years. The winning team will receive $50m while $30m will be distributed amongst three runners-up.

Team registration begins on the 22nd of April, 2021. For more information, visit

Also Read: Funding Opportunities For Businesses: Africa’s Business Heroes Competition

10. Milken-Motsepe Innovation Prize for Agri-tech Solutions

Innovators with agri-tech solutions which are able to increase economic value to farmers are called to participate in Milken-Motsepe Innovation Prize Programme 2021

The competition focuses on accelerating progress in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1 and 2: no poverty, no hunger. There are two competition rounds: (1) Design round where teams will submit their design and business model (2) Finalist round where teams will develop their prototypes and conduct field tests on small and medium-sized farms in Africa.

All participating teams will receive a 12-week experiential learning program courtesy of Stanford Center for Professional Development. Upon completion, a certificate will be issued. There will also be mentoring from industry experts and pitch/feedback sessions

Winning teams will receive $1m grand prize with $1m additional prizes.
They will also have access to: investors, data analysis and networking opportunities. For more information, visit Deadline for application is December 8, 2021

11. Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation 2022

African innovators that have developed or in the process of developing new technological innovations addressing development needs or challenges affecting their respective countries can apply for Africa Prize for Innovation organized by Royal Academy of Engineering. The developers of selected innovations will receive comprehensive and tailored business training, sector-specific engineering mentoring, communications support, pitching opportunities and also networking access. There will be a competition amongst the trained and mentored candidates with the winner receiving £25,000 and three runners-up receiving £10,000 each. Deadline for application is 20th July, 2021. For more information, visit


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