Frankfurt (Germany) and Lusaka (Zambia), April 2021. GreenTec Capital is very pleased to report that our Zambian portfolio company, WidEnergy Africa was selected as one of nine grantees for the GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion. WidEnergy was selected as a finalist from a pool of 598 applicants in 44 countries. Grantees were awarded grants of between GBP100,000 (US$137,000) and GBP250,000 (US$344,000) in funding to support projects that promote mobileinternet adoption and usage for the underserved.
The GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion was launched in April 2020 with support from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), the Deutsche Gesellschaft fȕr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the GSMA and its members. The objective of the fund was to open up opportunities for innovative start-ups and SMEs to address the key barriers of accessibility, affordability, digital skills, and safety and security that prevent many from connecting to mobile internet.
WidEnergy Africa will use the funds to provide rural communities in Zambia with 20 community-based distribution hubs for Pay-As-You-Go smartphones which will be pre-loaded with starting connectivity bundles. These hubs will be a one-stop shop for community energy, water, and connectivity needs. The company also plans to implement community-based digital inclusion hubs which will provide digital skills training to help customers learn how to use the internet and access essential digital services. Free trainings will be organised monthly, with a particular focus on underserved groups such as women and persons with disabilities.
WidEnergy Africa CEO Liliane said “We’re delighted to have been chosen as a GSMA Innovation Fund grantee! With this grant, we will provide rural communities in Zambia with 20 community-based distribution hubs for PAYG smartphones. These hubs will be a one-stop shop for community energy, water and connectivity. By doing so, we hope to contribute to bridging the existing gap brought by the lack of internet and access to digital services in off grid communities in Zambia.”
GreenTec is very pleased to see WidEnergy’s impactful model supported by the GSMA Innovation Fund and we look forward to reporting more on their progress in scaling their inclusive business providing more rural Africans with access to connectivity and renewable energy.