Safaricom Limited’s Corporate Social Investment arm, Safaricom Foundation, has today launched a 50 Million Shilling Fund that targets investors in the social innovation field who may need technical and entrepreneurship support to develop and deploy mobile technology solutions. This is part of the 2014-2017 Safaricom Foundation strategy which aims to scale up development and use of mobile technology for development.
The fund aptly named, Technology For Good Fund, will be used to empower young innovators with the potential to deliver significant and impact-based solutions that leverage on mobile technologies.
Safaricom Foundation Chairman, Joseph Ogutu, says, “Our overall aim is to enable transformational innovation for young developers who may not have access to the technical support they need to bring their ideas to life. Successful applicants will have to demonstrate that they have viable and sustainable ideas that are commercially viable for them in the long term.”
In Kenya, mobile technology has proven to be essential tools for the development of solutions that can solve some of the country’s most pressing socio-economic challenges.
So how does one apply to get money from the fund? Well, the application process is open for the next 21 days, and it ends on 1st October 2015. Application forms are available on here. Selected projects will be incubated at Strathmore University’s iLab for 3 months where the successful applicants will receive technical support, mentorship and expert training relevant to the success of their innovation.
5 innovation incubatees will then proceed to the next phase of the program where Safaricom will help them up-scale their ideas for success.
Criteria for selecting the innovations is as follows: The ideas must be must be mobile-based, have a form of public benefit, they must demonstrate sustainable scalability (ability to be used by a large population), and offer value for money.
Apart from that, they must be in-line with Safaricom Foundation’s strategic pillars which are:
- Economic empowerment
- Arts & Culture
- Environment and disaster relief
“We believe mobile technology can be used to address some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. It is transformative and can enable us put relevant, impact-based services in the hands of underserved communities,” said Mr. Ogutu.
Safaricom has in the past launched another fund, the Safaricom Spark Fund, which was formed to invest in viable business but mobile-related ideas and innovation by Kenyans.