The M4D Utilities Innovation Fund aims to test and scale the use of mobile to improve or increase access to energy, water and sanitation services in Africa and Asia.
The Innovation Fund, supported by the UK Government, was launched in June 2013. In two phases of funding, grants have been competitively awarded to 34 organizations working on mobile-enabled energy and water services in Africa and Asia, amounting to GBP 5.6 million.
To date, M4D Utilities estimates the trials have impacted over 2.3 million direct beneficiaries in under-served populations around the world. The grants awarded since 2013 have led to an additional $174 million raised by grantees from the private sector, showcasing the proof of concept for mobile-enabled utility services.
The objective of the Innovation Fund is to extract insights from the trial and scaling of these innovative models to inform three key questions for growing the sector:
- How can mobile support utility services?
- For a mobile-enabled solution to be adopted at scale, what building blocks are needed?
- What are the social and commercial impacts of delivering community services to under-served mobile subscribers?
- Seed Grant : To support innovative business models that trial the use of mobile as a significant element of an energy, water or sanitation service to under-served communities.
- Market Validation Grant : To increase or improve access to utility services in under-served communities at scale through partnerships with mobile network operators OR urban or Peri-urban utility service providers.