Mlab East Africa (m:lab) is among the seven organizations that won the Rockefeller Foundation and the Tony Elumelu Foundation‘s Africa Impact Economy Innovations Fund (IEIF).As a fund administered by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), the IEIF provides capital for entrepreneurs with projects that create jobs in underserved sectors.
The IEIF also supports proposals geared toward enabling capital solutions, fostering entrepreneurial ecosystems and promoting impact investing industry infrastructure.Other six organizations awarded the grant alongside the m:lab are Investisseurs & Partenaires (Senegal) Renew LLC (Ethiopia), the Policy and Economic Research Council (Tanzania) Doreo Partners (Nigeria), GIMPA Centre for Impact Investing (Ghana) and SliceBiz (Ghana).
New Program for Social Ventures
Social enterprises apply commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being, besides maximising profits for external shareholders. Likewise, impact enterprises are those that intentionally seek to grow in sustaining financial viability, realizing increasing social impact, and influencing the broader system in which they operate. The m:lab defines mobile impact entreprise as social or impact entreprises using mobile technology to amplify their impact.
With the grant, the m:lab will host a new program in 2014 that will identify, nurture and support mobile focused social and impact enterprise teams. The IEIF grant will assist to augment the m:lab’s portfolio of services with improved interventions for social ventures thereby increasing the potential for success among start-ups in the program.
Startup teams committed to solving social and economic problems of people at the base of the pyramid are invited to apply for the new program. The program is aimed at helping to build and scale mobile impact entreprises. To begin with, the focus impact areas under
the program will be agriculture, health and water, and education.
Startup teams of two or three individuals are eligible. One of the team members must be a Tech Co-founder with an orientation to mobile software development. A second team member with working experience in education, agriculture, health or water will be an added advantage. An entrepreneurial instinct or experience running a business venture among the founders will also be an added advantage Interested social ventures are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the design thinking process used at Stanford Design School – eg. http://dschool.stanford.edu/dgift/..
The first cohort of the program will be admitted in march 2014. A call for applications and more information about the first cohort may be found here.