Innovation Competition

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Innovation Competition

Innovation Competition

This Competition seeks applications from organizations aiming to design, pilot, test, and launch new financial products and services that can effectively meet the financing needs of people living in poverty in rural and agricultural areas.

The 2015 and 2016 Innovation Competitions are closed. The 2017 Competition will be announced closer to the time.

Is your idea innovative?

  • What is the potential for the proposed idea to change access to financial services in rural Africa?
  • In what way is the proposed idea new? Is it new to the financial services sector, new to the country, new to the continent? Perhaps it is even a first in the world?
  • To what extent does the proposed project reach financially underserved markets?

The Innovation Competition is open to project proposals where implementation will take place in the following countries:

  • Benin
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cameroon
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Djibouti
  • DRC
  • Ethiopia
  • The Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Liberia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mozambique
  • Niger
  • Rwanda
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Uganda
  • Zambia

The 2015 Innovation Competition ran from 20 January 2015 to 15 March 2015. The 2016 Innovation Competition ran from 1 February 2016 to 28 March 2016.

Eligibility

The MasterCard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity will only support ideas from institutions looking to deliver a financial service, product or process to rural poor people in an eligible African country (see list of countries above).

Projects may be proposed by a single institution or by a partnership of two or more of them (which could include a non-governmental organization); however, the proposal must be made by one company acting as the lead organization.

Firms that apply should have an established and verifiable institutional track record. The Fund will only consider start-ups in exceptional circumstances where there is strong evidence that the new company has credible and experienced investors and management team.

Firms that apply should have transparent ownership and governance structures.

Examples of institutions that are eligible include:

  • Banks;
  • Non-bank financial institutions such as insurance or leasing companies;
  • Agribusinesses that provide a financial service or that partner with a financial institution to deliver a financial service to their supply chain;
  • Firms that use mobile or IT technology to support the delivery of financial services to rural poor people; and
  • Firms that provide a non-financial service designed to facilitate increased access to financial services for financially excluded rural poor people. These firms may apply on their own as a lead applicant or may apply in partnership with a financial institution or agribusiness.

Summary of Eligibility Criteria

Eligible projects under The MasterCard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity must meet the following criteria:

  • The proposal must be for a project within an institution.
  • Projects may be proposed by a single institution or by a partnership of two or more of them (which could include a non-governmental organization); however, the proposal must be made by one company acting as the lead organization.
  • Projects for the Innovation Competition must take place in one of the countries listed as eligible for the Innovation Competition.
  • Projects in the Scaling Competition must take place in one of the eight core countries eligible for that competition.
  • Projects must demonstrate the potential to increase the provision of financial services to financially excluded poor people in rural areas of eligible countries.
  • Applications made to the Innovation Competition should be for support of between US$250,000 and US$1,000,000. For the Scaling Competition, applications should be for support of between US$750,000 and US$2,500,000.

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