08 March 2021 – With its recently closed global call for creating impactful and sustainable solutions for the most pressing livelihood problems in the least developed countries (LDCs), the SDG Impact Accelerator (SDGia) will be running two global programs this year in parallel; Digital Agriculture and Financial Inclusion in partnership with Uganda and Bangladesh respectively.
Being an inspiring initiative that brings public and private sectors together to focus on solutions for the most pressing issues of the globe, the SDG Impact Accelerator has attracted a great amount of interest from startups all around the world who would like to be a part of this initiative with their innovative ideas. In total, over a thousand applications were received from 74 countries. The high rate of interest in the current SDGia calls to empower people at the bottom of the pyramid to access equal opportunities is viewed as a response to the need for an immediate transformation of current systems.
The focus on empowering systems entrepreneurs, together with a powerful form of partnership, constitutes the backbone of the SDGia initiative. Since the beginning, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has intensively collaborated with UNDP to design an SDG implementation plan on a global scale. On top of that, the combination of strong support by the United Nations Technology Bank for LDCs together with the local government institutions, including the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation in Uganda, the Ministry responsible for Information and Communication Technology in Bangladesh, and UNDP Country Offices and Accelerator Labs in both countries makes the call appealing for startups in the sense that they work in a prominent environment full of development experts, investors, development institutions, academia, and entrepreneurs. The startups will be receiving mentorship backed by these strategic partners all along with the program.
After a thorough evaluation process of 649 applications from 54 countries, 21 digital agriculture startups who would like to transform the current agri-food systems with innovative solutions in Uganda were selected to take place in Pre-acceleration Program. 21 startups come from 9 different countries and 8 of them have at least one female co-founder. These startups are working on projects including but not limited to access to markets/skills/finance, agroclimate, cold chain, and precision farming.
The Financial Inclusion call received 425 applications from 52 countries out of which 20 startups were selected to join the Pre-Acceleration Program*. 20 startups come from 7 different countries and 8 of them have at least one female co-founder Financing of smallholder farmers and MSMEs, financial literacy, microfinance, alternative income, and digital financial services for the bottom of the pyramid are some of the selected cohort’s focus areas.
The Pre- Acceleration Program is planned to start the last week of March with a rich agenda designed specifically to meet the needs of selected startups. The program will be run with the support of inspiring mentors from all around the world.
Following the Pre-Acceleration Program, 5 startups from each cohort will be selected to continue with the Acceleration Program to take place between May-June 2021 and will be eligible to receive an equity-free grant of up to $15,000. At the end of the Acceleration Program, the teams selected by the final jury will receive additional funding to implement their solution in Uganda and Bangladesh.
SDGia Partners express their gratitude to all the startups that have applied for the process and encouraged them to keep the spirit in trying to create impact to reach the SDG goals and welcomed the selected startups to the pre-accelerator journey to create a broader perspective together with the team.
Here are the startups selected for the Pre-Acceleration Program: