SDG Impact Accelerator (SDGia), a global accelerator launched by Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNDP in 2018, has opened its second global call for impact entrepreneurs to find innovative solutions for SDG-related complex development challenges. During the second SDGia program, startups will work on products and services in the field of financial inclusion in Bangladesh and digital agriculture in Uganda.
SDGia has introduced a novel approach to startup acceleration thanks to its convening power for private and public stakeholders, with a specific focus on empowering innovative entrepreneurs who are providing impact at scale for low-income groups, the bottom of the pyramid.
Last year in its first program, SDGia focused on two of the most pressing issues faced by displaced populations, namely the lack of sanitation and personal identification. The first global call attracted applications from 35 countries, and during the program, new solutions have been found in the field of two grand challenges, namely “Non-Sewage Portable Toilets” and “Digital ID solutions”. 8 startups have graduated from the program to implement their projects which are currently at their final stage.
Based on the success stories of its alumni and the lessons learnt of the first program, SDGia has decided to launch its second program in Bangladesh and Uganda, where vibrant startup ecosystems already exist. Government of Turkey has provided the core funding for the implementation of the SDGia’s second acceleration program that has started in June 2020, in line with its long-standing support for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
The second SDGia program in both countries are led by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UNDP Turkey, and United Nations Technology Bank for LDCs with the support of government institutions and UNDP Country Offices in Uganda and Bangladesh.
The Digital Agriculture Call is addressing the digital agriculture challenge in Uganda focusing on ‘world with zero hunger’, which requires more productive, efficient, sustainable, inclusive, transparent and resilient food systems. The general focus of this call is “Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure” which aims to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation in agriculture. With this aspect, the program aims at urgent transformation of the current agri-food systems with innovative solutions after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Financial Inclusion Call is targeting the financial inclusion challenge in Bangladesh. Financial inclusion is a critical enabler on many aspects such as eradicating poverty, ending hunger, achieving food security and promoting sustainable agriculture, leading to profiting health and well-being. It also enhances topics such as achieving gender equality and economic empowerment of women; promoting economic growth and jobs; supporting industry, innovation, and infrastructure. Therefore, urgent transformation of the current financial system with innovative solutions after the pandemic is the ultimate goal of the program.
SDGia Digital Agriculture and Financial Inclusion calls are open now for teams from all around the world.
This is an opportunity for startups who would like to be part of a global network that continues supporting them as they work towards the implementation of the SDGs. Along with mentorships from UNDP, UN Technology Bank, governmental institutions, financial and technology experts, and global investors, the teams will be able to create and scale their impact up in the world.
During the acceleration program, teams will receive equity-free grant of up to $15,000 and in the event that their product or service is selected for implementation in Bangladesh or Uganda, teams may also receive impact investment at the end of the program.
Application deadline for both calls is January 22nd, 2021.
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