Call for MSME-led Digital Solutions

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The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), announces this Call for Digital Solutions for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). This call is part of an MSME support programme within the Economic Integration division of AUDA-NEPAD supported by the GIZ Programme Green Infrastructure Corridor for Intra-Africa Trade (PIDA). The programme is part of AUDA-NEPAD’s umbrella programme 100,000 MSMEs Initiative. Through our previous Call for Proposals, we supported four MSMEs.

We focus on developing MSMEs in the green infrastructure and trade domains.

This Call for Digital Solutions is looking for MSMEs that provide digital solutions which support trade and/or green infrastructure. Through this call, we are looking to provide business development support to MSMEs in the green infrastructure and trade sectors. If your business is looking for support to launch or scale a digital solution for green infrastructure and/or trade, please consider applying.


This is not financial support. AUDA-NEPAD will not provide any direct funding to the successful applicants.


The main purpose of this support programme is to empower MSMEs by helping them develop sustainable businesses. As such, we do not give funding directly but rather assist with the preparation of robust business plans, financial models and pitch decks that demonstrate the business case and are aligned to what investors look for. We focus on helping MSMEs develop a more holistic view of their business’s financial trajectory and to understand how to mobilise funding themselves and achieve their business outcomes.

Digital technologies drive innovation, economic growth and job creation across a multiplicity of economic sectors, and foster increased African interconnectivity. Hence, this call for solutions focuses on African business offering digital/tech-based solutions to their customers.

We are looking to select 10 MSMEs to receive tailored technical assistance. Once selected, MSMEs will work closely with our team to design and deliver a customised technical assistance programme which will be carried out in 2023 to support your company’s specific growth needs across three key areas:

Investment readiness support Business-specific advisory Capacity building
  • Business plan development
  • Financial modelling
  • Market research
  • Investor pitch support and coaching
  • Finance mobilisation
  • Contracting / legal support (e.g., off-take agreements)
  • Compliance / quality management (e.g., alignment with industry-specific regulations / standards)
  • B2B matchmaking
  • Regulatory, procurement and trade (e.g., to meet procurement requirements)
  • Digitalisation support (e.g., data centre migration, digitalisation of existing services)
  • Training on business plans
  • Business strategy and development
  • Investor pitch
  • Various topics, based on identified MSME needs



Capacity building will be provided in a tiered fashion as shown below.

Tier 1 (available for all applicants)

All applicants get access to online capacity building platform with modules on basic business concepts.

Tier 2 (shortlisted canditates)

Shortlisted candidates get training on business strategy, business development, digital marketing, financial planning and investor pitch before pitching to evaluation committee.

Tier 3 (winners only)

Live, interactive small group trainings on select subjects. One-on-one mentoring and full TA support.


To have your application considered, your business/project will have to meet the criteria in the table below:

Youth and Women-led MSMEs are strongly encouraged to apply.

At least be an early-stage business
  • Be registered as a for-profit entity. Applications from Non-profit organisations (NPOs) / non-governmental organisations (NGOs) / non-profit company (NPCs) will not be considered.
  • Must have a team of at least three (3) people.
  • Proof of concept must have been established either by the MSME’s pilot or by similar, pre-existing projects elsewhere.
Your business idea must have a digital / tech focus
  • Digital / tech must be central to the business strategy/value proposition.
You focus on trade and/or green infrastructure        Your digital solution must address at least one of the two below (the digital solution can address both):

  1. The digital solution must have a demonstrable climate change adaptation (increasing resilience) or mitigation (reducing greenhouse gas emissions) impact; or the digital solution must a beneficial environmental impact (e.g., clearing invasive species, reducing plastic waste, repurposing hazardous waste).
  2. The digital solution must be able to demonstrate its impact on trade and/or trade-related activities esp. across national border (within a country is acceptable).
You must be African
  • Be based in (i.e., registered) an African Union Member State.
  • The business must be Africa-focused i.e., it has its largest market (>75% turnover) and employment base (>75% of personnel) in Africa.




Before you apply, please take note of the following:

  1. All eligible applications will be reviewed. While we endeavour to contact both successful and unsuccessful applicants with the outcome of their applications, we cannot guarantee this. Keep an eye on our social media (and this website) for updates.
  2. Shortlisted applicants will progress to a virtual training session. We expect this training to take place sometime in November 2022. It may take up to 5 consecutive days.
  3. At the end of this training, applicants will be invited to pitch their projects to our internal evaluation committee for final selection. We expect these to take place between from late November to early December 2022.
  4. The evaluation committee will select the final applicants that will receive the tailored technical assistance. We expect to announce winners by 16 December 2022.

Please note, that at any point in the above process, we may request that you submit additional information. This may include, but isn’t limited to, providing references of investors and customers and additional information on your financials. Final selection is expected in December 2022. The technical support definition and delivery will occur from January 2023 for a period of between 3 and 12 months depending on each of the selected MSME’s individual requirements.

Applications closed

Applications close 31 August 2022 14 September 2022 at 23h59 UTC


In 2021, the COVID- 19 Call for proposals supported MSMEs in renewable energy and food security, water and sanitation, renewable energy and environmental management, and tourism were selected. Following our interventions, over USD500,000 in financial support were obtained. CLICK HERE FOR PREVIOUSLY SELECTED PROJECTS


“It takes a whole village to raise a child. And we consider AUDA-NEPAD support to be that village elder that supported us with consistent advice and top-notch technical assistance”.

– Richard Seshie: Founder & CEO, Cool Lion

“The technical assistance was an immersive experience; one that led me to understand and view our business through a different lens. The team reached out to potential funders and stakeholders on our behalf, some of who we are still in active engagement. I now feel ready to propel this enterprise to the next level.”

– Eric Gathirwa Kariuki: Founder & CEO, Aquaethanol Technologies


Q: What do you mean by “digital solutions”?
A: A digital solution is one where the value add comes from a digital technology. For example, you might have developed an application (i.e., an “app”), a web-based platform/tool, a technology-driven process, or your service operates via a technology (e.g., digital booking or payment systems). For this call, we will also consider applications from businesses that are looking to digitalise their current services or solution and require assistance understanding how. In such a case, applications received should motivate clearly why the business service needs a digital solution.

Q: What do you mean by “trade”?
: Trade refers to the exchange of goods and services. Our focus for this call is intra-African trade, i.e., trade between or within African countries. Thus, ideally your solution is motivated to strengthen intra-African Trade.

Q: What do you mean by “green infrastructure”?
: We consider “green” infrastructure to be sustainable infrastructure. This is infrastructure which helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions (this is called climate change “mitigation”). It can also be infrastructure which helps society adapt to the impacts of climate change (this is called climate change “adaptation”). For the purpose of this call, we will also consider proposals that have a positive impact on the environment.

Q: Why do I need to submit a business plan?
: Your business plan, or business plan idea, helps us assess your business. It should help us understand your company’s objectives (or those of the particular project) and how you plan to achieve these objectives (or implement the plan). At a minimum, it should include some financial and operational components. If you’re not sure how to go about putting together your business plan, please have a look at this free short training: (you will have to create a free account to complete).

Q: My business is not registered. Can I still apply?
A: We are primarily targeting registered MSMEs. However, we appreciate that you probably have a reason for not being registered, and in fact, may need some assistance in this regard. So, if you are not registered, we need you to explain why not so we can understand this as we review your application. (Those applicants who claim to be registered are not required to provide a registration certificate to apply but we might ask for it later.)



The Call for Digital Solutions is supported by GIZ, on behalf of BMZ as part of a partnership between AUDA-NEPAD and the Federal Republic of Germany.


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