he MasterCard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity is a US$50 million challenge fund to extend financial services to people living in poverty.
MasterCard Foundation aims to support ideas from institutions looking to deliver a financial service, product, or process to smallholder farmers in eligible African countries. Projects may be proposed by a single institution or by a partnership. However, the lead applicant must be a for-profit entity. Examples of applying institutions may include banks; insurance or leasing companies; agribusinesses; IT enterprises; and firms that facilitate increased access to financial services by persons currently excluded from them. Applications should request support of between US$250 thousand and US$2.5 million.
We will be looking for innovation in all applications, be they for new ideas or ideas that are ready for scaling. When considering your ideas, you should address the following questions:
- What is the potential for the proposed idea to change access to financial services for smallholder farmers in Africa?
- What is innovative about your proposed idea? For example, 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? Is there a significant process improvement that changes the way you deliver a service or product?
- To what extent does the proposed project reach financially underserved markets?
- Burkina Faso
- Côte d’Ivoire
- The Gambia
- Sierra Leone
The MasterCard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity will only support ideas from institutions looking to deliver a financial service, product or process to smallholder farmers 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 (which could include a non-governmental organization); however, the lead applicant must be a for-profit entity.
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:
- 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.
Please note that this list is not exhaustive. We are looking for applications from institutions that have a financial service offering.
Summary of Eligibility Criteria
Eligible projects under The MasterCard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity are required to 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 lead applicant must be a for-profit entity.
- Projects for the 2017 Rolling Competition must take place in one of the countries listed as eligible.
- Projects must demonstrate the potential to increase the provision of financial services to smallholder farmers in eligible countries.
- Applications made to the 2017 Rolling Competition should be for support of between US$250,000 and US$2,500,000.
To register in the new format competition for the first time, or to login to work on an application you have started, you can click here.