The winner of the second round of the SME Finance ICF competition organized by FSDT will be announced and presented with a Grant Award on 18th June 2013. The winner will receive a grant worth 328,000 USD to develop its business idea.
 The SME Finance Innovation Challenge Fund is a risk-sharing mechanism.  By financing up to half of the cost of developing new services, FSDT seeks to encourage ideas that might otherwise be too risky to attract commercial operators but are still worth undertaking.  FSDT has run two rounds of this challenge to financial service providers (banks and non-banks) since June 2011.
The Innovation Challenge Fund initiative targets financial institutions, not SMEs themselves.    FSDT looks to support projects testing innovative concepts, technologies and business models.  The ICF will not finance normal course of business or capital for on-lending.  Grant awards are made through a two-stage competitive process, in the range US$ 100,000 to US$ 500,000.  Decisions are guided by an independent panel.
Results for the two rounds of the competition have been broadly similar.  The ICF received 19 applications in the first round and 13 completed applications in round two. 

In round two, after evaluation, only three applicants remained in competition. They were invited to submit detailed plans in the second phase of the competition. From these three applicants, two were for financial management tools designed to make it easier for SMEs to communicate with their banks.  The third applicant sought to empower women by formalizing procedures for collateralizing gold jewelry.
The sole winning entrant is Problem Solved Ltd and it is in the process of negotiating a detailed contract with the FSDT for a Grant of US$ 328,000.  The applicant’s innovative solution that won the competition is its Mini Shop IT package, an electronic record-keeping solution for SMEs, which will give users an analysis of their businesses’ strengths, transparency and accessible to financial institutions. Congratulations to Problem Solved Ltd.
Currently FSDT is preparing for a third round of the Innovation Challenge Fund.

About FSDT:
The Financial Sector Deepening Trust aims to provide greater access for more people to financial services in Tanzania. The Trust is supported by the UK’s Department for International Development, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Danish International Development Agency, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Royal Netherlands Embassy and the Government of Tanzania, through World Bank funding.
 The importance of SMEs (small and medium scale enterprises) for economic competitiveness, growth, employment and poverty reduction is widely recognized but poor access to finance remains a constraint.  The range of products applicable to Tanzanian SMEs is limited and, though there is widespread interest in this market segment, the pace of innovation is slow.

For more information go to www.fsdt.or.tz, or email us at: info@fsdt.or.tz
 Director @ Compass Communications L.T.D- Maria Sarungi Tsehai (Middle).. Posing with Mr Geofrey Ndosi and Colleague
                    Mr Geofrey Ndosi (Right) and Colleague

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