Alternative Funding Sources for Uganda: Accion Venture Lab


I am not an agent or affiliated with this entity. The information below is independent and based on my research and experience. While I have taken steps to ensure the accuracy of the information presented here, I cannot guarantee that it will remain correct.

basic information

Target customer of the fund: “late start-ups”.

Industry focus: Financial services, particularly those using emerging technologies such as mobile money and “branchless” banking, social media and cloud computing.

Amounts provided: $100,000 – $300,000

Type of financing: venture capital (That is, instead of making a loan, the fund takes a percentage of the shares in the target company, can also make convertible debt, which is a loan that can be converted into stock.)

Key Criteria:

  • Innovative models of companies developing breakthrough technologies and disruptive business models that provide financial services to people at the base of the pyramid (BOP); and
  • Must not have significant revenue but should be post R&D, have a full time team and ideally have a pilot/prototype in the market.

Further information:

Search fund information online or contact the East Africa contact:

Who is behind the fund?

Accion is a private non-profit organization pioneering microfinance. It was founded in 1961.

What is the application process like?

The fund was recently launched in April 2012, so there is no clear information, but the expectation of the process is:

1. Send an initial email to Nicky Khaki, the East Africa contact.

2. Submit a summary to highlight opportunity and funding needs.

3. Submission of a detailed plan, due diligence and site visit to ensure the team is in place.

What are my views/tips for successful access to capital?

1. Impress:The Venture Lab is an “experimental project” and is therefore looking for the “Next Big Thing”. I believe the business plan/summary you submit should show how you are using new/emerging technologies to solve Uganda’s problems. It should not be conservative, but should balance the futuristic view with the practical aspects.

2. Market Research. As the team is interested in tested technology and a model that works in the market, you need to provide evidence of testing in the Ugandan market.

3. Scalability.Given the work Accion is doing in microfinance around the world, a good model must demonstrate that it can be replicated cheaply, preferably in other emerging markets and for the benefit of the ‘poorest of the poor’. a lot of microfinance.

While I share the above tips, you should be aware that some basic key information applies to all job applications. This includes aspects such as the plan including a summary that does not contain errors, is in an easy-to-read format, and the like.

Otherwise good luck.