Opportunities and Projects tackling COVID-19 across Africa
MEST Africa Challenge 2020

Following the developments of COVID-19 in Africa, the MEST Africa Challenge has announced that this year’s competition will be entirely virtual for the first time. In light of this uncertain time, MEST is expanding the 2020 MEST Africa Challenge to target even more tech startups in need of funding. The application deadline has been extended to May 13th.

Nigeria - Facebook Startup Circles Lagos is now open for applications!
This initiative is designed to help early stage entrepreneurs build better products by connecting them with a local network of fellow startups, expert in business and product strategies.


Global - Call for Code asks Innovators to create practical, effective and high quality based on one or more IBM cloud services to build solutions to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 and climate change. A prize of $200,000 for the winner, $25000 USD for the first runner up and $10,000 for the third and fourth runner up.

EdTech Call for COVID-19 Responses

The EdTech Hub, mEducation Alliance, and Global Innovation Exchange (GIE) are launching a call for tech-focused ideas to respond to the learning emergency caused by COVID-19 school closures in low- and middle-income countries.

2020 CASS COVID-19 Entrepreneurs Competition

IEEE Circuits and Systems Society (CASS), aims to support startups trying to create technology solutions aligned with Circuits and Systems Society goals to help in the COVID-19 pandemic. The winning teams will be invited to join ISCAS 2020 in Seville (11-14 October 2020) and will win grants of up to US$ 10000.

DFID's Frontier Technology Hub is working with a range of partners to identify, highlight and adapt responsible guidance and approaches in lower and middle-income countries that support data protection, digital inclusion, and other key digital practices to fight COVID-19.


TMLightRoom is a Tentmaker pitch platform that brings budding entrepreneurs, seasoned investors and major players in the ecosystem. The program is virtual, offers the bridge to connect and collaborate.

GSMA Innovation Fund for Driving Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion

Are you an SME or a start-up in sub-Saharan Africa or Asia? Are you helping people get online for the first time using mobile internet? You could be eligible to apply for an equity-free grant of between £100,000 and £250,000 to scale innovation over a period of 15-18 months.

V4CA Mentorship

South Africa, Botswana and Zambia - COVID-19 is forcing everyone to find new ways of working and VC4A’s Mentor-Driven Capital program, powered by SAIS, is no different as they launch a virtual edition of the VC4A’s Mentor-Driven Capital (MDC) program.

Emergency Response Grant. $250k to $500k grants awarded to non-profit organizations working on projects that utilize the internet to improve lives, the project should last up to 12 months.


Global - MIT Solve is seeking tech innovations that can slow and track the spread of an emerging outbreak. If you have a solution you can apply and get the support of US$1 million in prize funding and nine months of personalized support through the Solver program. Deadline is on 18th June 2020.

Global - Do you have a project offering a concrete solution to tackle a global challenge like the COVID-19? Present at the Peace Forum and stand a chance to pitch for funds and support to scale. Deadline is May 12.

Global - This is a call to action to the world's artificial intelligence experts to develop text and data mining tools that can help the medical community develop answers to high priority scientific questions.

Global - The GHS Challenge Fund would allow funding – for immediate COVID-19 preparation and detection, as well as preparation for future pandemic threats to be disbursed in a transparent and comprehensive way, with resources flowing directly to eligible countries.

Global - The UNDP announces the COVID-19 protect and detect challenge in partnership with Hackster.io to create an open source technology that developing countries can leverage in the fight against the pandemic.

Global - Are you a startup with a solution for: victims, healthcare systems & the billions affected by COVID-19? Action Against Corona, an initiative by Norrsken and Dagens Industri is looking to support you!

Rapid analysis of innovation responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa-01

To provide lessons to strengthen the innovation response to future crises, AfriLabs and KTN UK are working together to deliver a rapid analysis of the responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. Please take a few minutes to provide us with your input

Zayed Sustainability Prize

With a prize fund of US$600,000, per category, the Zayed Sustainability Prize celebrates innovative achievements that are impacting lives across five categories: Health, Food, Energy, Water and Global High Schools. African innovators, SMEs, entrepreneurs, NGOs and NPOs are eligible to apply. Entries close 11th June 2020.

The COVID-19 Youth Design Challenge aims to create a stronger Africa together. This challenge gives youth a voice in exploring how we might empower people and communities to become more pandemic resilient. Deadline is June 13 2020.

UNECA COVID-19 Innovation Challenge

UNECA COVID-19 Innovation Challenge seeks to identify and showcase some of the top technologies and innovations from across Africa and beyond.

Do you have a digital project that creates impact for women in your community? Apply for the Women in Technology Challenge.

Do you have a remarkable idea to accelerate digital transformation in your community? Apply for the Digital Change-maker Challenge.

Ecosystem Best Practice Challenge

Do you have a good practice that will enable innovators to develop ICT-centric solutions? Apply for the Ecosystem Best Practice Challenge.

REACT Kenya Relief Fund

The REACT Kenya Relief Fund is a USD 2million initiative that will award emergency grants to companies operating in Kenya.

The Orange Social Venture Prize in Africa and the Middle East

Apply for the Orange Social Venture Prize in Africa and the Middle East (POESAM) and stand a chance to win an award of up to €25,000.

Covid_19 Innovation Challenge

Ennovate Hub, with support from Ignite Africa, the UN ITC and GIZ has launched an Innovation Challenge with the aim of using innovative solutions to cushion the effect of COVD-19 on lives and businesses. Deadline is June 6.


The centre stage of the SA Innovation Summit, the Africa Cup is a competition providing start-ups and early-stage companies in all tech-enabled sectors from around the world to compete for investment, showcase their products and services, gain market and media exposure, and secure support in the stages of scaling and growth.


A highlight of the SA Innovation Summit that is an opportunity for entrepreneurs with a working prototype or product from a proven concept to pre-commercialisation to gain access to funding or incubation, market exposure and business support.

Kenya and Uganda - Vital Capital has launched a new emergency debt facility providing loans to companies to help them get through the COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to offer essential services. This is available in Kenya and Uganda, and will subsequently expand into Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Angola and Senegal.

Nigeria - Access up to N25 Million Targeted Credit Facility for COVID-19. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced a stimulus package to support households and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bridge For Billions

Bridge for Billions has developed a proprietary gamified incubation platform with all the elements of the offline incubation moved online. At Bridge, their response to this COVID-19 crisis has been to gather different actors of the ecosystem (incubators & accelerators, universities), and offer them to move their ongoing business training/ entrepreneurship programs to our online incubation platform, *for free* for the next 3 months (April, May & June). This way your entrepreneurs can still work on their businesses from home and you can manage the entire process!

The 2020 edition of the ITU Innovation Challenges

The 2020 edition of the ITU Innovation Challenges will be taking place amid a global pandemic caused by Covid-19. This has resulted in stress on value chains and countries’ readiness for a digital economy, significantly affecting social conditions worldwide. The challenge is a global open competition platform for innovators and ecosystem builders to present their ideas and projects, empowering them to transform their communities into thriving digital societies.