Innovation grant round 2 request for proposals
20 April 2010

EFInA Innovation Grant Round 1 was completed in October 2009. We received and assessed 44 bids out of which one project was successful and received a grant of $1,500,000.

EFInA is pleased to announce that the Competition is now open for the EFInA Innovation Grant Round 2. Our grant will support new ideas and approaches to expand financial access to the unbanked and under-banked population in Nigeria. The deadline for submission of proposals is 6pm on June 4th, 2010.

Fund Purpose: The Innovation Fund is a special facility within EFInA which seeks to promote innovation in the development and deployment of financial services and thus expand financial access to the underserved and low income population in Nigeria. EFInA funds can be used to test and launch the specific innovation that should be targeted at the unbanked. All applicants will be expected to fund at least 50% of the total project cost.

What is Innovation?
Innovation is an essential component of EFInA’s Innovation Fund, although it is sometimes hard to define, and therefore difficult for prospective bidders to address. The EFInA Fund emphasises Innovation in order to focus its finite resources on novel ways of providing access to financial services in Nigeria, rather than replicating existing approaches. It aims to:

  • Generate and pilot new ideas and business models that increase access to financial services for low income customers that are unbanked and under-banked
  • Support projects that  extend the frontier of knowledge in the area of inclusive financial services provision
  • Maximise impact by supporting projects that have good potential for replication


What are we looking for?
We are seeking innovative proposals which have scalable and sustainable business models. Products/services to be offered should be profitable (over the medium and long term), affordable for low income consumers and promotes financial inclusion in Nigeria.

Grant proposals must include one or more of the following key sectors with the potential to expand access to financial services for the unbanked and under-banked:

  • Branchless banking
  • Payments services
  • Savings
  • Consumer Protection
  • Financial Capacity/Education

We recognise that there is an inherent distrust in the Nigerian financial system and low income consumers sometimes feel unwelcome by many of the providers in the formal economy. We are particularly interested in bidders’ approaches to Consumer Protection and Financial Capability/ Education/Social marketing. That is, how will the bidder ensure that the needs of the low-income client are being met; that those clients are aware of all fees, interest rate calculations, terms and understand the value in the product in such a way that they will seek to actively use those products.

For EFInA funding, Innovation should involve one or more of the following:

  • Developing financial products or services that are  currently not available in  Nigeria
  • Finding new channels (including technology) to deliver financial products or services to groups that do not currently enjoy access to such products or services
  • Adapting existing products or services to meet the specific needs of a target market that does not currently have access to such products or services
  • Developing new approaches and methodologies to offer financial products or service to groups that do not currently have access

Who can apply?

  • Potential organisations that EFInA would be looking to fund include Microfinance Banks, NGO- Microfinance Institutions, Commercial Banks, Payment Service Providers, Technology Providers, Mobile Network Operators, Regulators and Policy Makers
  • Applicants must have the capacity to implement the proposed project i.e. deliver the product or service proposed within 24 months

What is the application process?

  • For further information on the Innovation Grant Application & Submission Process read more
  • All completed grant application forms along with the required documentation should be submitted to the Programme Manager at
  • The deadline for submission is 6pm on June 4th, 2010
  • EFInA will notify all applicants of the outcome of their applications by September 3rd, 2010


For further information contact the Programme Manager at