Innovation Grant Request for Proposals - Round 3
The deadline for the RFP is 6:00 pm on May 03, 2011

Request for Proposals

The low income mass market segment can and are willing to save. The EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2010 survey highlighted that 23.8 million adults are currently saving at home. There is demand for a range of affordable, convenient and accessible formal savings products for low value savers. The design and implementation of such products is critical to the successful mobilization of savings deposits.

EFInA is pleased to announce its third call for proposals for the Innovation Grant. Round 3 focuses on supporting new ideas and approaches to expanding access to ‚Äėformal savings‚Äô products and services designed for the unbanked and under-banked population in Nigeria, especially women. The deadline for submission of proposals is 6pm on May 3rd, 2011.

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

 What are we looking for?

We are seeking proposals for the development and launch of innovative and effective formal savings products in terms of convenience, flexibility and cost, that encourages the low income segment to save. The product and business model should enable the collection of low-value savings from unbanked and under-banked savers, especially women. The project proposed should be sustainable and scalable for the financial services provider.

 Grant proposals must fall under one or more of the following categories:

  • Savings Products for Women: as women tend to be the savers in most poor households, a well-designed savings product can have significant empowerment benefits for women. Design and develop savings products or modify existing savings products to better serve the needs of women.
  • Small Value Savings Accounts: develop a new or refine an existing specific savings product and/or service for the low income mass market segment that save relatively small amounts, with features such as zero-opening balance, no minimum balance, and low transaction costs.
  • Remittances & Savings: remittances are a major gateway to financial services and it is essential that remittance flows become fully included in the formal financial space. Design and develop an appropriate savings product linked to remittances.
  • Branchless Banking: branchless banking refers to use of alternative distribution channels to bring quality, affordable, and safe savings accounts outside conventional bank branches, using non bank retail agents and relying on information and communications technologies such as card-reading point-of-sale (POS) terminals or mobile phones. The objective is to enhance efficiencies and lower transaction costs while maintaining excellent customer service, which will¬†bring financial services to the doorstep of the low income population especially in rural communities.

Proposals should demonstrate the ability to reach high numbers of unbanked or underserved groups and should provide quality financial services and products. The following features have been proven as key to the successful mobilisation of savings deposits: convenience, flexibility, security, usability and affordability and must be imbedded into the product design and delivery.

All projects must include marketing and financial education campaigns to demonstrate to customers the importance of saving; how to set savings goals; and change their saving behaviour with formal financial services providers. Pricing must be transparent and proposals should incorporate consumer protection redress mechanisms.

 Who can apply?

  • Potential organisations include Microfinance Banks, Deposit Money Banks and Non-Bank Financial Institutions
  • Applicants must have the capacity to implement the proposed project within 24 months

 EFInA will notify all applicants of the outcome of their applications by July 12th, 2011

 For further information, contact the Programme Manager at

 Reasons for Application Rejection