HiiL Justice Accelerator SME Empowerment Challenge 2016

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HiiL Justice Accelerator, together with the Ford Foundation, runs the SME Empowerment Challenge to promote justice solutions that empower SMEs across Africa. HiiL launched the SME Empowerment Challenge in 2015, resulting in 3 most promising initiatives that are currently being scaled. With the success of last year’s challenge, they continue the strong partnership with the Ford Foundation with the view to increase the impact in addressing challenges facing SMEs and emerging startups in Africa.

The challenge process includes shortlisting, online campaigning, wildcard-selection, crowdfunding and pitching in front of an international audience. The winners of the challenge will receive acceleration support and an investment of up to 80.000EUR in total. The SME Empowerment Challenge 2016 runs from March to December 2016.

In 2016 we welcome innovations that have a clear link with access to justice within the SME sector. Examples of innovations we seek include, but are not limited to:

  • Solutions that provide equality of opportunities for entrepreneurs to start a business

  • Services that secure better and affordable intellectual property rights for SMEs

  • Fraud- and corruption fighting tools that apply to businesses

  • Contract-enforcement mechanisms for businesses

  • Solutions that empower labour rights within the (informal) SME sector

  • Platforms that provide cost- effective and customized legal services for businesses (i.e.registration, legal advice, compliance, contracts, IP protection)

  • Data- and information sharing tools geared at legal needs of SMEs

  • Projects that promote enabling legislation, regulations and policies applying to SMEs

This year we want to focus on expanding to more countries and regions. Applications from these countries in Africa are very much encouraged: Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Cameroon and South Africa.

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