Mastercard Strive Community Innovation Fund 2021 (up to $200,000)

Mastercard Strive Community Innovation Fund 2021 (up to $200,000)

Deadline: December 17, 2021

Applications are open for the Mastercard Strive Community Innovation Fund 2021. The Strive Community Innovation Fund aims to spark new ideas for catalyzing small businesses’ resilience and growth, at scale.

They are seeking truly innovative solutions that can be transformative for these small enterprises which are the backbone of economies. The fund makes available up to $1m for digital and data first solutions that enable small businesses with fewer than 10 employees to digitize their operations, better use financial services, or participate more effectively in digital marketplaces.


  • Successful applicants will each receive up to $200,000 to develop and test their innovation over a 12-18 month period.
  • Being a Strive Community Innovation Fund grantee is your opportunity to build and test the most innovative and experimental solutions that you may not have otherwise been able to pursue.
  • In addition to funding, you will have access to Strive Community and Mastercard expertise, as well as a great opportunity for exposure and publicity.


Applicants must:

  • Be a registered and operating entity with active users, with a proven track record of legal and ethical operations and good work performance for at least 2 years.
  • Be fully compliant with business licensing, taxation, employee and other relevant regulations in all countries of operation.
  • Be compliant with all applicable laws including adhering to fundamental human rights and all international labour standards
  • Be able to prove financial health with adequate financial systems to report regularly to Strive Community.
  • Have adequate internal human resource capability to implement the proposed project and comply with Strive Community’s reporting requirements.
  • Not be engaged in unethical activities such as arms production or tobacco.

Organisational Eligibility

Applicants can be:

  • Single organizations or a consortia of multiple organizations
  • Non-profits, social enterprises, start-ups, and others
  • Companies or multinational corporations (subject to matched funding requirements)

Project Eligibility

Proposed projects must:

  • Leverage digital and data first solutions
  • Have potential for measurable positive impact on small business growth
  • Propose implementation outside of the US and Canada

Selection Criteria

They will use four simple criteria to select proposals:

  • Significance & impact
    • Does the project address at least one of Strive Community’s three pillars for supporting small business: digitizing operations, using financial services and participating in digital markets?
    • What impact could be achieved if the project is successful?
    • Is there alignment with Strive Community focus areas of supporting businesses with fewer than 10 employees with digital and data first solutions?
  • Applicability & transferability
    • Will the project inspire others to similarly innovate on supporting small business?
    • Can other organizations benefit from the learnings and insights generated in this project?
    • Can the solution or insights be applied, adapted, or transferred broadly?
  • Feasibility & sustainability
    • Does the articulated plan seem suitable for reaching the desired outcome?
    • Does the requested budget seem reasonable for the project proposed?
    • Does the project center on a solution that has financial viability at scale?
  • Additionality
    • Would the innovative solution or insights be realized without this funding?
    • Would the project be implemented in an improved way with this grant?
    • Is Strive Community inspiring something truly innovative by de-risking it for the awardee?


Click here to apply

For more information, visit Mastercard.