The Global Innovation Fund (GIF) is a social impact-first investment vehicle that collaborates with mission-aligned development agencies, philanthropy, and other funders to identify and fund evidence-based innovations that have the potential to improve the lives of millions of the world’s poorest people. We offer a unique function in addition to existing development assistance by taking calculated risks that governmental agencies are unable to achieve utilizing a variety of financial instruments. We assist entrepreneurs in scaling their businesses by adopting a venture-style phased funding method, in which more speculative concepts receive less funding and more funding is provided after successful testing and achievement of proof points.
What we Fund
At GIF, we believe that innovation, by which we mean any solution that has potential to address an important development problem more effectively than existing approaches, can come from anyone, anywhere.
This means that we accept applications working in any sector in any developing country.
Any type of organisation may apply. This includes social enterprises, for-profit companies, non-profit organisations, government agencies, international organisations, and research institutions in any country. It is recommended that individual innovators, entrepreneurs, or researchers apply through an affiliated organisation.
An open application window does not mean, however, that all development projects are a good fit for GIF. We seek out innovations we believe have the greatest potential to improve the lives of millions of people living in poverty and only select those innovations which
What We Don’t Fund
GIF is open to innovations which meet our criteria in any sector or country. However, there are some activities we do not fund. These include:
- Theoretical research, or purely lab-based activities that are not linked to implementation of a specific proposed real-world pilot or demonstration project.
- Approaches that are only applicable in a single country (unless the innovation is expected to scale to a large proportion of one of the world’s most populous developing countries).
- Innovations that involve supporting a political candidate or party.
- Innovations where the primary purpose is to support the broader innovation ecosystem, such as incubators, accelerators, or other innovation funds.
- Innovations involving any product or activity deemed illegal under applicable laws or regulations or subject to internationally agreed phase-outs or bans as defined in global conventions and agreements (such as dealing with certain hazardous chemicals or ozone depleting substances, and any activity endangering protected wildlife).
- Innovations that involve production or use of luxury goods, soliciting prostitution or engaging in human trafficking, terrorist activity, or use of prohibited drugs, gambling and pornography.
Types of Funding
We believe innovative solutions can come from many different types of organisations – whether private sector or public sector, for-profit or non-profit. To that end, GIF provides a range of financing types, including grants, loans (including convertible debt), and equity investments. We expect applicants to present a clear rationale for the type of financing for which they are applying.
If you are a non-profit and your innovation does not involve generating revenues from users or customers, a grant is likely to be most appropriate. However, we have the flexibility to provide blended finance solutions depending on your funding needs.
Stages of Funding
Every investment we make is designed to support innovations on their path to scale. However, we recognise that some of the promising innovations that will change the development landscape are currently only in their infancy. GIF, therefore, supports innovators from early-stage field pilots right through to large-scale implementation. The goal is not to fund small organisations that stay small, and medium-sized interventions that stay medium-sized. It is to support organisations to scale up to reach millions of people.
To do this we use a staged funding approach allowing us to manage risk sensibly. We take smaller bets on riskier, unproven innovations at the pilot stage and invest larger amounts in innovations demonstrating strong evidence of success through rigorous impact evaluations.
Starting Your Application
Before deciding whether to apply, determine whether you can show how your organization and innovation meets the requirements below:
My innovation aims to improve the lives of people living on less than $5PPP a day.
My innovation is a novel approach which is not already widely practiced in developing countries.
I have a strong rationale for how my innovation improves on alternative approaches.
I have evidence, either from existing literature or my own testing, to support my claim that my innovation can improve the lives of those living on less than $5 PPP a day.
If successful, my innovation could be applied in several developing countries.
My innovation has the potential to scale to reach millions of people.
My team has expertise in this area and the skills and experience to make the innovation a success.
The innovation is ready to be applied, tested or scaled in a real-world setting.
I have a clear vision for how GIF can contribute to our vision of success.
My team aims to generate and share evidence and learning from our work.
Deadline for submission of application is ongoing
For more details visit – Global Innovation Fund
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