A UK led Innovation fund has set up a multi-million fund in the new year to provide the boost startups need to scale up their projects.
Targeted at social enterprises, for-profit firms, non-profit organisations, researchers, and government agencies, the Global Innovation Fund (GIF), an initiative of the the Department of International Development in the UK, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Omidyar Network among others, invests in solutions that aim to improve the lives and provide opportunities of millions of people in the developing world.
“At the Fund, we believe that innovation can come from many different types of organisations – whether private sector or public sector, for-profit or non-profit.
To that end, the fund offers a range of financing types, including grants, loans (including convertible debt), and equity investments”.
The financing ranges from 50,000 to 15 million USD, with the largest funding amounts reserved for innovations with the potential to spread across multiple developing countries.
Borrowing from the practice of venture capital, the GIF uses a tiered financing model which amounts to three stages of funding.
“At the Fund, our goal is to scale innovations backed by rigorous evidence of success. So every investment we make is designed to support innovations on their path to scale.”
However, recognising that some of the promising innovations that will change the development landscape are mostly only in their infancy, the funders have the flexibility to support innovators from early stage field pilots right through to large scale innovations.
So at the pilot stage, the fledgling startup should expect up to 230,000 USD worth of investment. At their test and transition stage, up to 2.3 million USD is invested. But at the scaling up level, up to 15 million USD is put into the startup.
In addition to funding, the fund provides other resources including technical assistance and access to a global network of mentors and funders.
“We aim to connect successful innovators with partners and follow-on funding to support their growth.”
BY MOSES OMUSOLO