Updated Mar 14, 2019

Global Innovation Fund

Offered by Global Innovation Fund

GIF supports teams from social enterprises, for-profit companies, non-profit organizations, government agencies, international organisations, and researchers across all relevant sectors and doing work based in any eligible country in the developing world.
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Loan, Grant, EquityType
Open Year RoundDeadline
Up to £15,000,000Amount
Criteria: StageAmount Per Prize
Stage 3£50,000 - £2,300,000
Stage 4Up to £2,300,000
Stage 5 and 6Up to £15,000,000

Mandatory Requirements

StageStage 3: Proof of Concept, Stage 4: Transition to Scale, Stage 5: Scaling and Stage 6: Sustained Scale
Implemented In:
RegionLow and Middle Income Countries
Focus AreasAll Sectors
GIF supports teams from social enterprises, for-profit companies, non-profit organizations, government agencies, international organisations, and researchers across all relevant sectors and doing work based in any eligible country in the developing world.

Your innovation could be a new business model, technology, distribution system, financing mechanism, etc. Whatever the type of innovation, you need to explain how your innovation can make it easier, faster, less costly or otherwise more feasible to tackle an important development challenge.

Other Requirements

Target BeneficiariesWe are open to funding innovations in any sector as long as you can show that your innovation improves the lives of those living on less than $5 PPP per day, especially less than $2 PPP per day

Pilot: Small numbers (normally a few thousand)

Test and transition: A large range (from thousands to hundreds of thousands)

Scale: Transformative (e.g. reaches millions of people)
Planned Usage of FundsIf you are a for-profit company, or have a market route to scale, it is likely more appropriate for you to apply for equity or debt. The fund may give grants to for-profit companies in the cases where there is a large social impact and there is a clear case that we are not crowding-out private capital. Additionally, we are open to providing grants to for-profit companies to fund rigorous evidence generation around the impact of your model on people living on less than $5 PPP per day.

If you are a non-profit, and have a public-sector or hybrid path to scale, a grant is likely to be most appropriate. To secure a grant, however, you need to demonstrate that your innovation has the potential to be a cost-effective way to solve the given development challenge.
Potential for Scale

The fund’s goal is to scale innovative solutions to development challenges that are backed by rigorous evidence. We only fund innovations with the potential to scale to reach millions of people living on less than $5 PPP a day.

Our staged funding approach allows us to support innovations at different stages on their path to scale, from small scale field pilots to scaling a proven intervention to a whole new country.

If you are applying at the pilot stage, please make sure to explain how the innovation you are working on could scale and grow. We are interested in funding pilot projects that reach 1,000 people in the next 12 months, so long as the model has the potential to scale to reach millions of people in the long run. If your innovation is only ever designed to reach a few thousand people in a specific context, you are a not a good fit for GIF even at the pilot stage.

Your organisation does not have to scale the innovation directly.While in some cases, your organisation may be able to scale an innovation directly to reach millions of people, we also expect many innovations to scale through partnerships (such as with government or philanthropic organisations or other firms). In assessing the potential of an applicant’s intervention to scale, we evaluate its operational, financial and social viability at scale. Even applicants not currently at scale should be ready to explore who would likely implement and pay for the innovation at scale.

Evidence/Proof of Concept

The fund is committed to supporting the acceleration and transition to scale of innovations that are backed by rigorous evidence. To that end, we will ask to see quantitative evidence that your innovation improves on business as usual. Often, but not always, this evidence may be generated via a rigorous randomized controlled trial or quantitative assessments that use other strategies to identify the causal impact of your approach relative to a comparable control group.

Our expectations of the level of evidence you have to support your innovation increase with organisational stage. Later stage organisations, at larger scale, requesting larger amounts of funding are required to have more robust evidence of impact.

  • Pilot: Limited
  • Test and Transition: Focus on evidence gathering
  • Scale:Rigorous evidence already exists
OtherThe fund also employs a different level of due diligence at each stage – we have a streamlined process for pilots, whereas we conduct in-depth due diligence over an extended period of time for scale-stage support.

Application Directions

We accept applications on a continuous basis, with no deadlines or ’rounds’ of funding. In addition to this open application window, we actively seek out investments. Our review process is highly selective and rigorous, and less than 10% of applicants are invited to submit full proposals.

We have tried to create a process that is light-touch at the early stages, so as not to burden innovators. If you are successful in stages 1 and 2, we will require more information and time involvement with you in later stages.

We are also always refining our processes, so our approach as outlined here may change in the future.

Application And Awards Process

Initial Application

The first step in applying to GIF required for all applicants is to submit an Initial Application. This includes a short online form and either a document (2-4 pages) OR a slide deck (8-12 slides e.g. in Powerpoint). Applicants are also welcome to submit a video (maximum 8 minutes) as an optional addition to the application. At this time we are only able to accept application materials in English.

The purpose of an initial application is for applicants to demonstrate how their innovation is a good fit for the Global innovation Fund. Successful applicants at this stage will credibly show how their application meets our four investment criteria.

Your initial applications will be reviewed against our four investment criteria. Our application process is highly selective and competitive: to date, less than 10% of applicants have passed this initial screen. You should hear back from us within 4-6 weeks of submitting your initial application as to whether you progress to the next stage.

Information Gathering and Learning More

Applicants whose initial applicants pass the initial screen are invited to a talk with GIF staff. This a chance for us to get to know each other a bit better before deciding whether to advance to a full application. These meetings are done remotely – you can dial-in from anywhere in the world. You will spend 30-60 minutes on a conference call with several GIF investment team members. We do not always have deep sector or technical expertise on a specific innovation, so this talk gives us the opportunity for us to ask more detailed questions about your innovation and its potential to scale.

Full Application

If we think that you are potentially a good match for the fund, you will be invited to provide additional information through the submission of a Full Application. This application requires a more detailed description of your innovation and plan, team composition, and supporting research/evidence with quantitative estimates. We will also ask for detailed budgetary projections and financial plans.

Due Diligence

The investment team at the fund will undertake due diligence of the innovator’s proposal at this point. This may include the following: further interviews with your team, calls with references, and input from external technical experts. We will provide further details on the due diligence process to innovators who reach this stage.

Decision Panel

Applicants who satisfy our questions during the due diligence process will proceed to a Decision Panel. This panel is composed of senior leadership at the fund and external experts. The panelists will consider the application against our application criteria to decide whether this is a good investment for the fund.

Funding Agreement

Once an application has been conditionally approved by a Decision Panel, the fund will undertake financial and legal due diligence, as well as resolve any outstanding technical and social issues. As long as no compliance issues arise, we will negotiate a funding agreement with the applicant.

This part of the process will vary for different types of capital. For grants, there will be a grant agreement which may include milestones. For loans, the interest rate offered and conditions of the loan will be part of the agreement. For equity, there will be a valuation process and an investment agreement.
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