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Innovations Against Poverty (IAP) challenges the private sector to develop innovative products, services, and business models that can contribute to the fight against poverty, unlock their entrepreneurial potential, catalyse inclusive growth, and fuel more sustainable economic development. IAP provides funding to companies that engage the urban and rural low-income population as innovators, entrepreneurs, producers, consumers, or distributors. Companies can apply for funding from IAP through open calls. IAP is funded by Sida (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) and managed by SNV in partnership with BoP Innovation Center and Inclusive Business Sweden

Private sector development has proven to be a real catalyst of change when it comes to creating the opportunity for low-income people to lift themselves out of poverty. Additionally, low-income markets represent a large business opportunity: the four billion people living on less than $8 USD a day constitute a global consumer market with a shared purchasing power valued at 5 trillion USD. The low-income population provides the potential to increase labor, supplier, and distribution channels that can support expanded production and market supply. This offers significant scope for entrepreneurship and private sector development to make a positive impact on low-income people’s quality of life.

By thinking innovatively, companies can develop business ideas that solve social and environmental issues while at the same time maximising their competitiveness and profitability. However, many of these initiatives are exposed to commercial, technical, and financial risks, and have limited access to markets. Most companies initiating an innovative Inclusive Business idea traditionally lack the technical support required and are too large for micro-finance, and too small and risky for mainstream commercial debt and venture capital, making them part of the so-called “Missing Middle” gap. By functioning as a risk-sharing mechanism, IAP aims to stimulate the development of innovative inclusive business ideas that otherwise would not have taken place within the private sector.

Innovation Against Poverty is now opening a second call for proposals, and the deadline for submission is 15 May 2020. Selected applicants will be offered grants between € 50,000 to € 200,000 (not exceeding a maximum of 49% of the total required investment), and free tailor-made advisory services in developing and rolling out the inclusive business idea. You are eligible for this opportunity if you are a private company duly registered and operational in either Cambodia, Ethiopia, Uganda or Zambia, with an innovative inclusive business idea in Agriculture, WASH, and/or renewable energy sector. All ICT based innovations should be applied to one of the three main sectors (it is not a stand-alone focal sector). For an innovative inclusive business to be supported by IAP, it should be commercially viable, inclusive, innovative, scalable and environmentally sustainable. 

 

Achievements to date:

  • More than 1,000 companies responded to the call for applications that was launched in June 2017;
  • After a thorough selection, contracts were signed with 35 companies across the four countries; 
  • So far, €2.7 million in IAP grants has been disbursed, while co-investment from companies amounts to around EUR 8 million (an investment ratio of 3:1);
  • We have about EUR 3 million available for the second call. Grant sizes will range between EUR 50,000 and 200,000. For this upcoming round, we expect about 25‐30 contracts to be awarded across the four countries.

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