Sida Eyes Funding Innovative Development Ideas

A slum in Addis Ababa, where areas are created for workshops to allow small companies to run their business. Photo by: Per-Ulf Nilsson / Sida

Entrepreneurs engaged in innovative anti-poverty activities in African countries can now apply for funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency through the agency’s new program that offers financial support and advice for innovative business and technology-related initiatives.

The three-year program, dubbed Innovations Against Poverty, or IAP, is open to companies and market-oriented non-governmental organizations based or operating in African countries. It’s goal is to promote the development of new products, solutions and business models and to accelerate business development in emerging markets.

The program primarily focuses on small organizations with innovative ideas, but it would also fund larger companies aiming to develop inclusive business models that involve people in developing countries as employees, distributors, consumers or suppliers.

“IAP will provide a grant covering 50 per cent of total project cost up to € 20,000 ($30,000) to explore an innovation or a new market, or up to € 200,000 to a company to undertake a research and development project aimed at an innovation against poverty – a product, service, system, business model or a concept ready to be put to market test, or adaptation of existing products to be affordable and accessible by the poor,” SIDA said in an April 28 news release.

The agency will also provide technical assistance through a team of specialists led by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Business Innovation Facility, an initiative by the U.K. Department for International Development to promote stronger partnerships between the department and the private sector.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.