World Bank Searches for Innovative Start-up Projects

Innovative projects on agriculture, climate change, corruption and nutrition can receive as much as $200,000 in funding from World Bank competitions with target dates for applications in the next six weeks.

The Development Marketplace is a competitive grant program that supports promising and inventive projects with potential to have significant development impact. These grants, which have amounted to more than $54 million, enable projects to expand or be replicated.

South Asia – which has the highest rates of malnutrition and biggest number of undernourished children in the world – seeks new ideas that will deliver improved nutrition to infants, young children and pregnant women by April 14. Winning proposals will receive as much as $40,000 in funding. In addition, short-listed candidates will be invited to the South Asia Regional Marketplace in Dhaka, Bangladesh on August 4-6.

Central Asia needs projects on efficient use and management of water by farmers by April 24. Projects should address rain-fed agriculture, irrigated agriculture and river basin management in one or more countries in the subregion, namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Up to $25,000 can be awarded to winning proposals.

The Global Environment Facility will award as much as $200,000 in funding to innovative proposals from any part of the world tackling climate adaptation. More specifically, proposals should focus on climate risk management with multiple benefits, resilience of indigenous communities to climate risks, or climate adaptation and disaster risk management. Applications have to be in by May 18.

To qualify for these competitions, proposals should exhibit innovation, growth potential, measurable results, the applicant's capacity for implementation, and sustainability.

Meanwhile, the World Bank Institute and partners have two competitions linked to its program of fighting corruption through collective action: The first is for practitioners from public, private and civil sectors while the other is for students and young professionals. Deadline for applications is on April 30.

Prizes will cover participation and travel expenses to the Executive Development Program called "Fighting Corruption through Collective Action in Today's Competitive Marketplace" to be held at the bank's headquarters in Washington, D.C., in June.

Innovation distinguishes the Development Marketplace competitions from other grant programs but what does it mean exactly?

For the World Bank, innovative proposals "should incorporate new methods that go beyond standard projects" by offering novel products or services, production processes, or delivery mechanisms.

So if you have original ideas with strong development impact – from using soil conditioners to increase soil rainfall retention to creating a platform for an online database of water use information – pit them against the best in the marketplace.

About the author

  • Josefa Cagoco

    Sef Cagoco served as one of Devex's international development correspondent from mid-2008 to mid-2009. Her writing focused on social entrepreneurship and multilateral agencies such as the U.N. and Asian Development Bank. She previously worked as senior reporter for the national daily BusinessWorld and a production journalist for the Financial Times.