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Frequently asked questions

FAQ on GIF's approach

  1. What does GIF offer to innovators?
  2. What types and amounts of funding does GIF offer?
  3. How does GIF define “innovations” – does this simply mean new technologies?
  4. How does GIF define “poor and vulnerable” target groups?
  5. What is GIF’s Staged Financing Model?
  6. What gaps does GIF aim to address?
  7. How does GIF work with the innovators it funds?
  8. How are GIF’s innovators expected to scale up their approaches to reach widespread adoption?
  9. Does GIF only fund innovations expected to reach millions of people or multiple countries?
  10. Why does GIF emphasize rigorous testing and evidence of impact?
  11. What types of strategies does GIF encourage for evaluating social impacts?


FAQ on the Application Process

  1. Who can apply for funding from GIF?
  2. How do I submit an application?
  3. Is there an application deadline?
  4. How much money should my team request?
  5. Should my team apply for a grant, loan, or equity?
  6. What stage of financing should my team apply for?
  7. Should my team apply with partner organisations?
  8. For how long a time period will GIF provide funding?
  9. How important are videos when submitting an Initial Application?
  10. After submitting an application, when will my team get a response?
  11. What is GIF's policy on feedback?
  12. Can my team submit more than one application?
  13. How can I contact GIF with other questions?

 

 

FAQ on GIF’s Approach

What does GIF offer to innovators?

GIF offers:

  • Flexible range of financing options. GIF offers grants, loans (including convertible debt), and equity investments ranging from $50,000 to $15 million USD.
  • Access to our global network. Our innovators gain access to GIF’s growing network of innovators, experts, and funders around the world.  
  • Venture and technical assistance. GIF can help to connect innovators with assistance based on their needs.
  • Bridge to follow-on funding. GIF helps to connect our innovators to other donors and investors. 

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What types and amounts of funding does GIF offer?

GIF offers grants, loans (including convertible debt), and equity investments ranging from USD $50,000 to $15 million. Applicants should propose the level and type of funding that is appropriate for their innovation, based on the stage of development. 

For-profit institutions requesting grants must give a compelling reason for why they are requesting a grant rather than a loan or equity. For example, grant support might be requested in cases where an innovator seeks to create a new market, run a demonstration project, or conduct an evaluation that is expected to benefit the sector as a whole. Other potential reasons to justify grant requests will also be considered.

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How does GIF define “innovations” – does this simply mean new technologies?

We define "innovation" broadly – any solution that has potential to improve the lives of the poor in developing countries more effectively than existing approaches. We support innovations that include new business models, operational or production processes, policy practices, behavioural insights, or ways of delivering products and services that benefit the poor.

We do not expect all or even most of our innovators to use new technologies or scientific breakthroughs. Indeed, some of the best examples of development innovations that have scaled globally are decidedly low-tech, such as oral rehydration salts and conditional cash transfers.

GIF is interested in innovations that enable greater social impacts to be achieved compared to current practices. This could mean reaching more people per dollar spent, for example. We support innovations that are expected to lead to large, transformative improvements to development outcomes rather than incremental changes.

The types of innovations GIF supports could include developing new products or services that benefit poor and vulnerable communities, for instance. Innovations could also include developing new ways of delivering or adapting already-existing products and services so that they are more effective in reaching the poor, such as through innovative marketing or distribution strategies. 

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How does GIF define “poor and vulnerable” target groups?

GIF supports innovations that benefit people living on less than the equivalent of $5 per day (PPP) in developing countries, and we are especially interested in innovations that impact people living on less than $2 per day (PPP). We are also seeking innovations that benefit vulnerable groups such as women and girls, the disabled, minority or indigenous groups, refugees or displaced communities, or other vulnerable populations. 

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What is GIF’s Staged Financing Model?

Inspired by venture capital approaches, GIF uses a staged financing model and offers three stages of funding: Pilot, Test & Transition, and Scaling Up. A stage is defined by how far an innovation is in its development and by the level of evidence that exists in support of its potential for success. More information on GIF’s Stages of Financing including funding caps is available here.

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What gaps does GIF aim to address?

GIF aims to fill several gaps in the ecosystem of innovations for global development:

  • The pioneer gap where new approaches to serve the poor are often considered too risky for commercial or donor investments. GIF supports early-stage innovators in pilot-testing and refining their innovations to deliver impact.
  • The evidence gaps that exist about the social impacts and commercial viability of innovations in the global development space – what works best and why.
  • The scaling up of innovations that have demonstrated success. This helps to bridge the gap between initial small-scale pilots and widespread use of proven, impactful innovations. 

GIF helps innovators position themselves to attract long-term sustainable funding from other sources. For solutions that that will scale through the public or philanthropic sectors, this means developing the implementation systems necessary to deliver at scale and attracting long-term support from developing country governments, donors, or philanthropists. For innovations that will scale commercially, this means lower costs and reaching greater economies of scale, to de-risk ventures in order to attract follow-on investment from others. 

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How does GIF work with the innovators it funds?

GIF develops an ongoing relationship with each of its innovators. As part of each funding agreement, we expect that our innovators will be open with us in sharing updates on their progress including both successes and challenges faced.

In addition to providing funding, we are open to providing other types of non-monetary support based on requests from our innovators, including connecting with other innovators, experts and funders in our global network.

Our innovators may also be invited to participate in GIF’s network in other ways such as through attending conferences, reviewing applications from prospective innovators, or exchanging knowledge and advice with other GIF innovators.

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How are GIF’s innovators expected to scale up their approaches to reach widespread adoption?

The most successful innovations that GIF supports are expected to eventually scale up to reach millions of people in the developing world. We support innovations with a range of potential pathways toward expansion including solutions that can scale up commercially, through the public/philanthropic sector, or through a combination of both. Read more here.

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Does GIF only fund innovations expected to reach millions of people or multiple countries?

GIF expects that the most successful innovations it supports will eventually scale up to reach millions of people. However, we recognise that not all innovations will succeed in reaching such a large scale. We look for innovative solutions with strong potential to reach a very large scale in the future even if it may take time and resources to transition the solution to scale.

In assessing applications, GIF considers the number of beneficiaries or clients impacted as well as the depth of impact. We are willing to consider supporting innovations that reach fewer people but have very significant, transformative impacts on peoples’ lives. GIF will also give special consideration to applications that target vulnerable groups, such as the extreme poor, women and girls, the disabled, minority or indigenous groups, refugees or displaced communities even though some of these groups may have smaller-sized populations.

We are especially interested in innovations with potential to eventually be used in multiple developing countries, while recognizing that many development solutions need to be tailored to specific geographical or country contexts.

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Why does GIF emphasize rigorous testing and evidence of impact?

GIF believes in openly asking questions and testing different approaches to reach the best solution. We recognise that achieving sustainable improvements in development outcomes such as health or education goals often entails difficult and complex challenges. Often there is no single strategy that is clearly the best from the outset – there may be many different approaches worthy of consideration or pilot-testing. Rigorously testing for impact helps make it clear what innovations are most effective and why.

We encourage our innovators to continually explore ways to test and adapt their models in order to achieve better results – such as greater social impacts per dollar – and to collect data that can provide feedback loops and reliably inform these decisions. Our innovators recognise that solid evidence of impacts helps to unlock increased public and private investment necessary for scaling up and replicating proven solutions.

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What types of strategies does GIF encourage for evaluating social impacts?

GIF’s model emphasizes testing different approaches and evaluating impacts to identify what works. We focus our largest investments on scaling up solutions that have demonstrated clear evidence of social impact and good value for funds invested. We encourage our innovators to track the extent to which the innovation is reaching specific target groups such as poor or vulnerable populations.

GIF may work with the most promising innovators or help connect innovators with evaluation partners to develop an evaluation strategy that is appropriate for their goals.

Some of our innovators may be in early-stage testing or developing new ways of delivering or expanding products or services that are already known to have clear development benefits, such as spreading immunizations. In these cases, it may be useful for innovators to keep track of simple metrics such as the number of people reached by their products or services.

In other cases, particularly for later stage projects that are preparing for scale-up, impact evaluations will be a useful strategy for testing social impacts. GIF especially values impact evaluations for innovations that will require significant public resources to transition to scale, or for commercial solutions where there is not a clear logical link between sales and social impact. Impact evaluations, which may include randomized control trials or quasi-experimental methods, measure the degree to which an intervention (meaning a specific innovation, project, method, or business model) achieves its targeted outcomes. These evaluations establish a cause-and-effect relationship between the intervention and its impact. Impact evaluations should be designed with sufficient sample sizes and statistical power to ensure credible results.

GIF recognises that impact evaluations may not be feasible or appropriate for all innovators.

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FAQ on the Application Process

 

Who can apply for funding from GIF?

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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How do I submit an application?

All applicants must begin the application process by submitting an Initial Application through GIF’s online Application Portal. 

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Is there an application deadline?

No, there is no deadline to apply. Applicants are encouraged to apply at any time, and GIF will accept and review applications on an ongoing rolling basis. 

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How much money should my team request?

GIF offers funding ranging from $50,000 to $15 million USD. Applicants should request the amount of funding they need to advance their innovation. This typically depends on the innovation's level of development. Applicants should be aware that requests for larger amounts of funding will be expected to meet higher standards in line with our guidelines on what we look for from applicants.

GIF does not require applicants to submit a budget at the Initial Application stage however this will be required at later stages of the application process.

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Should my team apply for a grant, loan, or equity?

GIF offers grants, loans (including convertible debt), and equity investments. Click to read about GIF's types of financing and conditions that apply. Applicants should request the type of financing that is appropriate, please use your best judgment and this can be discussed more later on in the application process.

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What stage of financing should my team apply for?

Please read the description of GIF’s stages of financing and apply for whichever stage is most appropriate for your innovation. You may apply for any stage, even if you have never received GIF funding in the past. If you are unsure about which stage is appropriate, use your best judgment and this can be discussed more later on in the application process.

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Should my team apply with partner organisations? 

Teams may apply with partners from other organisations if this is helpful to bring in the skill sets and resources necessary to help your innovation succeed. Many organisations, especially those at later stages of development and scaling up, find it useful to form coalitions with partners. In such cases, applicants can list multiple partners on their applications, but there should be a clearly designated main applicant with overall responsibility for the project or innovation. This person will be responsible for managing funds from GIF if the application is successful.

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For how long a time period will GIF provide funding?

As part of the application process, applicants are asked to propose a timeline according to their needs. GIF does not currently have specific guidelines about the length of time required for the projects that we fund; applicants can propose any project length up to ten years (120 months) on the Initial Application.

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How important are videos when submitting an Initial Application?

Videos are optional. We do not expect innovators to create new video content for their application, however if you already have a video, please feel free to share it.

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After submitting an application, when will my team get a response?

GIF will send applicants an auto-response when their Initial Application is received. GIF aims to respond to most Initial Applications within 8-12 weeks to inform applicants whether or not they have passed the initial review phase. If invited to submit a Full Application, applicants will then have 4-6 weeks to do so after being notified.

Due to overwhelming number of applications received, GIF is not able to respond to questions about the status of applications.

GIF's application process involves multiple stages. The total time required for a successful application to go from the Initial Application process all the way through to the final stage of a funding agreement can vary considerably for each applicant depending on a number of factors. We currently expect the average time for the whole process will be approximately 6-9 months. We hope to improve our processing speeds in the future as GIF's capacity grows.

GIF may request additional information from the applicant at any point during the selection process. 

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What is GIF's policy on feedback?

Unfortunately due to the number of applications we receive, the GIF Team is unable to provide tailored feedback to every applicant at the initial application stage. We receive hundreds of applications every month, and our small team is unable to engage with each and every applicant.

We do understanf the value of feedback for improving your application. To that end, we have written a Blog reflecting on our first 2,000 reviewed applications and trends as to why they fail.

Applicants who pass the initial review stage will have the opportunity to engage with the team and gain more detailed feedback.

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Can my team submit more than one application?

Applicants can only submit one Initial Application for each project or idea. An organisation may submit more than one application at a time if each application is for a different project or innovation.

Applicants who have already received funding from GIF can re-apply for more funding in the future.

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How can I contact GIF with other questions?

We encourage applicants to carefully read about our Application Process and our Application Guidelines along with this FAQ which include answers to most questions from applicants. Applicants are welcome to contact us with any questions not addressed in these documents.

Unfortunately due to the overwhelming number of requests received, at this time we are generally not able to discuss specific proposals with potential applicants before the submission of an Initial Application. Applicants who pass our initial review stage will be subsequently invited to submit a full application and at that point will have more opportunities to provide further details and engage with the team. 

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