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What We Fund

What we Fund

At GIF, we believe that innovation, by which we mean any solution that has potential to address an important development problem more effectively than existing approaches, can come from anyone, anywhere.

This means that we accept applications working in any sector in any developing country.

Any type of organisation may apply. This includes social enterprises, for-profit companies, non-profit organisations, government agencies, international organisations, and research institutions in any country. It is recommended that individual innovators, entrepreneurs, or researchers apply through an affiliated organisation.

An open application window does not mean, however, that all development projects are a good fit for GIF. We seek out innovations we believe have the greatest potential to improve the lives of millions of people living in poverty and only select those innovations which:

1. Are focussed on the poor.

GIF is focussed on finding new ways of improving lives for those living in poverty. We seek innovations which are designed to bring benefits for those who live on the equivalent of $5 a day and we are especially interested in funding innovative solutions that impact those living on less $2 a day or other vulnerable or disadvantaged groups.

2. Are novel approaches which are not commonplace.

As an innovation funder we do not invest in business as usual. Rather, to meet our criteria your innovation must be new approach which differs from solutions which are already widely practiced. This could be a new business model, policy practice, technology, or new ways of delivering products and services that benefit the poor.

3. Can improve upon alternatives solutions.

If you have a new approach which brings benefits to the poor and is not already widely used, the next question is the most important… how does it improve upon existing or competing approaches? We choose the innovations which have the strongest rationale for their approach can be more viable, impactful or cost effective than alternative solutions.

4. Are backed by evidence of potential impact.

We expect that innovations we support are informed by evidence of what works. This evidence might focus on the changes in the lives of your beneficiaries or customers, or ‘how-to’ evidence on how your solution can be deployed or scaled successfully. Note that our expectation of the level of evidence needed increases with the level of funding requested, so be sure to read the guidance on stage of funding.

5. Can be widely applied in many different settings.

We focus on approaches which can be widely used or applied in many developing countries and do not consider innovations which are only viable solutions in one local context. Investing in innovation is all about learning about the potential of new solutions, and we want that learning to benefit others who are facing similar challenges in different settings.

6. Have the potential to scale to reach millions of people.

GIF only funds innovations which have the potential to scale to benefit millions of people. Scaling can take place through any number of ways– growth of a successful business or through uptake by a government partner, for example – and we seek those innovation which have the most credible plans for how scale can be achieved and sustained without relying on ongoing investment from GIF or indefinite philanthropic funding.

7. Are led by strong and dynamic teams.

We look for innovations which are backed by teams which have a deep understanding of the problems they are tackling and the context in which they are working. Applicants should demonstrate the track records and skills needed to leverage the partnerships required to succeed and navigate the challenges which come with scaling innovations.

8. Are ready for investment.

Innovations must be ready to be applied in a real-world setting so that our funding can contribute to your understanding of what works and your progress toward scale, so if your innovation needs more work before putting it to the test then it is recommended you apply at a later date. For commercial enterprises, we look for strong markers of consumer demand or willingness to pay before investing.

9. Will generate new knowledge on what works.

GIF looks for teams which share our passion for evidence and are committed to using our investment to generate new evidence on potential impacts and how to scale effectively, and to sharing learning to showcase successes (and failures) to others facing similar development challenges.

10. Have a clear role for GIF.

GIF seeks to fill market gaps and is especially interested in supporting innovations that may otherwise struggle to find appropriate forms of funding. We aim to make smart investments which can attract more funding to the most promising approaches, so we look for applications which have a clear rationale for why GIF is needed and how partnering with GIF can contribute to the long run vision of success.