Every investment we make is designed to support innovations on their path to scale. However, we recognise that some of the promising innovations that will change the development landscape are currently only in their infancy. GIF, therefore, supports innovators from early-stage field pilots right through to large-scale implementation. 

The goal is not to fund small organisations that stay small, and medium-sized interventions that stay medium-sized. It is to support organisations to scale up to reach millions of people. To do this we use a staged funding approach allowing us to manage risk sensibly. We take smaller bets on riskier, unproven innovations at the pilot stage and invest larger amounts in innovations demonstrating strong evidence of success through rigorous impact evaluations.

Please select ‘Pilot’, ‘Test and transition’ or ‘Scale’ to view the criteria for each stage.

Stage of developmentPilot innovations are at an early stage but you have a credible plan for how it can be developed and tested in a real-world setting.
EvidenceWe value any relevant evidence or research findings that demonstrate why the innovation is needed, such as evidence of customer demand or interest in the innovation. We do not expect that strong evidence already exists to prove the value of the innovation, but we do need a clear rationale for why the innovation could have a greater impact or be more cost effective than existing approaches.
Potential to scaleThe innovation has the potential to be politically and logistically feasible at scale, or has the potential to scale commercially as evidenced by customers willingness to pay. At pilot stage there may be one or more potential pathways for scaling the innovation.
Use of fundsInvestment at the pilot stage is focussed on testing core assumptions around operational, social, and financial viability. This could include initial research and development, introducing an innovation to target customers, assessing user demand and willingness to pay, and documenting social outcomes and costs of spreading the innovation.
Stage of developmentFor test and transition investment your innovation has already shown promise of success at a small scale, and you have some information on your operational, social, and financial viability which you want to solidify before you scale.
EvidenceYou have a clear rationale for why the innovation could have a greater impact at scale than other approaches. For innovations with a commercial pathway to scale, this will include measures of customer demand and willingness to pay. For public sector or hybrid pathways to scale we expect prior evidence from pilot level implementation (this need not have been previously funded by GIF).
Potential to scaleThe innovation has the potential to be politically and logistically feasible at scale, with demonstrable interest from public sector scaling partners or a credible plan to raise capital for commercial innovations.
Use of fundsInvestment at the test and transition stage is intended for innovators that require support for continued growth or for generating rigorous evidence on whether the innovation can achieve social impact.
Stage of developmentFor scale investment your innovation should have a clear evidence base and a credible plan for scaling to reach millions of people which is logistically, politically and financially feasible.
EvidenceYour innovation already has evidence of impact, cost-effectiveness, and implementation feasibility or market viability in at least one context.
Potential to scaleThere are credible plans to advance the innovation towards scale including how it can be sustainably financed. This includes a vision of how the innovation can achieve further scale with a view to reaching millions of people in the long term if successful.
Use of fundsActivities at the scale stage are likely to include working with partners who will help scale the innovation beyond our support (e.g., investors, existing large commercial firms, developing country governments). Investment may also be used for adapting and expanding innovations to different contexts or assessing ways to drive cost-effectiveness while scaling.