We seek out innovations we believe have the greatest potential to improve the lives of millions of people living in poverty.

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.

Your innovation must:

1. Be focussed on the poor

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

2. Be a new approach

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. 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?" Your innovation must have a strong rationale for its approach and be more viable, impactful or cost effective than alternative solutions.

4. Be backed by evidence of potential impact

Your innovation must be 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, for more information, read about our funding stages here.

5. Be able to be applied widely

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

WE only fund 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. Be 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 a solid track-record of leadership and skills needed to leverage the partnerships required to succeed and navigate the challenges which come with scaling innovations.

8. Be ready for investment

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

9. Generate new knowledge about what works

We look for teams which share our passion for evidence. You must be 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.

11. Be sensitive to gender impacts

You are expected to assess how individuals of all genders access, experience or benefit from your innovation, and to ensure that your innovation is designed to mitigate identified gender risks and maximise opportunities to achieve gender equality outcomes. Learn more about our approach to innovating for gender equality here. 

12. Be cognisant of climate risk and opportunities

You should consider the potential of your innovation to contribute to climate adaptation and resilience for those living in poverty, as well as assess the climate risks to your innovation (the extent to which success is exposed to climate risk) as well as the climate risks arising from your innovation (how the innovation may contribute to adverse climate outcomes).