Development Innovation Ventures: Seed Funding for Scale from USAID
USAID has just announced a very compelling program for all those who want to see scale in international development. The Development Innovation Ventures Annual Program Statement (a type of RFP) is soliciting proposals in all development sectors - from economic growth to agriculture to anti-corruption activities - that have potential to reach this outcome:
DIV’s goal is to identify and support innovations with a proven, cost-effective impact that can match the scale of microfinance, which has been adopted by at least 75 million end users worldwide. This is an ambitious goal. As with all innovative processes, we expect failures along the way, in addition to success.
The DIV fund is approaching this goal relatively reasonably, by segmenting projects into three stages, each with their own type and level of funding:
- $100,000 in seed funding to support initial research and design, small scale pilots to establish viability, and initial focus groups or stakeholder consultations
- $1 million in start-up and impact assessment financing to launch and rigorously test product benefits for people in developing countries.
- $6 million in transition funding for projects to scale countrywide and beyond
For those that apply before August 15, the DIV APS has a $350,000 budget for Stage 1 projects, which can be funded via grants, cooperative agreements, or collaboration agreements. This should be good enough to get your thoughts going on the next Big Idea, and fund a sabbatical from your day job to work on it.
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