We accept applications on a continuous basis, with no deadlines or ’rounds’ of funding. In addition to this open application window, we actively seek out investments. Our review process is highly selective and rigorous, and less than 10% of applicants are invited to submit full proposals.
How we work
Through grants, loans (including convertible debt) and equity investments ranging from $50,000 to $15 million, we back innovations with the potential for social impact at a large scale, whether they are new technologies, business models, policy practices, technologies or behavioural insights.
We support innovators at all stages of their life cycle, from start-up and pilot-testing through to larger scale implementation. The innovations we fund can be located in any developing country and can focus on any sector relevant to international development, provided they improve the lives of those living on less than $5 a day.
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:
- Are focussed on the poor.
- Are novel approaches which are not commonplace.
- Can improve upon alternatives solutions.
- Are backed by evidence of potential impact.
- Can be widely applied in many different settings.
- Have the potential to scale to reach millions of people.
- Are led by strong and dynamic teams.
- Are ready for investment.
- Will generate new knowledge on what works.
- Have a clear role for GIF.
What We Don’t Fund
GIF is open to innovations which meet our criteria in any sector or country. However, there are some activities we do not fund. These include:
- Theoretical research, or purely lab-based activities that are not linked to implementation of a specific proposed real-world pilot or demonstration project.
- Approaches that are only applicable in a single country (unless the innovation is expected to scale to a large proportion of one of the world’s most populous developing countries).
- Innovations that involve supporting a political candidate or party.
- Innovations where the primary purpose is to support the broader innovation ecosystem, such as incubators, accelerators, or other innovation funds.
- Innovations involving any product or activity deemed illegal under applicable laws or regulations or subject to internationally agreed phase-outs or bans as defined in global conventions and agreements (such as dealing with certain hazardous chemicals or ozone depleting substances, and any activity endangering protected wildlife).
- Innovations that involve production or use of luxury goods, soliciting prostitution or engaging in human trafficking, terrorist activity, or use of prohibited drugs, gambling and pornography.
We also abide by robust environmental, social responsibility and corporate governance (ESG) standards, against which we evaluate every potential innovation we fund.
Accepted innovations will be subject to these continuing standards, including adherence to our Code of Conduct and ESG Policy, including safeguarding requirements.
Start your Applications HERE for Global Innovation Fund