There has been an appreciable rise in the number of investment funds over the last couple of years. Interestingly, there has also been a rise in the number of venture funds that support impact investing: investing in start-ups that are both socially and financially rewarding. The Global Innovation Fund (GIF) is one of such funds that give backing to socially-conscious startups.
What is the Global Innovation Fund?
The Global Innovation Fund is a not-for-profit fund headquartered in London. The fund invests in the development, rigorous testing, and scaling of innovations targeted at improving the lives of the world’s poorest people.
Founded in 2014, GIF is one of the world’s largest investment funds with a $200m investment commitment. GIF is backed by the British, American, Swedish, South African and Australian governments, and the Omidyar Network.
GIF’s Investment Approach
GIF’s investment approach is a bit different from other venture funds; it does more than give funding to startups.
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.
GIF targets innovators of all kinds, but specifically targets those in developing countries, provided they improve the lives of those living on less than $5 a day.
How to Apply for GIF Funding
The best part about GIF is that the application for its funds remains open all year long. There are no deadlines, “funding rounds” and innovators from developing countries are particularly encouraged to apply.
Excited to embark on this new initiative with @ideas42 @GlobalInnovFund to bring behavioral design to #cashtransfer programs https://t.co/JsvFk5Yj8F pic.twitter.com/4zsYsFL1vb
— WB Social Protection (@WBG_SPLabor) March 9, 2018
However, GIF does have a high barrier for entries; its review processes are tight and very selective. The fund accepts only less than 10% of its applicants.
Nevertheless, to get a shot at the $200m GIF fund, innovators must take note of the following key points.
First, all innovations must contribute poverty reduction levels and improve the standards of living of people in developing countries.
Second, GIF follows an evidence-based investment practice. Every applicant must state how the impact of their innovations would be measured. This is a key part of the GIF application.
“What we’re seeing is a lot of entrepreneurs who don’t know how to articulate impact, and as impact investors we’re struggling too, so if you’re struggling we’re hesitant.” –Kanini Mutooni, a GIF board member
And third, all GIF innovations must be scalable.
If you’re confident that your innovation passes these three criteria, you can head on to the GIF website to begin your application process.
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