In the first round of grants from the Swedish Innovations Against Poverty programme twelve organisations have been granted funds up to 20,000 euros. These companies are innovating within the fields of energy, agriculture, water, sanitation and financial services.
Since April this year, Sida (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) is operating the Innovations Against Poverty initiative which will provide financial funding and assistance to allow people in developing countries to lift themselves out of poverty by help of businesses that take advantage of new ideas and include local people. Small and large grants up to 200,000 euros are available and the first application process that recently closed saw 157 companies originating from 25 different countries applying. Twelve companies from Africa, Europe and the US were awarded small grants and another 14 have been shortlisted to continue the application process for the large grants. The top sectors targeted by the selected companies are agriculture, energy, healthcare, consulting and financial services. Projects include for example new types of battery rechargers, municipal sanitation, high nutrition food production, safe drinking water and farm business advisory.
“We are delighted that we have received so many high quality applications that have strong potential to deliver benefits for the poorest with sustainable business models,” says Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Director General of Sida.
“The spread of applicants’ origin also shows that this type of programme is relevant and will be a valuable contribution in the joint, global efforts with other actors towards the Millennium Development Goals.”
The grants of up to 200,000 euro per year are available to cover up to 50 per cent of the cost for new projects and products, and companies can also apply for advice on how they can transform their business models to include the poorest. Sida cooperates with a group of specialists led by PwC and the British initiative Business Innovation Facility to offer external expertise, networks and a platform to share experiences of doing good business in poor countries.
The companies that have been awarded grants up to 20,000 euros are:
Name of Company
Name of initiative
Country of HQ
Country of operations
Preventive weather forecasting for farmers
Vagga till Vagga
Replacing firewood and charcoal for cooking with waste biomass pellets
Tanzania and Zambia
Climate and Development compatible alternative sources of energy for local communities
A micro business concept for production and distribution of affordable safe bottled water in remote rural areas
Scaling up “More crop per drop” to benefit more small scale farmers
Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka
Using waste heat emitted during cooking to generate electricity
Burkina Faso, Burundi, India
Combined heat/power stove
Imagine Rural Development Initiative
Rural development initiative
The green plant
Pre-study to provide mobile phone charging and light through solar energy to a rural population
Farm business advisors – delivering private sector extension services at scale
See My Tree
Suppliers in multiple Southern countries