Funding & Investment – February 2016


The Innovation into Action Challenge, Deadline February 29, 2016 

Innovation into Action Challenge by Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) is designed to help support ideas, products, and services that will help people in developing nations tackle their most pressing social and economic development problems. All submissions are welcome across the spectrum of needs and sectors in emerging economies: food security, water, natural resources, energy, supply chains, and so on. The competition is open to for-profit and not-for-profit businesses (social enterprises) with fewer than 10 employees; a product or service that is beyond the idea stage and has generated at least one transaction; a business model that is scalable, and that have less than $3 million in revenue in the past calendar year. The prize pool is worth $100,000. For further details, see here.



Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme, March 1, 2016

Budding entrepreneurs across Africa can now apply to join the second annual Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) for start-up businesses based in Africa. To apply, entrepreneurs must complete the online application form on the web portal here. Successful applicants who complete the program will receive the local currency equivalent of Naira 850,000 (about USD 4,300) as non-returnable seed capital, and are eligible for a further Naira 850,000 (about USD 4,300) in the form of either debt or equity, depending on business need and other criteria. For more information about the program, visit here.   


Better Ventures “Pre-Seed” Investment Applications Open, Deadline March 15, 2016

Better Ventures is accepting applications for their next round of pre-seed investment. Startups can apply here. Pre-seed companies receive $100k in funding, are invited to participate in monthly PreSeed Founder Summits, and gain access to a range of benefits provided to their portfolio companies. They also become candidates for larger follow-on investments of $250k – $400k+ at the seed stage and beyond (for more details see here). To qualify for a pre-seed investment, startups should have at least two co-founders (one technical) and a demonstrable minimum viable product that is generating encouraging customer/user feedback in the marketplace. Startups should be working on an information technology product that solves a pressing problem in society within one or more of the following investment themes: narrowing the opportunity gap, improving health outcomes, and accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy. While Better Ventures welcomes applicants from anywhere, they prioritize startups based in Oakland and Berkeley, California, USA, given the high level of engagement they provide and due to their commitment to the East Bay startup ecosystem. Applications for pre-seed (and seed) funding are accepted on a rolling quarterly basis.

Call for Applications for the 2016 Switch Africa Green-SEED Awards, SEED Africa Awards and SEED Gender Equality Awards, Deadline March 21, 2016

The SEED Awards for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development is an annual awards scheme designed to find the most promising, innovative and locally-led start-up social and environmental enterprises in countries with developing and emerging economies. The independent SEED International Jury of experts selects enterprises which have the potential to make real improvements in poverty eradication and environmental sustainability while contributing to a greener economy. The SEED Catalyzer offers each SEED Award Winner a customized support package consisting of tools, capacity building, profiling, network building, and financing, all tailored to their individual needs. Organizations meeting SEED’s eligibility criteria can apply for one of the 20 SEED Awards that are available this year here.


ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women, Deadline April 1, 2016

Apply for the second annual ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women, awarded by USAID and the U.S. Mission to ASEAN, in partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and UL. The Prize seeks to identify and recognize ASEAN-based, early to mid-career woman scientists below 40 year of age whose research focuses on sustainable energy. Up to ten finalists will be identified and promoted, and one winner will receive US $25,000 as well as separate provisions to attend an award ceremony at an ASEAN ministerial meeting in October 2016.

Eligibility criteria include:
– Female citizens and residents of an ASEAN member state
– Ph.D. degree graduates
– Scientists under 40 years of age at the start of the open application period
– Applicants whose research focuses on sustainable energy

The Prize aims to:

– Recognize and support promising, early-career women scientists pursuing scientific careers in the ASEAN region
– Encourage intra-ASEAN and ASEAN-U.S. collaboration around sustainable energy research
– Inspire young women in the ASEAN region to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics related careers.

For more information and a list of eligibility requirements, please click here.

2nd “Solar for All” Contest Now Open for Applications, Deadline May 1, 2016

The 2nd “Solar for All” Contest for Innovative Community Solar Electrification Solutions 2016, organized by the Canopus Foundation and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, is now accepting applications. Proposals for PV solar electrification solutions to provide a scalable number of low-income communities with power are invited for submission. The most innovative and promising solutions will be selected for the award. Two prizes will be awarded to the best applications drawn from the short list selected by the jury. The first prize is a 400,000 Euro loan for 8 years at 6 percent interest without any collateral requirement. The runner-up will receive a special prize of 10,000 Euros from the Siemens Stiftung as well as an offer of membership in their international “Empowering People Network” support program that promotes technological and entrepreneurial approaches for sustainable development.

Developers, system integrators, owners or operators of existing or planned solar electrification solutions for communities, particularly in rural areas of developing and emerging regions, are especially encouraged to apply. Applications are welcome from all countries. More information on eligible concepts and instructions on the applications can be found here.

Short Video Contest 2016: “Showcasing Community Solar Electrification Solutions”, Deadline May 1, 2016

The Canopus Foundation is now also accepting applications for the “Showcasing Community Solar Electrification Solutions” Short Video Contest 2016 (formerly “Showcasing Village Grids” Contest) alongside the second “Solar for All” Contest. One outstanding short video on the topic of community solar electrification will be chosen to win a 2,000 Euro prize and be showcased to the expert jury and other participants at the second “Solar for All” awards ceremony to be held at Intersolar India 2016 in Mumbai later this year. Anyone wishing to share their ideas, stories and/or experiences on community solar electrification is invited to participate. The submission deadline for short videos is May 1, 2016. Participation in the 2nd “Solar for All” Contest does not require participation in the video contest and vice versa. More information on the video contest, including instructions on how to apply can be found here.