That’s why, at almost every stage of business, entrepreneurs find themselves seeking funding opportunities or asking – How do I finance my startup?
There are different ways of raising capital, depending largely on the nature, type, or stage of business. Savings are a great solution but, in some cases, your savings may not be enough. Your type and/or size of the business may be capital intensive. In this case, you may be forced to seek funding.
Securing business funding is tough. No one is just going to write you a check. You have to earn it. The good news is that the money is out there. The important thing is to identify the right places and ways to access them.
Whether you are running a Fintech, Agritech, or Clean Energy startup, here are 7 innovation challenges that you have probably not heard before and are currently active and are accepting applications in August 2021.
The Green People’s Energy Initiative is looking for concrete solutions to address two specific challenges in the energy access sphere: Increasing Off-Grid System Sustainability and Reducing CO2 Emissions via Energy Access.
As part of the funding opportunities in Africa, the fund is expected impact and likely success of the proposed solutions to overcome either of the two identified challenges will be evaluated by an Assessment Committee. This evaluation will be done on the basis of administrative eligibility and technical suitability. A special focus is placed on sustainability, meaning that benefits pursued in the framework of the project’s timeframe are expected to continue beyond implementation.
A Decision Committee including representatives of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) will then select the strongest proposals presented by the Assessment Committee.
The Challenge Call adds to the already operational Small Projects Fund, which offers financial support to renewable energy projects led by non-profit organizations. It is part of a variety of activities implemented by GBE with the aim of working towards SDG 7.
Send in your applications by August 31st. Click here for more details about the event.
Making it to our list today of the funding opportunities in Africa is the fund Milken-Motsepe Innovation Prize Program is a series of multi-year, multimillion-dollar prize competitions for technological solutions that accelerate progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a spotlight on Africa
The inaugural Milken-Motsepe Prize focuses on accelerating progress towards SDGs 1 and 2: no poverty and zero hunger. The Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech is a global competition for innovative solutions to increase economic value to farmers, from seed to sale.
Registration is free and open to anyone, with a $1 million grand prize available for the winning team, and $1 million in additional prizes.
Currently, the applications for the program are open here
The Fred Morgan Kirby Prize for Scaling Social Impact (F. M. Kirby Impact Prize) is an annual global prize of $100,000 (USD) in unrestricted funds that amplifies and accelerates the work of enterprises working to scale their impact on social or environmental problems around the world.
Named after early entrepreneur, Fred Morgan Kirby, this award is made possible through a generous gift from the F. M. Kirby Foundation.
The F. M. Kirby Impact Prize is open to all impact enterprises, working anywhere in the world.
Apply before August 20th here
Also in our funding opportunities list is the Africa Telecommunication Union Innovation Challenge that comes at a time when the impact of COVID-19 on communities is becoming more and more visible.
Youth are among the most vulnerable to this impact, facing challenges such as socioeconomic and workforce inclusion.
According to the International Labour Organization, “Africa is home to nearly 363 million young people, and this is expected to double by 2050.
The full potential of young Africans remains unrealized as unemployment, working poverty, informal employment and gender inequalities continue to be significant obstacles.”
Among these youths are ICT innovators who have come up with brilliant innovations but lack the needed support to scale up their innovation for the benefit of the continent.
It is for this reason that the competition seeks to create an impactful, sustainable solution through the building of a network of champions to develop a youth resilient ecosystem in Africa.
The winner will receive USD 10,000 and the winning practice will be crowned the 2021 ATU Best Ecosystem Practice in Africa Enabling Youth ICT Innovation.
Organizations that have developed and implemented a practice that has created an enabling environment for youth ICT innovation to thrive are encouraged to participate.
These may include regulatory authorities, entrepreneurial support organizations, incubators, accelerators, or colleges and universities. Submissions are to be made via the ATU website before 31st August.
The GIZ-SAIS Investment Readiness Programme 2022 is looking for African AgriTech and FoodTech startups entering the scaling stage.
Scaling Digital Agriculture Innovations through Startups’ (SAIS) is a project implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The overall goal of the project is to support African startups in scaling their digital innovations; these innovations should enable users in the agriculture or food sectors to increase their income.
Up to 18 startups are selected annually to participate in a nine-month Investment Readiness Programme fully funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The aim of the Investment Readiness Programme is to support more African startups in improving their business models, gaining access to investors and business partners, and achieving greater impact.
Seven output indicators (also called investment readiness criteria or investment readiness output indicators) have been defined to assess and monitor the investment readiness level of selected startups.
Find out more about this project here and if you meet the criteria send in your application before 31st August 2021.
The Ecobank Fintech Challenge identifies and partners Fintechs that are ready to scale and provides them with support and access to opportunities in Ecobank’s 33 African markets. The goal? To contribute to their growth as potential Pan African Fintech success stories.
The Challenge is open to all Fintechs on the African continent. Interested Fintechs can apply by sending details of their product as well as a demo here. These products must address one or more of a specific set of pain points which can be found here.
The selected finalists participate in the Ecobank Fintech Innovation Fair, with the top 3 finalists winning cash prizes. All finalists are inducted into the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship, which affords them the opportunity to explore deals, integration, and commercial partnership with the Ecobank Group.
The applications are now open here until September 20th
Finally, making it to our list of funding opportunities is Blue Climate Initiative (BCI) is welcoming applications from innovators and entrepreneurs for the global US$1 Million Ocean Innovation Prize.
The Prize is designed to inspire, fund, and support innovations that mitigate climate change through ocean-related strategies. The deadline for applications is September 15, 2021.
The Prize is presented by BCI as part of an endorsed program of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and is designed to advance the goals of the Ocean Decade and the Sustainable Development Goals. The Prize is presented in collaboration with the Sustainable Ocean Alliance.
In conclusion, accessing business funding opportunities can be the hardest part of getting your business idea off the ground. However, once you get approved for funding, or find people to invest in your business, it can be a beautiful beginning. Knowing where to source funding can make all the difference in the world. All the best!