If you’re an impact entrepreneur, this scenario might sound familiar to you. You’ve seen some problems that occurred in your area. You’ve defined your problem. You’ve chosen a specific problem that you wanted to solve. You’ve collected data from the people with that problem – and now you’re developing a solution that you think might help to solve the problem.
You’ve created the prototype. You’ve tested and validated your solution to your targeted user. You’ve counted the numbers – and you realized, that you need a lot of capital to actually develop a real working solution that can create the impact you wanted.
On to another scenario. You’ve built the solution. You’ve built an impact business around your solution. Now you’re looking to scale up your enterprise in order to generate impact to more beneficiaries. So you’re looking for funding that can help you replicate your impact.
Either you’re the aspiring innovator on the first scenario, or the impact entrepreneur on the second scenario – this program from USAID might be what you need.
Development Innovation Venture (DIV) is open year-round, reviews applications on a rolling basis, and funds innovations in any sector and in any country where USAID operates – including Indonesia! In fact – this year DIV seeks to improve its outreach in Indonesia and make a special visit to Jakarta, where Kinara Indonesia & DIV co-hosted an information sharing session for the selected enterprises.
The participants get to have a discussion with DIV’s representative, Michael Cretz – the Portfolio Manager, and Sam Bishop, the relationship manager. They both gave a comprehensive and informative session on what DIV provides, DIV Application process, success stories from their portfolios, and later had a Q&A and networking session with the participants.
The grant provided by DIV is ranging from $200,000 to $5,000,000. Quoted from their website:
We provide flexible, tiered grant funding to test new ideas, take strategic risks, build evidence of what works, and advance the best solutions. We look for solutions that demonstrate rigorous evidence of impact, cost-effectiveness, and a viable pathway to scale and sustainability.https://www.usaid.gov/div
Interested in applying? Here are some highlighted tips that Michael & Sam shared on the session:
- Check whether DIV is the right program for you, you can even take their brief questionnaire here.
- Read all the supporting documents, including the FAQ & the Annual Program Statement. From the time that you apply on https://www.usaid.gov/div/apply, the process can take up to 3 months until you first hear news from DIV representative. The application is open year-round, so they suggest to take some time first to understand DIV and what they seek in an innovator – so you don’t have to wait another 3 months just to hear whether you’re accepted or not.
- Present a clear theory of change – what outcomes will your solution achieve? How your solution will achieve them? Articulate the assumptions that underpin this connection. The strongest applications convey an understanding of which assumptions have been proven and propose sound tests of those that are unproven.
- Be specific and detailed about the problem and your solution. The understanding of the potential impact on the specific setting of the proposed activities is preferred in addition to the understanding of the broad problem.
- How much it costs to deliver your solution? Cost-effectiveness means understanding costs – all costs, from production to implementation. If you don’t know how much it cost yet, estimate and be clear about the assumptions that inform your estimate.
- Provide a thoughtful review of the competitive landscape – how is your solution more impactful and cost-effective than other existing interventions? DIV looks for an honest assessment of what makes your solution better than the alternatives. Even if the product, service, or approach sounds very different from your solution, if they can achieve the impact outcome that you targeted as well – consider them a competitor.
- Tell them the long-term plan for your solution – they expect a viable pathway to scale and sustainability (through the private and/or public sectors). The strongest applications laid out a roadmap that includes not only how the solution will be sustainably funded without DIV in the long-term, but how the organization and its operations will grow and evolve to sustain the solution at scale.
Ready to apply? Start your journey here!