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Innovation Fund 3rd Call for Projects April 8-June 30, 2024

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Stichting Wageningen Research (SWR) Ethiopia is an international NGO registered in Ethiopia since March 2021 with the FDRE Agency for Civil Society Organizations. The organization is established with the objectives of promoting a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable food systems in Ethiopia. SWR Ethiopia currently implements four projects; Resilient Agriculture for Inclusive and Sustainable Ethiopian Food Systems (RAISE-FS), Ethiopia-Netherlands Seed Partnership (ENSP), REFOOTURE and OTIPAVA projects. Resilient Agriculture for Inclusive and Sustainable Food Systems is a project designed with the goal of creating evidence for practices that contribute to transformation of the food system by addressing leverage points in relation to productivity, enhanced value chain performance and improved human nutrition for improved food security while minimizing the impact on the environment and ensuring social inclusion. Among its interventions is, a component on promoting private sector driven innovation via a grant scheme called the “Innovation Fund” that offers funding.

                What is the Innovation Fund?          The creation of value is a defining characteristic of innovation. Producing the same product or offering the same service in another region in Ethiopia can be considered as innovation only if they can create measurable impact by contributing to food and nutritional security, reduce post-harvest loss, drive faster dissemination of proven sustainable agricultural production practices and innovative input supply system, create positive effect on women and youth empowerment, economic participation, and capacity development, tangibly support smallholder farmers and enhance export and import substitution. Bringing in an existing technology/product/service/practice to Ethiopia from another country is also an innovation (this would bring in some points during the evaluation) while offering a completely new product/service in Africa / world is an innovation (this would bring in the most points during the evaluation of the proposals). The objective of the Innovation Fund is to promote innovations in all agricultural subsectors/commodities (except dairy) in Ethiopia. The Innovation Fund will focus on innovations at all segments of the value chain (production, processing, and marketing). The Innovation Fund is managed by the Resilient Agriculture for Inclusive and Sustainable Ethiopian Food Systems (RAISE-FS). RAISE-FS is implemented by Stitching Wageningen Research Ethiopia and funded by the Dutch Government.
How is the Third Round of Call differing from the preceding two CallsAll Agricultural Subsector/commodities (except dairy) are eligible for the fund in this round of call while selected few subsectors/commodities were considered in the previous two Calls. The dairy subsector is not eligible for the RAISE-FS innovation fund because there is another Dutch NGO which is fully committed to dairy developmentRelaxed requirements for project innovativeness: Projects that create measurable positive effect on food and nutrition security, post-harvest loss, export, import substitution, women and youth economic empowerment and smallholder farmers support can be considered for financing in this round of Call while only projects that offer new or improved products, services, technology, business models and/or service delivery models to Ethiopia were considered in the previous Calls.
What has the Innovation Fund to offer?The maximum amount of grant for Type A project is €50,000 per project while for Type B project it is €25,000 (please refer to section 2 of the Fund Manual for type of project/range of grants). Fund disbursement will be carried out by means of flexible payment plan, based on decision by the Approval Committee and cash flow needs of the project. Actively link applicant companies to other organizations (buyers, cooperatives, NGOs, research institutions, etc.)Inform applicant companies about latest technologies and developments via business platforms, personal meetings and Innovation Opportunity Reports
What conditions do Innovation Fund projects have to fulfil?The project can take place in the various agricultural subsectors/commodities (except dairy) by focusing on, at least, one of the following domains: export enhancement, import substitution, food system improvement, climate resilience, smallholder farmers support and/or youth and women economic empowerment. Please refer to the fund manual for projects that are worthy of better acceptance.Projects should be implemented within one year.
Who can submit projects to the Innovation Fund?The applicant should be a registered company that is able to present a valid Ethiopian business license. Partnerships of multiple companies, NGOs, research institutions, etc. are allowed to submit an application, as long as this partnership consists of at least one registered and licensed business entity. In this case, (one of) the registered and licensed entity will be the applicant for the grant, and will be end-responsible for project implementation. Foreign companies without Ethiopian business license are only allowed to apply in partnership with a company that possesses an Ethiopian business license, which will be applicant and end-responsible for project implementation.Applicants can’t receive grant funding for more than one project at a time.Partner companies, NGOs, research institutions, etc. can be involved in more than one project at a time.Applicants who had applied for previous Calls by RAISE-FS Innovation Fund can reapply by rectifying the causes of rejection of their concept note/proposal. The reasons for rejection were pointed out in the rejection email by RAISE-FS.
How much co-financing is expected from applicant companies or partnerships?Applicants are required to make cash and in-kind contributions towards the project. For Type A project this contribution is equal to or larger than the grant amount (50% of the project cost). For Type B project, applicant’s total contribution is equal to or more than 50% of the grant amount (25% of the total project cost). For Type A project, a minimum of 20% of own contribution should be in cash while for Type B project applicant’s contribution can be fully in cash or in kind or in both cash and kind. In-kind contributions should be directly associated with project requirements, such as agricultural inputs, machinery and tools, as well as (part of) salaries of staff that are involved in project implementation. The own contribution must come from other sources than grants, especially not from grant programmes of the Dutch Embassy or the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
How does the Innovation Fund work?The Innovation Fund application process is structured around Call for Projects. Underlying document is the third Call for Projects. Each Call for projects employs a two-stage submission process:During the first stage a concept note will be submitted, including business license. Overall eligibility of the concept note will be checked against the minimum criteria as laid out in underlying Call for Projects and the Fund Manual. Applicants that fulfil the minimum criteria will enter the second stage, and will be invited to submit a full proposal. Each proposal is evaluated on the basis of the minimum criteria and five Selection Criteria as laid out in underlying Call for Projects and the Fund Manual. Technical and financial capacity of the applicant to implement the project might be assessed via a company visit during first stage and second stage assessment.
What are the deadlines for underlying Call for Projects?Concept notes can be submitted to RAISE-FS until June 30, 2024. Concept notes will be evaluated at the end of every month in which they have reached RAISE-FS and applicants will be contacted to submit project proposals if their concept notes are accepted by the Evaluation Committee. Selection process will be conducted on first -come, first -serve basis: Applications will be dealt with strictly in the order in which they arrive at RAISE-FS
What are the Selection Criteria for assessing full proposals?Technical approach (20 pts): This is the degree to which the proposed project offers innovations to Ethiopia, is feasible for implementation in the Ethiopian context, is demand-driven, and provides input for easy and cost-effective replication at other locations.Economic viability (20 pts): A cost-benefit analysis indicating a roadmap towards profitability in the short to medium term (1-3 years). Implementation Capacity (20 pts): The extent to which the applicant and possible partners are capable of undertaking and accomplishing the project.Value-for-money and additionality (20 pts): The relationship between the requested grant and significance/quality of project outcomes, including justification for the need of using public funds to co-finance the projectImpact (20 pts): The criterion assesses to what extent the proposed project is likely to have positive and sustainable impact on export, import substitution, food system improvement, direct and indirect employment opportunity, support to smallholder farmers, women and youth economic empowerment and climate adaptation. Please refer to the fund manual for detailed selection criteria
How can you submit a concept note for underlying Call for Projects?Please submit signed concept notes, including copy of business license (front & back pages), to innovationfund2022@gmail.com with Cc to helen.getaw.swr@gmail.com and  info.SWREthiopia@gmail.com Concept notes that are received after June 30, 2024, will not be taken into consideration for underlying Call for Projects.
Where can you find the Fund Manual and concept note form?Fund Manual and concept note form are available upon request by sending an email to innovationfund2022@gmail.com or can be downloaded from www.https://raise-fs.org.  
Who is your contact person?  If you have any additional questions after reading Call for Projects and Fund Manual, please feel free to contact Mr Shitaye Adugna at innovationfund2022@gmail.com or on +251 118 360313/+251 985 202766.

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