economic resilience and recovery Window

NOW CLOSED

Will provide matching grants up to USD 500,000 (with a minimum of 30% contribution from successful businesses), to solicit business ideas from private sector organizations operating within Malawi that can:

  • Strengthen businesses operating in logistics, distribution and last mile delivery.
  • Support technology-based solutions for tracking movements of goods, supporting aggregation, traceability, and delivery.
  • Support businesses that can work with producers and suppliers to scale and grow products that are likely to experience supply shortages but have potential for future exports.

    For those planning interventions in medical and personal protective equipment sectors, additional technical and advisory support could be made available through Engineers without Borders and UNDP’s Technology Access Platform. The technical advisory will provide access to a global repository of open source technology with provision of technical specifications for manufacturers with appetite and capacity to re-purpose machinery for local production of PPEs and medical equipment (Face Shields, Medical Masks, Gowns/Coveralls/Aprons; Intubation Shields; Caps/Shoe Coverings).  The advisory also includes, amongst others, viability assessments of the technology for its localization in a Malawian context and facilitation of partnerships with local universities for mass production of market tested prototypes.
Deadline - 6th July 2020

Will provide matching grants up to USD 500,000 (with a minimum of 30% contribution from successful businesses), to solicit business ideas from private sector organizations operating within Malawi that can:

  • Strengthen businesses operating in logistics, distribution and last mile delivery.
  • Support technology-based solutions for tracking movements of goods, supporting aggregation, traceability, and delivery.
  • Support businesses that can work with producers and suppliers to scale and grow products that are likely to experience supply shortages but have potential for future exports.

    For those planning interventions in medical and personal protective equipment sectors, additional technical and advisory support could be made available through Engineers without Borders and UNDP’s Technology Access Platform. The technical advisory will provide access to a global repository of open source technology with provision of technical specifications for manufacturers with appetite and capacity to re-purpose machinery for local production of PPEs and medical equipment (Face Shields, Medical Masks, Gowns/Coveralls/Aprons; Intubation Shields; Caps/Shoe Coverings).  The advisory also includes, amongst others, viability assessments of the technology for its localization in a Malawian context and facilitation of partnerships with local universities for mass production of market tested prototypes.
Project Concept Note Deadline: 30th June 2020

SUBMITTING A CONCEPT NOTE

The Concept Note is the first part of the application process to the Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund (MICF). Applicants wanting to participate in the MICF must initially complete a concept note. The Concept Note allows applicants to briefly present how ideas respond to one of the challenges set by the MICF. The MICF fund managers will review the concept notes to ensure they are completed correctly and fulfil the eligibility criteria before submitting them to an independent evaluation panel for their review.  Those applicants that are successful at the concept note stage will pass to the second stage of the competition where the Fund will ask applicants to submit a full proposal according to a format provided by the MICF Fund Managers.

Application process

The Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund adopts a three-stage application approach for both Agriculture and Manufacturing challenge windows. The following provides a brief overview of the application and contracting process.

Applying

It is easy to apply. If you think that you have a good idea that responds to the challenges that are currently open to receive applications, please submit a short concept note application form to us. The concept note forms can be downloaded from our website or alternatively they are available upon request from the MICF offices in either Lilongwe or Blantyre.

What We Need To Know

The concept note form is a very brief form (not more than 6 pages long) which aims to understand basic information about:
  1. Your Company
  2. What your business idea is
  3. What you think is innovative about it;
  4. Why you have come to MICF to finance the project rather than using other commercial sources; and
  5. How in your opinion the business idea will impact on the poor in terms of either jobs created or improving the incomes of the poor.

What Happens After Submitting

Once the deadline for concept note applications closes, the concept notes will be assessed by the MICF investment panel. This investment panel is made up of independent and extremely successful individuals constituted from outside the public sector. Each member has been carefully vetted and expected to adhere to a Code of Conduct, and will perform their role with the highest degree of probity and discretion.

Second Stage

If your company is successful during this initial assessment you will be invited by MICF to the second stage, to develop and submit a full proposal. This will be a much more detailed document stating:
  1. activities and timelines with respect to what you propose to do;
  2. how this new business idea fits into your existing business / business model and how it will be commercially viable;
  3. how it will impact on the poor and on exports;
  4. what other partners if any will participate with your firm and the roles each will play;
  5. how progress towards implementation will be monitored; and
  6. a detailed financing plan to understand how costs will be shared between your consortium and MICF.

Successful Applicants

The MICF team will invite successful applicants to a full-day workshop, to be held in both Blantyre and Lilongwe, to brief your firm on how to submit your proposal, and answer any points of clarification that you may have. At the workshop your firm will also be provided with a proposal form, detailed guidelines for completing it, and deadlines for completing the form.

Company Visits

As part of the process to support the Investment Panel in their selection of grantees, the MICF Team will visit each company to carry out basic due diligence assessments. The proposals and MICF due diligence reports will be presented to the investment panel for their final selection.

Logic Model and Framework

The MICF team will work with your firm and / or consortia to develop a project logic model and a framework for monitoring the results of your project. The logic model provides a theoretical basis of how your proposed interventions are supposed to work – what they are expected to do and what they are expected to accomplish. Based on this a framework for monitoring the performance for your individual project will be developed and agreed with your company.

Identify Milestones

The MICF team will work with your firm to define milestone-based payments. Once the monitoring framework has been agreed with your firm, it will then be used to identify ‘milestones’ which will also be agreed with you, along with the means of verifying the attainment of each milestone. These milestones will serve as payment triggers for the release of MICF grant funding. The MICF will pay out a proportion of the total grant based on achieving each identified milestone.

Activities vs. Budget

Your company and the MICF team will subsequently work together to assign specific activities with projected budget expenditures (relating to what your company and the MICF provide).

eligibility criteria

Firms wishing to apply to the Economic Resilience and Recovery Window of the Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund (MICF) will need to meet the following criteria:
Bids must be led by private sector firms including: a private for-profit company, joint ventures, partnership, cooperative, sole trader, etc. Only in exceptional cases will MICF consider new businesses (start-ups), where there is strong evidence that the new company has credible and experienced investors and management team. Applicants must meet all of the following criteria for your application to be considered:
  • The lead organisation must be a private for-profit company. Only in exceptional cases will MICF consider new businesses (start-ups), where there is strong evidence that the new company has credible and experienced investors and a solid management team.
  • The business idea must be implemented in Malawi; either by private sector organisations registered in Malawi or externally registered businesses investing in Malawi.
  • The applicant company may collaborate with other organizations, including nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and community organisations, and farmers’ organisations. However, it is a condition that the lead applicant and implementer of the business idea must always be a commercial company/business.
  • All applicants must demonstrate their capacity to implement their proposed project and will need to demonstrate sound financial performance and clear corporate governance.
  • The total grant funds requested must be between US$200,000 and US$ 500,000.
  • Projects applying to the MICF Economic Resilience and Recovery Window are expected to:
    • Strengthen businesses operating in logistics, distribution and last mile delivery.
    • Support technology-based solutions for tracking movements of goods, supporting aggregation, traceability, and delivery.
    • Support businesses that can work with smallholder producers and suppliers to scale and grow products that are likely to experience supply shortages but have potential for future exports. [For those planning interventions in medical and personal protective equipment sectors, additional technical and advisory support could be made available through Engineers without Borders and UNDP’s Technology Access Platform].
  • All business projects must be inclusive in nature. They will need to demonstrate their ability to deliver significant benefits to poor households in terms of improved incomes or job creation / retention or by providing affordable products and services, rather than solely benefitting the participating companies / organisations of a particular project.
  • The funding request must be for a specific, new and innovative business idea. The MICF views innovation in its broadest sense including: i) a new approach, product, idea or service that has not been tested anywhere; ii) an approach, product, idea or service that is new to Malawi; or iii) an approach, product, idea or service that has not been applied to the sector in question in Malawi.
  • The project promoters including the lead company, collaborating organisations and third parties such as co-investors or banks and other lenders must provide matching funds of at least 30% of the total cost of the business idea. Contributions can be made through a combination of in-kind and cash contributions and will be taken on a case by case basis dependent on the logic of the individual project proposed.
  • The project must demonstrate that the activities that will be funded by the MICF will be additional to the company’s existing activities and that the project would not go ahead without MICF funding. The MICF could also consider projects that if they would have gone ahead, it would be at a much-reduced pace or scale in the absence of the MICF support.