The Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund (Micf) will next week launch an $ 8 million (about K3 billion) competitive and transparent mechanism aiming at providing finance for innovative projects with focus on the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
Supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UK Aid, Micf seeks to be a quick, responsive mechanism that is not overly self-important but strives to meet the needs of the private sector.
Micf fund manager Navin Kumar told Business News on Monday the new company seeks to support the private sector which, in turn, will generate social impact by creating new jobs and improving livelihoods for the poor.
“Challenge funding is a mechanism that will trigger growth by supporting innovative and inclusive business ideas within an organisation that might be perceived as risky but will hopefully benefit a lot,” he said.
Kumar said Micf will provide a matching grant of up to 50 percent to innovative business projects to help absorb some of the commercial risk in triggering innovation, speeding up implementation of new business models or technologies that have high social impacts.
“Successful applicants will be awarded a matching grant for a specific period, which will help the company overcome some of the risks and uncertainties that prevented them from investing in a project that inhibits innovation, research and development, investment, and pioneering of new business approaches,” he said.