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New Global Innovation Fund to Target Development Challenges

1 October 2014

United States, United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia, in partnership with the philanthropic investment firm Omidyar Network, are launching a new $200 million Global Innovation Fund (GIF) to find solutions to global development challenges.

Speaking at a Millennium Development Goals Countdown event September 23 on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah and U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening outlined the vision and scope of the new fund.

"The Global Innovation Fund is a historic commitment by five of the most dynamic leaders in global development, aimed to invest in cutting-edge solutions to the world's most pressing challenges," Shah said. "It will mobilize unprecedented resources to support innovations that help the world's most vulnerable people break the cycle of extreme poverty."

The fund, which will be headquartered in London, will invest in social innovations that aim to improve the lives and opportunities of millions of people in the developing world. According to USAID, the fund will use "a venture capital–like" approach to investing in a wide range of social innovations, "drawing on the success of the industry to discover and support innovative ventures that have the potential to scale across the developing world."

"We must find and invest in more effective, faster and more efficient ways of ending aid dependency," Greening said. "The Global Innovation Fund is now open for business and can support ambitious ideas to transform lives in some of the poorest countries in the world. As we work towards a new set of post-2015 development goals, fresh thinking and new ideas will be critical to ending extreme poverty for good."

THREE STAGES OF FINANCING AVAILABLE

The Global Innovation Fund seeks ambitious ideas to solve global development challenges in any sector that demonstrates promise to scale commercially and ultimately reach millions of people, according to USAID. Through grants, loans and equity investments ranging from $50,000 to $15 million, the Global Innovation Fund offers three stages of financing to pilot, test and scale innovations, with the largest funding amounts reserved for innovations that can demonstrate evidence of success and potential to spread across multiple developing countries.

"The Global Innovation Fund is a big step forward for impact investing and international development," said Matt Bannick, managing partner of Omidyar Network. "As a global, multipartner NGO, GIF will be able to glean best practices and lessons-learned from promising innovations all over the world and bring them to scale through flexible financing, including private, government and philanthropic capital."

For more information and to apply, please visit the Global Innovation Fund webpage.

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