The Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund (MICF) is a US$ 11 million competitive, transparent mechanism that provides grant finance for innovative projects proposed by the private sector active in Malawi’s agricultural, manufacturing and logistics sectors. Supported by the United Nations Development Programme, UK Aid and KFW, the MICF is designed to be a quick, responsive mechanism that is not overly bureaucratic and understands the needs of the private sector. MICF is a competitive facility through which businesses within the agricultural and manufacturing sectors of Malawi can apply for grant funding for innovative projects, which if successful, can deliver large social impact and help the country diversify from its narrow band of exports, but where commercial viability is unclear. The MICF provides a matching grant up to 50% to innovative business projects to help absorb some of the commercial risk in triggering innovation, speeding up implementation of new business models and/or technologies that have high social impacts.The business idea must be implemented in Malawi, either by private sector organisations registered in Malawi or externally registered businesses investing in Malawi. Furthermore, the project must demonstrate “additionality”, that is that the project would not go ahead without MICF funding.The MICF is aimed to:
- Harness the strengths of the private sector to generate and test new ideas. We are private sector friendly.
- Trigger innovation, speed up implementation of new business models and / or technologies, combining potential commercial viability with high social impacts. We accept that projects have a high degree of commercial risk.
- Help prove the viability of new business models, and enhance the ability of such projects to be replicated / scaled up on a purely commercial basis. We are looking for BIG impacts on the poor.