The Fund will support innovations aimed at increasing international competitiveness. This thematic area would for example, support agribusiness/manufacturers to innovate, test new technologies and provide evidence to key state actors to address market distortions and unlock policy constraints holding back key sectors. It could help companies to integrate more horizontally (through associations) or vertically (in supply chains) as well as scope out international markets. It could help attract anchor investors into the new Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in close collaboration with (and not in duplication of) other economic development initiatives run by DFID and other development partners.
The Fund will support innovations aimed at raising productivity and/or supporting shifts into the formal sector. Additionally, the Fund could also support solutions that use technology to link up clusters of informal microenterprises with formal firms (e.g. aggregators) and connect them to local or regional value chains. It could also pilot initiatives which enable youth entrepreneurs in the informal sector to find ways to build up savings; diversify risks and access larger, longer duration loans in order to grow microenterprises.
Marginalised Groups and Geographies
The Fund will support innovations aimed at catalysing sustainable change in sectors and geographies that have the potential to create employment and increase incomes for disadvantaged groups, including women and people living with disabilities. This could include levelling the playing field for women-run businesses, e.g. around market positioning and access to finances. It could also include focusing on Arid and Semi-Arid Lands. However, as minimum levels of technology access, infrastructure or spatial proximity of firms are often needed for innovations to be optimally tested, the proposals would need to focus on areas where catalytic and scalable solutions remain feasible.