Global Innovation Fund

Oct 21, 2020 | Financing Mechanisms


Improving lives through social innovation: The Global Innovation Fund is a non-profit innovation fund headquartered in London with an office in Washington D.C. that invests in the development, rigorous testing, and scaling of innovations targeted at improving the lives of the world’s poorest people.

The Fund believes that the best ideas for solving some of the world’s most critical problems can come from anyone, anywhere. Through our grants and risk capital, the Global Innovation Fund helps breakthrough solutions to global development challenges from for-profit firms, non-profit organisations, researchers, and government agencies to maximise their impact and affect meaningful change.

Through grants, loans (including convertible debt) and equity investments ranging from $50,000 to $15 million, the Fund backs innovations with the potential for social impact at a large scale, whether they are new technologies, business models, policy practices, technologies or behavioural insights.

The Global Innovation Fund supports innovators at all stages of their life cycle, from start-up and pilot-testing through to larger scale implementation. These innovations can be located in any developing country and can focus on any sector relevant to international development, provided they improve the lives of those living on less than $5 a day.


Focused on addressing key development problems: GIF  invests in a range of innovations with strong potential for social impact at a large scale. The Fund defines ‘innovation’ broadly to include new business models, policy practices, technologies, behavioural insights, or ways of delivering products and services that benefit the poor in developing countries — any solution that has potential to address an important development problem more effectively than existing approaches.

Supporting innovators: Across its portfolio, GIF supports innovators who are committed to using and generating rigorous evidence about what works. The Fund offers financing from USD $50,000 to $15 million, with the largest funding amounts reserved for innovations that can demonstrate evidence of success and that have potential to spread across multiple developing countries.

Realising impact potential: GIF is serious about scaling up successes and following through with transformative ideas until they realise their impact potential. The Fund is willing to take informed risks as needed to invest in the best ideas early on, and will continue to support ideas that have proven success in achieving social impact. The Fund expects its most successful innovations will eventually scale up to reach millions of people in developing countries with support from the private sector, developing country governments, donors, or philanthropy.

GIF for Researchers: Evidence is at the heart of GIF’s staged approach to investment. The Fund takes well-informed risks in pursuit of high social benefits and, as it does so, it embeds learning into each investment it makes. Whether you are a researcher with an innovative but untested idea, you have already evaluated an innovation and found it to be promising, or you are interested in evaluating an innovation which is currently being implemented, the Global Innovation Fund wants to hear from you.

Applying for Funding

The Global Innovation Fund accepts applications on a continuous basis, with no deadlines or ’rounds’ of funding. In addition to this open application window, it actively seeks out investments. The Fund’s review process is highly selective and rigorous, and less than 10% of applicants are invited to submit full proposals.