Before you can think of applying for funding from USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV), you need to understand a few finer details. This is because unlike other calls for proposals, this grant has certain unique characteristics evolved from experience and new trends in the development sector.
DIV has a strong focus on ‘innovation’ and ‘cost-effectiveness.’ This means that the project proposal you are going to submit to USAID under DIV has to provide sufficient information that the idea is unique and innovative and that it ensures that costs in project implementation are saved. The costs attached to the project should be less than what is being currently practiced.
The very initial funding from USAID will depend upon how innovative and cost-effective your project idea is. USAID says, “These ideas do not have to be technological solutions, but also new business models, new processes, or even novel combinations of tried and true techniques. We look for the solutions potential to scale big, to tens of millions of beneficiaries within ten years.” Let’s not forget that DIV is open to ideas across all sectors of development.
USAID undertakes rigorous testing of your project idea including its cost-effectiveness by comparing to the current projects. If your project gets qualified, then you are eligible to get the funds. There are three stages of funding:
STAGE ONE is for projects in the proof of concept phase: DIV will grant these projects up to $100,000 dollars over one year so that grantees can refine prototypes and gather the evidence they need to pull in more investment and grow.
STAGE TWO is for larger projects, typically to expand across a country. DIV will grant Stage Two projects up to $1 million. In exchange, Stage Two projects will build in rigorous testing to prove if the project is viable at its larger size.
STAGE THREE is for much larger projects. For grants of up to $15 million over several years, solutions that have already proven to work at a large scale will be expanded much further, and often into multiple countries.