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40 Social Enterprise Grants for your consideration

Echoing Green- Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship and Leadership Development Programs

Echoing Green identifies tomorrow’s transformational leaders today. Through its Fellowships and other innovative leadership initiatives, Echoing Green spots emerging leaders and invests in their success. They support visionaries around the world who are transforming their communities, addressing economic development, racial and gender equity, environmental sustainability and more. Every year, they fund a new class of fellows and this year they are providing more than 4.6 million USD in unrestricted seed-stage funding and strategic foundational support for emerging leaders who are working to bring about positive change. They believe in investing in and supporting the right people as well as their business plans. Their social entrepreneurship fellows work all over the world addressing a broad range of issues.

Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation- Grants

This foundation was founded in 2002 on the belief in the power of innovation and the conviction that, with bold support, passionate individuals with great ideas can change the world. This global venture philanthropy firm supports early stage, high impact social enterprises through early funding and rigorous support. They find, fund and support exceptional leaders with innovative and highly impactful ideas that have the potential to scale change. Currently, they help organizations working both domestically and internationally, which provide critical access to healthcare, education, food security, social justice, water and sanitation, transparency and accountability, and shelter. They have already invested in 142 social enterprises with the support of 50 donor partners.

CAN Invest

As a registered charity trading as a social enterprise, CAN Invest supports voluntary, community and social enterprises to build sustainable businesses by providing capital and business support. They are committed to helping other charities and social ventures thrive, grow, and maximise their impact. By offering business support, capital, and affordable office space, this charity aims to help social enterprises thrive. Their vision is of a social economy buoyed by a thriving social enterprise market and they aim to help social entrepreneurs to achieve this.

RSF Social Finance

Since 1984, RSF Social Finance has questioned assumptions about how money works and collaborated with partners and clients to create new models of working together, new products, and fresh ways of engaging with finance. They believe that inquiry and dialogue are essential to transforming people’s relationships with money and moving the economy toward greater equality. Furthermore, they enable investors, donors and entrepreneurs to explore the role of money in their lives and engage with it in more meaningful ways. With a deeply entrepreneurial culture and unique approach to work, they generate breakthrough ideas as well as intersections of social change and finance. RSF provides funding each year to social enterprises in North America that are working to create long-term social and ecological benefit. Their broad areas of expertise include food and agriculture, education and the arts, and ecological stewardship.

UnLtd- Grants

Innovative and sustainable business ideas help drive social change and fight growing social and economic inequality growing in the UK. UnLtd believe that social entrepreneurs make a difference and need help in the form of funding and support to bring their ideas to life and build sustainable social ventures. Through providing jobs, improving people’s lives and creating a positive impact, social entrepreneurs put making a difference in their community ahead of financial gain and UnLtd believe that they deserve support. Since 2002, they have supported 16,500 social entrepreneurs through a unique package of funding and support.

Global Innovation Fund

GIF is a unique hybrid investment fund that supports the piloting, rigorous testing, and scaling of innovations targeted at improving the lives of the poorest people in developing countries. Their investments support innovations that collectively open up opportunities and improve the lives of millions of people across the world. They believe that the best ideas for solving some of the world’s most critical problems can come from anyone, anywhere and they fund innovations focused on any developing country or sector relevant to international development. They support innovators at all stages of development through grants, loans and equity investments. Innovations with the potential for social impact on a large scale, in developing countries, are supported by GIF.

SEED Replicator

SEED is a global partnership for action on sustainable development and green economy. They support social enterprises that deliver social, environmental and economic returns in developing countries or countries with emerging economies. The SEED Replicator invests in successful eco-inclusive business models that provide proven solutions to sustainability challenges across various locations. The programme supports the uptake and adaption of proven business models to different markets in order to multiply positive, sustainable impact. Targeting originators, the SEED Replicator Programme supports the identification of replicable features of business models and uses a matchmaking process to find potential replication partners. This then plants a seed of motivation in the entrepreneurs who are inspired to adapt proven business models to local context.

Total S.A.- Startupper of the Year

Created by Total S.A., this award is designed to support ideas and projects that help address a widespread problem affecting communities in any country. The ideas can be about providing educational opportunities, reducing child mortality, improving public health, developing access to electricity in rural areas, improving road safety or building houses with eco-friendly materials. The proposed projects should empower people, improve living conditions or contribute to overall economic well-being.

Techstars- Global Accelerator Programme for Entrepreneurs

Teachstars believe in helping start-ups and entrepreneurs through mentorship. They create an environment that is conductive to helping start ups by surrounding them with people who will mentor and inspire them. From there, they help to determine a fundraising strategy and prepare entrepreneurs to meet investors as well as learn how to communicate their vision.

Global Water Intelligence- Global Water Awards

Anyone can be nominated for this award whether they represent a country, project or initiative. The company, project or initiative must be able to demonstrate a significant contribution to the water industry through improved operations and energy efficiency, technological innovation and the implementation of sustainable financial models.

Ashoka- Venture and Fellowship

Ashoka has been building and nurturing the largest network of leading social entrepreneurs for the last 35 years. They implement a life-long fellowship programme, where every member is committed to championing new patterns of social good. Ashoka Fellows are encouraged to take ownership of the network to create Ashoka’s vision of an “Everyone a Changemaker” world. They believe that success comes from everyone leading and social entrepreneurs define the new roadmaps that allow people to thrive. They also champion new ideas that transform society’s systems and provide benefits for everyone.

DBS- Social Enterprise Grant

DBS has supported over 100 social enterprises in Asia since 2012 with grant funding. As well as financial assistance, they offer business procurement opportunities and actively support social enterprises with their annually administered Social Enterprise Grant Programme. The programme enables social enterprises to develop a prototype of their idea, improve existing processes and achieve sustainability.

SOW Asia- Accelerator Programme

SOW Asia has designed an accelerator programme that offers financial investments which empower for-profit enterprises and aim to scale up their social or environmental impact. The accelerator programme is designed to prepare social enterprises for scaling up and provide investment through opening up networks which help them to find funds and connections and enable them to grow their business. They also encourage investment by organizing pitch nights which showcase businesses to investor networks. Furthermore, they connect entrepreneurs to mentors who encourage and coach them during the accelerator programme.

AirAsia Foundation – Grant

This grant is aimed at helping social enterprises and empowering communities to build sustainable livelihoods. Applicants must have a minimum of two years in business and be based in one of the ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Countries) regions. Proposals should include information on the business or product and details on how the investment will enable the organisation to improve its income-generating capacity to fully or partially fund future activities. AirAsia’s priority is to support smaller social enterprises, that face funding constraints through conventional, channels to grow their businesses.

ASEAN Foundation- Leadership Training for Social Entrepreneurs

This programme is designed to empower youths across ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations). It is a partnership programme between the Maybank Foundation and ASEAN foundation that consists of mentoring, regional leadership training, and overseas local community projects. Community projects will be scaled up as social enterprises across the region to become the foremost initiative in Southeast Asia for catalysing youth participation and encouraging them to make an impact in their communities. The programme focuses on the idea that the future of ASEAN is in the hands of youths, and their energy and creativity can be channelled into challenging and meaningful activities that strengthen community bonds, encourage volunteerism and philanthropy, and generate innovative solutions to socio-economic challenges.

Tony Elumelu Foundation- Entrepreneurship Programme for Africans 2019

The Tony Elumelu Foundation is the largest African philanthropic initiative devoted to entrepreneurship. Since 2010, the foundation has been investing in empowering African entrepreneurs. They value entrepreneurs as the catalyst for the social and economic development in the continent. They are looking for applicants whose business ideas are feasible and who have an understanding of the market, customers and competitors as well as being able to demonstrate leadership potential and entrepreneurial skills. The programme combines mentoring, training and alumni for individuals proposing new business ideas or early-stage companies in Africa.

Technovation Iridescent- Technology Entrepreneurship Programme for Girls

Technovaiton offers girls around the world the opportunity to learn the skills they need to emerge as tech entrepreneurs and leaders. Each year, they invite girls to identify a problem in their community and challenge them to solve it. Through working together, the participants will build a mobile app and business plan to launch the app, with the support of mentors and a guided curriculum. Eligible candidates must be between the ages of 10 and 18 and identify as female.

The Commonwealth- Innovation for Sustainable Development Awards

These awards celebrate outstanding innovators and innovations that are helping Commonwealth countries and their people achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and advance the values in the Commonwealth Charter that commit these countries to the development of free democratic societies and the promotion of peace and prosperity. The awards are designed to recognise innovations that are advancing sustainable development in Commonwealth countries and highlight the innovative potential across the Commonwealth as well as inspiring the next generation of Commonwealth innovators. Awards are given on the basis of level of impact or demonstrable potential of innovation as well as quality of achievement so far. Each year, 15 winners will receive a certificate and prize money.

Swedish Institute- She Entrepreneurs

She Entrepreneurs is a recognised leadership programme for women entrepreneurs in the MENA (Middle East and North America) region. This programme offers leadership training within the context of working for an equal and sustainable society, using entrepreneurial principles, and is based on real business experiences and collaborative learning. Their aim is to support women entrepreneurs by giving them the tools and methods they need to develop their enterprise with a focus on personal and professional development. The programme is intended for women who have already started a business and who want to make it more effective in creating value for society.

First Solar Corporate Charitable Fund  

This fund is designed to improve quality of life in communities around the world with an emphasis on First Solar’s corporate values. These values include a focus on “green” education initiatives, access to clean energy and water in underserved areas and furthering the development of innovative and sustainable technologies. Priority is given to organizations that make a significant impact in communities and the fund seeks to support projects and services through the donation of solar modules and systems. Applicants may also request grant funds to support their project and funding is between 10,000 and 15,000 USD.

United Nations Development Programme – Ecosystem Challenge

The Ecosystem Challenge seeds youth entrepreneurship in Africa through focused activities in localities that have a weak or nascent youth entrepreneurship ecosystem. They provide capital of 10,000 USD and applicants from incubators, innovation hubs, youth entrepreneurship networks, coworking spaces, entrepreneurship centres, universities or student groups are invited to design an impactful ecosystem intervention and a sustainability plan. The United Nations Development Programme strongly maintains that youth in Africa should be key agents of change without whom the success of job creation strategies will be unsustainable. Furthermore, entrepreneurship and innovation will take on a more prominent role in the development of Africa and the creation of employment opportunities.

Miller Center – Global Social Benefit Institute

The Miller Centre for Social Entrepreneurship is the largest and most successful university-based social enterprise accelerator in the world. They believe that social entrepreneurship addresses the root problems of poverty, through the power of business and innovation, to provide sustainable economic and social impact. The Global Social Benefit Institute offers 6 months of highly customized mentorship and content with peer-to-peer collaboration opportunities for leaders who propose projects related to energy, beneficial products and services for rural or urban populations, or projects which are women-led.

The Genesis Charitable Trust – Grants

The Genesis Charitable Trust provides grants for public benefit to help individuals and communities within developing countries to improve their standards of living. They have broad objectives and an interest in projects that provide sustainable, long-term income generation and self-sufficiency, especially those that make a positive impact on marginalised communities currently beyond the reach of traditional government or market-based solutions. They also prioritise income-generating projects in developing countries.

MAN Truck & Bus- Impact Accelerator

The MAN Impact Accelerator was designed to scale up social ventures, in transport and logistics, with a considerable impact on society. Entrepreneurs will receive access to more than 300 mentors which will inspire them and allow them to learn from leaders in the community. They bring entrepreneurs from Europe, South Africa and India together to tackle social and environmental challenges through innovative solutions in the transport and logistics space. MAN Truck & Bus is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of commercial vehicles and is intensely dedicated to purposeful innovation within the transport and logistics sector.

Global Social Venture Competition

The Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) empowers the next generation of social entrepreneurs by providing them with mentoring, exposure, and over 80,000 USD in prizes to transform their ideas into ventures that address the world’s most pressing challenges using technology for good. The GSVC was founded by MBA students at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in 1999 and has evolved into a global network of premier business schools, universities, and programmes. The competition provides aspiring entrepreneurs with mentoring, exposure, and funding to support their social ventures. Entrants will be led through an experiential learning process to develop innovative, scalable solutions to the world’s greatest challenges using technology.

Soest Third World Group Foundation – Project Assistance

Founded in 1983, this foundation supports local initiatives to improve the social and economic situation of those in the Third World and supports small-scale development projects. They also inform the people of Soest about the problems of people in developing countries by providing information to schools and associations, women’s groups and church organizations. Projects based on a small-scale local initiative are supported by the foundation. The projects must implement local goods or materials and must be targeted at a clearly defined group of people who are actively involved and prepared to contribute whatever they can. The project must also be sustainable and have an emphasis on assistance to women.

Roddenberry Foundation – The Catalyst Fund

The Roddenberry Foundation was created by Gene Roddenberry’s son as a way of building on his father’s legacy and philosophy of inclusion, diversity, and respect for life to drive social change and meaningfully improve the lives of people around the world. The Catalyst fund is a small grants program focused on early-stage, unconventional ideas that have the potential for disruptive change and that address urgent challenges. The fund grants between 2500-15,000 USD and is not limited to any one issue as they search across many different issues to identify opportunities where innovation is needed. The fund accepts applications on a continuous basis with no deadlines and there is no limit to the number of projects that are supported each year.

D-Prize Distribution Equals Development

The D-Prize expands access to poverty alleviation interventions in the developing world. They believe that many solutions to poverty already exist, the challenge is distributing them to people who need them the most. The programme is designed to create ‘distribution entrepreneurs’ or social entrepreneurs who start new ventures that distribute proven life-enhancing technologies to millions of people living in extreme poverty. They aim to significantly increase access to life-enhancing technologies in the developing world, encourage young entrepreneurs to focus their talent on the developing world, and to encourage a global dialogue on the importance of leveraging distribution solutions for development. The award is in the amount of up to 20,000 USD.

Well Aware – Water Projects

This non-profit organization provides innovative and sustainable solutions to water scarcity and contamination in Africa. They fund and implement life-saving water systems to drive economic development and build self-sufficient communities. The water projects adhere to the organization’s project approval and execution process and proposed projects must meet a strict sustainability criterion. Projects are tailored to community needs and potential, as well as local environmental conditions.

Netherlands Enterprise Agency – DRIVE

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency stimulates entrepreneurs in sustainable, agricultural, innovative and international business through improving opportunities and strengthening the position of entrepreneurs to help them realise their international ambitions with funding and networking. DRIVE is designed for entrepreneurs who want to make an active contribution to creating public infrastructure in one of their selected countries. The DRIVE contribution provides a financial assistance to help to increase chances of realizing projects. The fund is intended for companies planning to participate in a tender for the realisation of infrastructure. There is no limit to the number of applications per company for DRIVE projects.

African Innovates for the SDGs

This award is aimed at African social innovators with exceptional ideas and initiatives linked to any of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The award was launched by the co-chair of the Group of Eminent Advocates for the SDGs and President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for a new generation of early-stage social innovators in Africa who are solving pressing problems related to SDGs. This award is open to innovators from Africa and the winners will receive funding as well as having their work showcased at an international level.

Community Matters- Pacific Development and Conservation Trust Grants

The New Zealand government have designed this trust which grants to projects that encourage and promote sustainable development in the Pacific and New Zealand, while conserving the natural environment and cultural heritage of its people. Each year, the trust grants around 25,000 NZD and each grant ranges from 2,000 to 50,000 NZD. There are two application rounds which open in February and August each year. The trust provides grants for a range of conversation, cultural, heritage, development, and goodwill projects and activities in the Pacific and supports sustainable development where communities work together with iwi (tribes), hapu (sub-tribes) aiga or whanau (family groupings).

TATA Social Enterprise Challenge

This joint initiative by the TATA group and the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, is a national level challenge to find India’s most promising social enterprises. It is also aimed at raising awareness about social entrepreneurship through encouraging the youth to become the next generation of social entrepreneurs. The challenge invites social entrepreneurs from across India, who have an early stage venture or an idea with a proof of concept. The proposed venture needs to have a sustainable business model that creates social impact and there is no restriction on the business model as it can be profit or non-profit.

Foundation ENGIE – Projects

Foundation ENGIE finances projects carried out by associations that correspond to their own interests. These interests include helping children and young people to join society, increasing access to energy for sustainable development, and emergency aid. The ENGIE Foundation believes that we need to be optimistic and work together to find solutions for the future in a world facing more challenges, including global warming, migration, access to energy and tackling poverty. For 25 years, they have been mobilising energies to help the most vulnerable, with a primary focus on children and young people in need, by supporting projects that promote inclusion through culture, education, health and sport. They also aim to support projects led by women which promote the social inclusion of children and access to energy for all.

Australian High Commission Nigeria- Small Grants Direct Aid Programme (DAP)

The Direct Aid Programme is a flexible small grants programme run by the Australian High Commission in Abuja. The project accepts proposals from Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, The Gambia, Niger and Nigeria and funding is available to community groups, reputable local, international or Australian NGOs, private sector entities, academic institutions, research bodies and other organisations engaged in development activities on a non-profit basis. The grant is primarily aimed at supporting small-scale development projects that are participatory in nature and engage the beneficiaries in the design, development, and implementation of the project.

The Pollination Project – Grants

The Pollination Project believes in the power of people doing extraordinary things to make their communities and world a better place. Since 2013, they have been making small grants every day to community change makers working on important social change issues. They have numerous projects including the East Africa Leadership Program in which local change makers, both in Kenya and Uganda, have received grants themselves. Those recipients now look for projects, that do not have access funding from other international foundations, which would benefit from grants.

YES SCALE- AgriTech

YES SCALE has built on its model of collaborative innovations with start-ups and technology leaders to create a platform accelerator which scales up innovations through technology, mentorship, funding and commercial support for start-ups in key impact sectors. The AgriTech programme brings together the best of multi stakeholder partners to create opportunities for catalysing agricultural innovations. The project has 3 application categories: food tech, farm tech and supply chain tech and selected start-ups will receive a grant of up to 30,000 USD as well as mentoring and project support.

Cultural Survival – the Keepers of the Earth Fund

The Keepers of the Earth Fund (KOEF) is a small grants fund that supports Indigenous values-based community development. Grants have supported Indigenous-led projects on the edge of solutions to the most pressing issues for Indigenous Peoples everywhere. Cultural Survival intends to provide grants ranging from 500 to 5000 USD to Indigenous-led organizations and groups around the world. These grants can support projects focused on a vast array of development activities. The primary purpose of the fund is to empower grassroots Indigenous communities to establish their rights and retain their traditional values.

GSMA- Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation Fund

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with over 350 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem. The Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation Fund aims to promote innovation in the use of mobile technology to address humanitarian challenges. They catalyse ideas to improve or transform institutional systems, and enable solutions to empower, assist or protect individuals and communities affected by complex emergencies and forced displacement. The fund is interested in projects that can demonstrate long-term sustainability and grants up to £300,000.

coLABS- Investment

coLABS is an early-stage investment portfolio that seeks to invest in bold, innovative, and widely scalable social enterprises that have the potential to dramatically improve the lives of women and girls around the world. They believe it takes more than capital alone to scale social enterprises. Because of this, they invest a maximum of 250,000 USD as well as offering technical support, a follow-on investment vehicle, and working closely to strengthen business models. They fund entrepreneurs and early-stage ventures that leverage women and their critical role in the community and believe in widening their investment lens to create the greatest impact on quality of life for women and girls in these communities.  

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