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Innovations Against Poverty challenges

Innovations Against Poverty challenges the private sector to develop products, services and business models that can contribute to the fight against poverty and climate change.

Through our advisory and non-reimbursable funding, we support innovative Inclusive Business models that deliver developmental benefits for the low income population in both rural and urban areas, while being commercially viable.

Private sector development has proven to be a real catalyst of change when it comes to creating the opportunity for low income people to lift themselves out of poverty. Additionally, low income markets represent a large business opportunity: the four billion people living on less than $8 USD a day constitute a global consumer market with a shared purchasing power valued at 5 trillion USD. The low income population provides the potential to increase labour, supplier and distribution channels that can support expanded production and market supply. This offers significant scope for entrepreneurship and private sector development to make a positive impact on low income people’s quality of life.

Innovation and risk-sharing

By thinking innovatively, companies can develop business ideas that solve social and environmental issues while at the same time maximizing their competitiveness and profitability. However, many of these initiatives are exposed to commercial, technical and financial risks, and have limited access to markets. Most companies initiating an innovative Inclusive Business idea traditionally lack the technical support required and are too large for micro-finance, and too small and risky for mainstream commercial debt and venture capital, making them part of the so-called “Missing Middle” gap.
In this context, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) launched the Innovations Against Poverty Fund (IAP) to stimulate private sector development initiatives which otherwise would not have taken place. The IAP fund functions as a risk sharing mechanism, with the specific mandate to identify and support innovative Inclusive Business models that deliver both commercial benefits for the private sector and developmental benefits -such as the creation of jobs, income increase and access to basic goods and services- for low income people, prioritizing women and youth.

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