1. How does a Challenge Fund work?

Kindly visit Sida’s Challenge Fund website.

2. How does my business apply?

Only applications submitted though this website via our online application form will be reviewed.

3. I am not able to save the information in my application form.  

We encourage and recommend that you answer the application questions in a word-document and then copy paste the information into the form once all data has been collected. The system does not allow for saving continuously.

4. What is the maximum grant size? What is the minimum?

The amount applied for cannot be less than EUR 5 000 (minimum) or more than EUR 10 000 (maximum) if the company is newly registered and therefore unable to submit a financial statement for the first year. If the company is able to submit a financial statement the maximum grant size is EUR 30 000.

5. Can I apply if I have a startup business?

Yes, where there is clear evidence that the new company has the capacity, experience and resources to implement the project. A startup business can apply for grants between EUR 5 000 (minimum) and EUR 10 000 (maximum), but it must be officially registered.

6. Can I apply if I am a not for profit company or NGO?

No, your organization must be a for-profit company.

7. Which sectors are prioritized?

The Challenge will support business projects in all sectors, however read through the selection criteria carefully.

8. Can I submit more than one project proposal?

Yes! The Challenge is a competition – if you have more than one great idea you are welcome to submit more than one project proposal.

9. Can I use a consultancy firm to assist me in filling out the application?  

Yes, of course. However, we have noticed from the first call for proposals that this method is not always preferable. The project manager or business owner usually presents their idea much better than if the information goes via a intermediary. If applying in English is the obstacle consider using a translator instead. Also, kindly note that we will not give out any information about your company’s application to consultancy firms. We strive to have a direct contact with the companies themselves and will not go through a middleman. Hence, we will not use other email addresses than the ones stated in the application.

10. I have received grants/funding/technical support before. Does this affect my chances of being selected?

No. In fact, having previously participated in courses, programs or enterprise growth projects, as well as having secured investments for your project idea from other sources, is seen as encouraging.

11. I submitted an application(s) in an earlier round(s) but did not win. Can I re-submit my proposal in future rounds?

Yes, as many times as you wish, as long as the enterprise and project proposal fulfills the criteria.

12. Is there only one winner in each round?

No. Depending on the quality of the project proposals we will select up to ten winners per round. The first call for proposals resulted in six winners, read more about their projects here.

13. I do not understand the budget table in the application form. How does it work?

The minimum amount your company is required to invest is 50% (at least, the more the better) of the total cost of implementing the project. Cost sharing is applied as it creates commitment by the applicant and also provides leveraging of donor funding. The enterprise contribution might be in-kind contributions, i.e. ”contributions other than cash.” Some examples of in-kind contributions are donated labor, materials and services.

The budget section includes a specification of all project costs and is a prediction of future expenditures. Fill out the total amount needed under each heading as well as the company’s contribution in each case.

14. What counts as my company’s contribution?

  1. New money. The company’s share of the total funding may come as debt (borrowing) or equity (cash injection). In principle we will not recognize the contribution of existing fixed assets such as land and buildings or sunk costs (i.e. investments undertaken prior to the application), however important these may be to the success of the project.
  2. In-kind contributions, i.e. ”contributions other than cash.” Some examples of in-kind contributions are donated labor, materials, and services.

15. In the budget table, it says ”type of source of company contribution”. What does this mean?

This means that your company can contribute resources to the project both in terms of cash and in terms of other inputs such as staff time and equipment etc. If you intend to contribute to the project using “in-kind” resources please specify in the application form what these will be. Note that overhead costs such as senior staff salaries which would have to be paid anyway may be difficult to justify, unless a substantial part of their time is to be diverted to the project. However, our experience has shown that it is difficult to set absolute rules with regards to this matter.

16. How are successful proposals selected?

We will judge each proposal against our selection criteria. The best proposals we receive will be forwarded to our Advisory Committee. The final selection of business ideas will then be made internally based on the recommendations of the Advisory Committee.

17. How is the approval process set up? How long does the process take?

Funding approval for successful applications will be granted within a maximum of 120 days from the closing date for applications.

The selection phase consists of several steps. Firstly, all applications are reviewed and evaluated using a scoring sheet (round 1). The 30 applications which receive the highest scores are then discussed and further assessed (round 2). Thereafter approximately 15 applications are selected to our shortlist (round 3). The shortlisted candidates are then contacted and asked to provide additional information (such as financial statements etc.). The additional information is reviewed by our framework auditor and based on this assessment the approved candidates are evaluated by our Advisory Committee. Lastly, an in-depth interview is conducted with the candidates before the final decision is made.

18. How will I know which proposals have been accepted?

All applicants will receive an email with the results, therefore please make sure the email address entered in your application form is correct. Once projects are approved for funding, they will be published on the Challenge website’s project page.

19. What happens after the third call for proposlas?

The Challenge initiative will be evaluated during the first half of 2015. The outcome of this process determines the possible continuation of the project. If you have any feedback about this pilot project please let us know by sending an email to [email protected].