Sustainability is key during the current economic times. The projects supported by the three regional programs are challenged to seek continuation beyond the grant period, not limited to financial resources but about solid organizational foundations.
For some projects working on applications development, the solutions they have come up with are far from being “market-ready”, so they struggle to attract investment from the private sector or retain qualified staff. They lack the contacts and visibility to attract investment and support.
In other cases, specially with projects focusing on access provision, the communities the projects work with or in are too far away, too remote or too small, and may also face huge challenges to attract much needed funding let alone have their needs understood.
The constant search for innovation imposed by existing funding mechanisms also means that organizations face issues with the maintenance and continuation of their work.
Sources of Funding
Traditional sources of funding such as government grants and international aid are structuring narrow portfolios with tighter rules and higher reporting requirements that exclude smaller organizations. Innovative mechanisms such as crowdsourcing are still far away from players in the field in developing economies, as many of those services have requirements that they can’t fulfil. The private sector is increasing their contributions towards Impact Investment Funds, Venture Capital Funds, Angel Investors and Corporate Social Responsibility mechanisms but access to those require networking opportunities that most small organizations do not have access to.
Addressing the Challenges
The Seed Alliance looks at how to address these challenges by offering:
- Grants for project activity implementation
- Awards to raise an organization’s visibility in a very competitive field,
- Capacity building and networking opportunities so that supported projects can build the knowledge and networks they need on the path to sustainability.
The Seed Alliance’s regional programs support projects at different stages on that path. Some are in the early investment stages, others are in proof of concept development and some ready to scale-up. The support is tailored so that innovation does not slip through the cracks and projects can continue to further their development through scale-up support.
The Seed Alliance and the regional programs are always looking for opportunities to expand their funding pool to enable them to continue offering the flexibility that projects require to grow.