Entrepreneurship On Food Security, Climate And Environment In Sub-Saharan Africa 2023

This call is aimed at contributing to innovation and entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa on food security, blue economy, climate adaptation, marine litter, renewable energy and clean cooking solutions, and aquaculture. It is targeted towards experienced incubators, accelerators and SME funds in Africa and towards financial institutions that can contribute to the scaling up of promising innovations. 

“We are particularly looking for experienced players within the incubation and acceleration field. They should have a strong track record of bringing new innovations to a successful launch and scaling. A significant contribution of private funding is a requirement”, says Norad’s director for Climate, Energy and Environment Stig Traavik.?

Applicants can be players that are already present in Africa or experienced players with plans to establish themselves on the continent. The purpose is to stimulate to more innovations which can be scaled in Africa within critical SDG themes. Additionally, the call is open for financial institutions applying for first-loss facilities that can enable the scaling phase of promising innovations in the target areas of the call.

About Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad)

Norad is the Norwegian agency for development cooperation. We work for the world to achieve the UN’s sustainability goals.


  • The minimum grant size is NOK 500.000.
  • Maximum funding coverage for salary costs are based on actual salaries, and may not exceed NOK 800 per hour
  • Maximum funding coverage for consultants is NOK 1,600 per hour.
  • All travel must be justified, travel costs coverage will be approved for economy class only.
  • Applications will be treated in accordance with the Norwegian Freedom of Information Act.
  • Funding from 2024 and onwards is subject to Norwegian Parliamentary appropriations and the Letter of Allocation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Norad.

Qualification Requirements

Eligible recipients for this call for proposals are private actors in Norway and in recipient countries. Priority will be given to accelerators, incubators, SME investment funds for TA facility, commercial banks and non-bank financial institutions, including guarantee funds.

The applicant must alongside the concept note submit documents to show that the following criteria are met, in order to be eligible for this call:

  • The applicant must be an independent legal person. Accurate and complete information about the nature of the organisation must be provided.
  • The applicant must provide an overview of its relevant skills and experience to implement the proposal. Please submit a link to your webpage and annual report.
  • The applicant must demonstrate its administrative capacity to implement the project. Audited financial reports from the previous year shall be provided, in addition to organisational chart.
  • The list of existing portfolio companies must be provided in the case of incubators, accelerators and SME funds.
  • Established ethical guidelines for the company must be submitted, which as a minimum fulfil the requirements in ethical-guidelines—guide-for-norads-grant-recipients.pdf
  • Information about project partners must be provided, if relevant.
  • (The applicant and its partners must comply with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and thereby inter alia conduct due diligence assessments for responsible businessess.)
  • If applying as incubator/accelerator provide a description of relevant experience and track-record including previous experience in the field and private fund-raising efforts.
  • If applying for first loss facility, provide complete information about the financial institution (size, geographic coverage, employees, branch network etc) and the team that will be responsible for the first loss scheme.

For this particular call the following recipients will not be prioritized:

  • Multilateral, governmental and civil society organizations.
  • Academic and research institutions.
  • However, such institutions may be partners in the project alongside companies/funds dedicated to incubation and acceleration and financial institutions.

4. Types of projects eligible for funding

Grants may be awarded for projects contributing to one or more of the objectives as listed above in section 2.

5. Cross-cutting issues

The following four cross-cutting issues must be given adequate consideration in all projects:

  • Human rights, with a particular focus on participation, accountability and non-discrimination
  • Women’s rights and gender equality
  • Climate change and environment
  • Anti-corruption.

Grant recipients must identify material risk factors that may have a negative impact on the four cross-cutting issues and must analyse and manage these risks throughout the project cycle.

Interview date, Process and Venue

Selection Criteria: In the assessment of the concept notes, Norad will emphasize the following:

  • Likelihood of significantly promoting innovations, start-ups and entrepreneurs in the target segments and achieving impact through that.
  • The extent to which the initiative is able to contribute to the objectives of the call for proposals and achieve results at scale.
  • To which extent cross cutting issues, and in particular gender equality, is taken into account in the design of the concept.
  • Strength, capability and capacity of applicant organization.
  • The applicant’s professional and administrative capacity.
  • The overall professionalism of the application and the project, including an assessment of cost effectiveness and realism of plans and ambitions.
  • The level of catalytic impact of the grant (how much fund is being mobilised as a result of the grant application).  An assessment of the realism of funding plans and catalytic impact will be made.
  • Quality and clarity of proposed concept

Applicants shortlisted based on its concept note will be invited to submit a full application. The full application will require a detailed proposal and budget.

Documents Required for Application

In the assessment of the full application, Norad will attach importance to a number of additional factors, including:

  • The projects relevance to the local country’s own plans and priorities.
  • The composition of Grant schemes portfolio.
  • Theory of change, all project must have clearly defined, realistic and measurable goals, and applications must include a description of the current situation (baseline) and indicators that will make it possible to measure and report results.
  • Additionality, i.e. that the funding provided by Norad enable activities and development impacts that might not otherwise be possible because of the high risks involved.
  • Results of due diligence of applicant and project partners.
  • Risks and risk management systems of the applicant, including climate risk assessment of the project.
  • The projects alignment with the objectives of the grant scheme
  • The project must be cost-effective, and this must be reflected in a detailed budget.

How to Apply

Interested and qualified? Go to https://grants.mfa.no/#call/3201/details to apply

For more details, visit https://www.norad.no/

Important Notes: 

  • Please note that support is given only to grid-connected power projects and off-grid projects that serve local communities, but not to projects for own power consumption.
  • The scheme does not provide investment support or loans but does provide grants to activities that contribute to early-phase project development and activities that limit commercial risk before investment decisions are taken.

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