Record Number of Applications for Alliance Grants
Getting access to finance is one of the key barriers to strengthening supply and scaling adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels. That is as true at the end of 2013 as it was over three years ago when hundreds of experts contributed to the clean cooking sector’s strategy, Igniting Change.
With supply and adoption as a dual focus, the Alliance prioritized increasing investment as one of six value propositions on behalf of the sector. In 2012 we released two targeted grants designed to finance clean cookstove and fuel enterprises at different stages of development. The Pilot Innovation Fund (PIF) supports proof of concept and finances innovative approaches across all stages of development, and the Spark Fund helps venture and growth stage enterprises reach commercial viability and scale by funding business capacity development and growth.
This year marked the second round of the PIF and Spark Funds, and the first round of the Women’s Empowerment Fund (WEF), designed to provide resources to partners at all stages of development who are interested in innovating around gender and women’s empowerment interventions within their business models. We received over 70 Spark applications again this year and selected 17 businesses to undergo due diligence site visits. This year’s pool of applicants was exceptional and it will be challenging to select 6-8 winners. We also received strong interest in the WEF and PIF, with over 50 and 70 applicants respectively. The applications are currently being evaluated by our expert panel.
The grantees for the 2013 round of these funds will be announced in February.