The U.S. Global Development Lab serves as an innovation hub. We take smart risks to test new ideas and partner within the U.S. Agency for International Development and with other actors to harness to power of innovative tools and approaches that accelerate development impact.
May 24, 2017
Innovator Digest
Greetings, Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) portfolio organizations, past and present, as well as DIV friends and partners! We use this newsletter to share recent news, upcoming opportunities, and useful resources; to cultivate a sense of community among members of the DIV family; and to engage you in a conversation about addressing some of the toughest challenges in global development. Please take advantage of the tools we share and send us your feedback, updates, and ideas to ensure we're making this as useful as possible. In case you you missed them, check out past issues of the Digest here !

Congratulations to  Pivot Works   and  Burn Manufacturing ,  recent winners of the DIV competition! Pivot - a new member of the DIV family - is a city-scale treatment solution that converts human waste into renewable fuel. DIV is supporting R&D on incorporating municipal solid waste at its current plant in Kigali, as well as the development of a commercial plant. Burn - a previous DIV winner - is expanding its reach to additional consumer segments within Kenya and Uganda with several clean charcoal cookstoves as well as its wood-fuel cookstove. DIV is supporting this expansion, enhancing its manufacturing capability in Kenya, and an impact assessment to better understand the health and economic benefits of its products.
Vote Now
EFL , which uses psychometrics to determine credit risk , was named as one of three finalists for the 2017 Financial Inclusion Challenge - part of a Wall Street Journal editorial initiative sponsored by The MetLife Foundation to provide news and insights about the world's more than two billion people who are largely excluded from basic financial services. Viewers can vote in the People's Choice Award between May 2 until May 30, 2017. The winner will be announced at the first Wall Street Journal D.LIVE technology conference in Asia this June. Vote for EFL for the People's Choice Award here
There are about 9 million new cases of tuberculosis (TB) per year of which 3 million cases are not diagnosed. APOPO's HeroRATs can sniff out TB in human sputum samples, helping APOPO to raise the number of TB positive patients found by over 45% in partner clinics. This photo of APOPO's HeroRAT team in action is currently number one in the GlobalGiving 2017 Photo Contest. Help APOPO win by voting for their photo here.
  Shout Outs
Bandhan-Konnagar serves extreme poor populations in India who have not had access to traditional microfinance initiatives or are unready and reluctant to preview microfinance services. The "Targeting the Hardcore Poor" program is a high-impact poverty alleviation program focused on reaching marginalized women who are considered "extreme" or "hardcore" poor. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the evidence-backed program and its success in reaching hard-to-reach populations.
Through their solar energy products, Off-Grid Electric and Orb Energy are working to increase access to affordable, reliable energy worldwide. Poor and rural communities are not gaining access quickly enough to compensate for population growth. Off-Grid Electric is working to offset that issue by powering the homes of more than 50,000 people each month in Tanzania, Rwanda and Côte d'Ivoire using off-grid solar panels and battery systems. Orb Energy is also working to increase access to electricity by providing solar energy to schools, hospitals and agribusinesses that are already connected to the grid in India. Both organizations are offering solutions to the electricity access deficit.
SPOUTS of Water and Evidence Action's Dispensers for Safe Water were recently featured as two technologies designed to help address global drinking water challenges in connection with World Water Day. Dispensers for Safe Water, which have been implemented in Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda, are placed in the immediate vicinity of water sources to enable households to conveniently treat their drinking water while they are collecting it. Meanwhile, with its affordable, locally-manufactured ceramic water filters, SPOUTS has provided over 80,000 people in 200 different communities in Uganda with clean drinking water, saving families about $100 per year. SPOUTS was also recently featured on National Geographic 's Chasing Genius page. Watch the video here .
In this podcast hosted by Andy Narracott of Evidence Action , Liz Jarman from Living Goods discusses how to motivate a network of community health workers (CHWs) while ensuring real-time performance management through their health mobile phone app . She talks about how their 'Fast Start Program' has become key to getting new CHWs excited and motivated to achieve their impact targets and that peer-to-peer coaching has had more impact. You can also check out this blog featuring a CHW.
Watch this ABC News spot on American small business, Vayu, which is helping doctors provide healthcare to people in remote areas in Madagascar with drones. The drones can travel up to 40 miles and carry tests, samples, and medications, eliminating the need for visits to a clinic. 
Check out this Forbes feature on "Kenyan tech star," Ushahidi, which recently released smartphone apps for iPhones and Androids. The integration of smartphone mobile and offline data collection will allow users around the world to follow Ushahidi deployments and post to them from anywhere, anytime. 
The work of emergency response organization, Trekmedics, was recently featured in the local media in Tanzania. When road accidents happen, its "bodaboda" (or motorbike) riders, in Mwanza are often the first responders on the scene to arrive and offer assistance to victims. In a city where road accidents are a serious issue, the bodaboda riders are working to reduce related fatalities.  
The Call for Innovations for the STI Forum 2017 2017, initiated by the Technology Facilitation Mechanism in collaboration with the Global Innovation Exchange , selected concrete scientific and technological innovations to achieve the six SDGs that are the focus of the second Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs (STI Forum) in 2017. Babajob and former DIV partner organization, Naya Jeevan's doctHERS , were among the 12 selected innovations, out of 200 submissions. Babajob was also recently featured for its job portal for low-skill and entry-level positions here .
  Read This
In case you missed our April 6 webinar with our partner, OnFrontiers, you can find on our blog the video recording of and top takeaways from the discussion about how successful social enterprises target consumers and business at the bottom-of-the-pyramid. Panelists Scott Roy of Whitten & Roy Partnership, Michael Roberts of iDE , and Boston Nyer of BURN  shared lessons learned with Saida Benhayoune of MIT's  D-Lab and co-author of the Practical Impact Alliance 's Best Practices for BoP Door-to-Door Distribution .
Check out the "Scaling Pathways" series - developed by CASE at Duke and the  Innovation Investment Alliance - to learn about leading social enterprises' strategies for scale and answer questions like: What were their scaling tactics? What were their biggest surprises and pivots? What have we learned from their successes and failures? Check out the recent webinar here . Past DIV winners, Evidence Action and   VisionSpring , are among those featured in the series.
PIA has recently released two new publications: Ready, Steady, Scale!  - a guide for successfully scaling social businesses in BoP markets, complete with checklists and case studies, and The Metrics Café - a framework to help funders and grantees reconcile their needs to fulfill the potential of data-driven impact metrics. DIV's approach, and multiple DIV portfolio organizations, are featured in both.
Take Advantage
Agro Innovation's Acceleration Program 2017 offers tailor-made support in the form of know-how, market access, and financing. This year's four-month program will take place from September 2017 to February 2018 in Vienna and Munich, and will include up to six startups. Learn more here, apply here.
As part of the Interaction Forum taking place in Washington, DC., USAID's Global Development Lab is hosting a "speed dating" session on on June 21st from 1:30-3pm to create more partnerships between ag-tech innovators and USAID implementing partners. If you will be in Washington on June 21 and are interested in attending, apply here. Email us if you have any questions.
The Seed Transformation Program is a comprehensive, yearlong program that includes six months of immersive management training designed for business owners in East Africa , West Africa , and India . It is led by Stanford Graduate School of Business faculty and supported by trained local facilitators. Click on the link associated with your location for details on dates and to apply.
The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is a competition for sustainability entrepreneurs. The winner receives support to further develop their service or product and bring it to market within the next two years. Apply here.
The  SOCAP Social Entrepreneur Scholarship Program provides passionate, committed innovators with a platform to get their ideas in front of impact investors and global influencers and help them connect with peers. In 2017, it will select up to 150 outstanding entrepreneurs to receive a scholarship covering costs of a visa, hotel, travel, and SOCAP registration. The deadline for international applicants seeking early notification (if selected) is June 1. For all applicants, the deadline is June 30. Apply here.
Dan Ariely 's behavioral economics research lab at Duke ( the Center for Advanced Hindsight ) is inviting early-stage, for-profit health and finance start-ups to join its Startup Lab program (October '17-June '18). The Startup Lab supports problem-solvers by making behavioral economics findings accessible and applicable. We're looking for startups that are eager to experiment, and demonstrate a passion for building research-backed solutions to health and finance challenges. The application goes live here on May 31 and is open until June 30. To learn more, keep an eye on the Center's blog for upcoming information, or contact the Center.
The 2018 Rolex Awards are looking for five young inspiring leaders, aged 18-30 years, with vision and a ground-breaking proposal to expand knowledge of our world and improve the quality of life on the planet. In addition to demonstrating a spirit of enterprise and leadership, candidates must put forward original projects or work plans with a clear purpose and potential for significant impact. Apply here .
Innovations Against Poverty (IAP) recognizes and supports companies that aim to implement innovative inclusive business initiatives in the agriculture, energy, water, sanitation and hygiene, or technology sectors in either Cambodia, Ethiopia, Uganda or Zambia that can contribute to the fight against poverty and climate change. Proposals will be accepted and assessed on a 'first come first serve' basis. Check out the guidelines , leaflet , and introductory video .
Solve at MIT is a marketplace connecting innovators with resources to solve global challenges. Each year, Solve announces new challenges for which it seeks solutions. This year's challenges include: Youth, Skills, & the Workforce of the Future , Brain Health , Sustainable Urban Communities , and Women and Technology . Learn more here .  
Apply Anytime
UNICEF's Innovation Fund provides equity-free seed funding for start-ups in developing and emerging markets, that are developing open source solutions in frontier technology areas. It seeks open-source projects that have already been started and are showing some positive indicators but need funding to attract additional investment and funding by generating real data. The investment comes with support from UNICEF's Venture team and partners, providing mentoring on product development, creation of open source communities, profitable business strategy, and a network of funders and partnerships for scale. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis here. Check out the website or this info note for more details.
The PeaceTech Accelerator is the first cloud innovation centre and scale-up program devoted to peace technology, launched by C5 Accelerate and PeaceTech Lab, with support from Amazon Web Services . The Accelerator runs eight-week programs of intensive mentorship and training to help for-profit and non-profit start-ups to scale up, with a focus on the use of cloud capabilities. The program culminates in a pitch day to potential investors. It is looking for start-ups that are designing, developing and using new and innovative technologies to help end violent conflict and promote sustainable peace. For more information, or to apply, go here.
The 11 Heads of Government and State and Special Adviser who make up the UN/World Bank High Level Panel on Water (HLPW) launched this Challenge to improve access to information that is so crucial to ensuring that farmers thrive - especially in lower-income settings - and water resources are managed well. The Call for Innovations began on World Water Day (March 22, 2017) and has a rolling application process. The first awards will be announced in July 2017. Learn how to apply here. If you need help applying, email here with "Water Data Challenge" in the subject line.
Gray Matters Capital coLABS is taking very early stage bets on the most promising entrepreneurial ideas with the potential to demonstrably improve the lives of women and/or girls. It is looking for innovations that are self-sustaining, innovative and disruptive, investment-ready, ready to pilot and rapidly prototype, and committed to scaling. It provides investment capital of USD 10,000-100,000, non-funding advisory support, and usually takes an advisory or board seat for up to 3 years. Pitch your idea here.  
Similar to DIV, the Global Innovation Fund, which USAID helped launch, invests in evidence-based social innovations that aim to improve the lives and opportunities of millions of people in the developing world. Through grants, equity investments, and debt, it supports breakthrough solutions with strong potential for social impact at a large scale. Financial support ranges from USD 50,000 to 15 million. GIF accepts applications on a rolling basis. Several DIV portfolio organizations, such as SafeBoda, DMI, and Simpa Networks, are also part of the GIF portfolio.  
The DRK Foundation is accepting applications from social enterprises that are between 1-3 years old, with scalable business models that work to affect policy, public opinion, and economies. DRK portfolio organizations receive USD 300,000. Applications are accepted year-round. Several DIV portfolio organizations, including Living Goods, Muso, and myAgro, are also part of the DRK portfolio.
Other Helpful Resources
Access FREE Investment Advisory Support
Oltac Unsal  recently joined the Global Development Lab as an "Investor in Residence" to help Lab-supported innovators, including DIV portfolio organizations, with their funding efforts. Oltac is a venture capitalist with over 50 investments, a Silicon Valley veteran entrepreneur, and led early-stage financing efforts of the World Bank. Get in touch with him , and copy your DIV Grant Manager/AOR, for an investment readiness assessment to see if he can help you with your financing objectives.
Tap Our Expert Network Resources for FREE!
Are you in need of market research, identification of potential partners, support on customer research, or legal advice? We've contracted two expert networks, OnFrontiers and Atheneum Partners , to provide DIV and our portfolio organizations FREE access to experts in every sector and country. The options are endless. To tap the networks at no cost to you, email your AOR with a few sentences about the type of support you're looking for and why, and they'll get back to you with next steps.
DIV portfolio organizations can access Digital Globe and Planet Lab imagery through the GeoCenter at USAID's Global Development Lab. To obtain imagery, submit a request through its portal. You will need to sign a user agreement, submit a request form, and send an email confirmation. If you are specifically seeking Planet Lab imagery, indicate this in the request form. If you have any questions, email your DIV Grant Manager/AOR and be sure to copy him/her on your confirmation email to the GeoCenter.
The Inventor Assistance Program (IAP) is a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) initiative in cooperation with the World Economic Forum that matches developing country inventors and small businesses with limited financial means with patent attorneys. The patent attorneys provide pro bono legal assistance to secure patent protection. Interested in applying? Check whether your country of residence is currently participating in the IAP. If it is, then the first step is to go to a Technology Innovation Support Center in your country to request further information or submit an application.
Communications Resources
Creating a successful social media presence is one of the most important elements to branding your business online. Knowing how to effectively position your business online isn't just good business, but a must for continued success. If you're struggling to create a strategic social media presence,  join social media strategist, speaker and author Rebekah Radice for this free webinar.
Get Engaged
  • Will you be at SOCAP 2017 in September?
    If so let us know ASAP and we may be able to help land you a speaking role. Also, if you're planning on attending ANDE Annual Event , GES 2017 , or any other major events this upcoming year, give us a heads up .
  • Current DIV portfolio organizations: Renew your registration! Did you know that your registration has to be resubmitted annually or else it expires? If your registration expires, you will not be able to receive your milestone disbursements. Please check your status and ensure that you leave enough time (a few weeks is recommended) to complete all the renewal steps on to ensure you are continually compliant. Any questions on this can be directed to your AOR. Note, there are several companies that will offer to do this registration for you for a fee, but you can do it yourselves for free.
  • Take ownership of your innovation profile  on DIV's online engagement community
    - - and keep it updated. To do so, you must first create an  account  on the  Global Innovation Exchange  (which powers the DIV online community). Remember to tag to your organization and list DIV as a "related program" when you create your account.  
  • Help us help 
    you promote your work and the impact you're having! 
    Send us communications materials (photos, awards, achievements, newsletters, testimonials from customers and others impacted by your work, etc.) and we will be sure to spread the word through media engagement and social media!
Thank You