UK-funded competitive grant call seeking proposals from four sectors

A UK-FUNDED grant program has started accepting applications from project proposals which are related to agribusiness, financial inclusion, garments and textiles and community forestry until September 29.

DaNa Facility launched its competitive grant call, the Business Innovation Window (BIW), on Monday.

The competitive challenge fund provides matching grants to catalyse and/or de-risk innovative business ideas that have the potential to trigger transformational change in markets which benefit the poor, by harnessing the knowledge and skills of the private sector.

Project proposals are for four sectors, including agribusiness, financial inclusion, garments and textiles and community forestry. Any company legally allowed to operate in the country may apply, either individually or as part of a consortium. Such consortia may include not-for-profit organisations, but a commercially oriented business enterprise must be the core.

The DaNa Facility is looking for commercially viable and innovative business ideas that have a strong social impact, notably for women, the poor, or other disadvantaged groups. – Liz Patterson, UK Department for International Development (DFID)

DaNa is a project funded by DFID, which provided £25 million (K43.9 billion). The program supports inclusive economic growth and private sector development in Myanmar, through responsible and sustainable business growth, investment and trade. The DFID-funded program was established in May 2016 as one of three components of DFID’s wider “Business for Shared Prosperity” (BSP) program, and runs for five years until December 2020.

“The DaNa Facility is looking for commercially viable and innovative business ideas that have a strong social impact, notably for women, the poor, or other disadvantaged groups,” said Liz Patterson, private sector development adviser at the Myanmar office of the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

“We are also seeking projects which contribute to overcoming exploitation of vulnerable groups,” she said.

The size of grants will range from £150,000 to £750,000 per project. However, the BIW will not fund more than 49 percent of the project’s total budget. The remainder must be contributed by either the applicant or secured from other parties.

“We use a two-step process in selecting the projects to fund,” explained Peter Brimble, DaNa Facility team leader, who also explained the application procedures.

The first step entails writing and submitting a brief “pitch” on the project. DaNa will then select a short-list of the proposals. The second step requires the preparation and submission of a full project proposal and budget, from which an independent selection panel will make a decision on which projects can go forward for grant contract negotiations and due diligence, prior to final approval from UKaid (DFID).

The deadline for submissions for the first step is September 29.

The BIW is the second grant window launched by the DaNa Facility since the project was launched in 2016. Earlier this year, it launched the Economic Empowerment Window. In total, six projects were selected for grants, comprising mung bean project in dry zone locations, agriculture development project in Pa-O area, avocado, coffee and EFY project in southern Chin and Shan states, community forestry project in Kachin and more.

The six projects implemented via the Economic Empowerment Window are led by four domestic non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and two INGOS, and all six will have private sector partners involved in the consortia, according to Mr Brimble. The projects also have a wide geographical footprint, including minority ethnics and post-conflict areas.