The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the gap between rich and poor countries that risks delaying delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) beyond the 2030 deadline. To close this gap and accelerate delivery of the SDGs, new investment vehicles are needed to increase capacity and drive innovation at scale for underserved populations.
Countries in the Global North have traditionally had two tools at their disposal for development assistance: aid agencies and development finance institutions. These institutions are critical and necessary players in the development landscape, however, neither has the type of capital to support early stage, innovative ventures through their life-cycle and to scale, creating what is referred to as the ‘pioneer gap’.
Many investment opportunities can often be found during the novel, early stages of an innovation, and there will always be strong preference for investing in the later stage, after conditions are prepared for scaling. However there remains a funding gap for validation and preparing to scale, to pave the way for growth.
Many social entrepreneurs are able to raise sufficient resources to identify the market need, develop a value proposition, and demonstrate early proof of concept, but a funding gap too often exists when they come to raise additional funding to further prove and scale their business and impact models. This gap is particularly acute in fragile markets, where financing and scaling innovations, including those with the potential for the greatest social impact, is scarce or only available on terms that don’t reflect the needs of entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs need capital and investors that are patient and flexible.
Join us for a discussion that will showcase the lessons learned by the Global Innovation Fund in building our portfolio by investing in the pioneer gap; and outline the opportunity for a new catalytic investment vehicle that can scale up proven, innovative solutions to the most complex development challenges.