Application Deadline: 14th June, 2023

The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) is accepting proposals to contribute towards innovation and entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa on food security, blue economy, climate adaptation, marine litter, renewable energy and clean cooking solutions, and aquaculture.

This call is directed towards two areas
  • Stimulate incubators, accelerators and SME investment funds (with focus on early-stage companies) that will mobilize knowledge and private capital for start-ups/SMEs companies in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Risk-reducing measures with banks/financial intermediaries that can scale up innovations (e.g. end-user finance) and/or improve access to credit for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which have the potential to scale up innovations.

This call is aiming to reach

Companies and foundations in Norway and recipient countries, priority will be given to incubators, accelerators, and SME investment funds on one side, and local banks and financial institutions on the other.

• Incubators, accelerators and SME investment funds By incubators and accelerators Norad means entities which provide start-ups and early-stage businesses with the support and resources to grow and scale. Their support will typically involve early stage financing, access to networks, investors and mentors, or co-working space alongside other businesses and experienced professionals. These projects and SME-investment funds may apply for TA-support.

• Local banks and financial institutions with risk-reducing instruments (such as a first loss facility). A “first loss facility” is a financial arrangement in which Norad agrees to take on a portion of potential losses associated with a particular loan or loan portfolio while the lender or investor assumes the remaining risk. This type of facility is often used in situations where the overall risk associated with a loan or loan portfolio is considered too high for a lender to assume on their own. By agreeing to take on the first loss, the donor can help to reduce the overall risk and make the operation more attractive to other investors or lenders.

• It is also possible for incubators/accelerators to submit a joint application with a financial institution where a portion of the grant may be used for the incubation/acceleration activity while the first loss portion may be used for scaling up of the innovation.

Funding Information

The support period is 2023-2026. Multiyear projects are encouraged. Norad expects that approximately 180 million NOK will be made available for each year.Norad expects to enter into a limited number of agreements. Priority will be given to larger applications, i.e. applications exceeding 20 million NOK for incubation/acceleration and TA-projects and NOK 50 mill for first-loss facilities. Applications should not exceed 100 million NOK.The selection of projects will reflect the quality of the proposals as well as a balance between different geographical areas and types of interventions.

• 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.

• The applicant must demonstrate its administrative capacity to implement the project.

• 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.

• 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.


• 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.

For more information and to apply, visit Norad.

By Elorm Hermann

I'm on a mission to disrupt mindsets and explore answers to questions others are afraid to even ask.

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