TIRANA, May 14, 2019
Innovative Startups and innovation service providers in Albania can now apply for the first call of the Challenge Fund. The call launched on May 10th provides an opportunity for access to finance and funding for start-ups in an early stage of development and for organizations engaged in services to innovative startups.
The Challenge Fund is a competitive financing facility which will be used as a means of addressing the issue of access to finance for innovative companies and promotion of the Albanian innovation system.
The fund builds on the idea that both startups and innovation service providers receive capacity building through various forms of technical assistance from GIZ. The Challenge Fund would provide funding to the most promising companies to carry them through the ‘valley of death’ and scale up their innovative businesses. The fund would also provide funding to the best innovation service providers to upgrade their capacity further and/or develop new services to the innovation and startup community in Albania.
This is done by offering an opportunity for access to finance through an open, transparent and competitive application process, which provides applicants with a one-off, limited-duration grant to overcome the uncertainties that inhibit innovation, research, and development. The assumption is that without challenge-fund support, such activities are either unlikely to happen, or will occur at a later stage, with reduced developmental effects. The fund is managed by a team linked to the Embassy of Sweden in Tirana and applications are only accepted in English to allow a transparent selection process.
The grantees will be selected on a competitive basis. The selection would be carried out in a transparent manner based on specific criteria, involving an evaluation committee with international expertise. All aspects of the fund would take place digitally including the application process. Successful grantees will match up the grant with their own financing
The fund has two separate application windows. Window 1 is open for innovative startups in an early stage of development. Window 2 is open for organizations engaged in services to innovative startups, i.e. innovation service providers to upgrade their capacity further and/or develop new services to the innovation and start-up community in Albania. These actors are hereon after referred to as Innovation Support Organizations (ISOs).
Source/Photo Credit: euforinnovation.al