Sida launches IAP program in Ethiopia


Innovations in technology and business practices are critical for creating opportunities for people living in poverty to improve their living conditions. The Embassy of Sweden on behalf of Innovation Against Poverty (IAP), funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) lunched on October 10, 2012 the Innovation Against Poverty program.
The Ethiopian launch of the program IAP aims to stimulate entrepreneurs to develop innovative and commercially viable products and services that address the needs of people in poverty.IAP is designed for companies which are based or operate in a poor country. The Innovations Against Poverty program operates a challenge fund where companies and market oriented NGOs can apply for funding and advisory support. A company can be in any sector and address any geographical region, as long as the objectives with the business or project are to create a sustainable business operation that will benefit people in poverty by engaging them as suppliers, employees, producers or consumers. The business projects with greatest potential will be selected in a competitive process.
Initially the program focuses on smaller organizations which have a wealth of good ideas with great potential, but need the support of their business strategy and resources to penetrate new markets. Second, IAP also seeks to work with larger companies, to help support the development of “inclusive business” models for these markets, which expands opportunities for the poor and disadvantaged in developing countries. Such business models can engage the poor as employees, suppliers, distributors and consumers.
Companies can be active in all sectors where innovation leads to poverty reduction, from agriculture and infrastructure to health and education. The only exceptions are companies involved in arms, tobacco and gambling industries.
Sida stated that its intention with the program is to stimulate development which otherwise would not have taken place within the private sector due to perceived initial commercial risk or uncertain market opportunities, and to accelerate the go-to-market process.
The starting point is the concept of Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP), which are the people “on the base of the pyramid” who live on less than two dollars per day. Involving this group as innovators, entrepreneurs, producers, consumers and distributors provide positive development opportunities for all parties and increase the prospects of reaching the Millennium Development Goals.