2019 UK issues call for proposals for Business Innovation Challenge for Kenyans

Deadline: April 8, 2019.

The UK Government has issued a call for proposals for a Business Innovation Challenge, under its new four-year Kenya catalytic jobs fund.

The Business Innovation Challenge seeks proposals from enterprises who are developing innovative solutions to create jobs, especially for Kenya’s youth. Up to five successful enterprises will receive grant funding and technical assistance worth up to KSH 13million (£100,000) each. The call for proposals targets initiatives that are innovative, scalable, sustainable and which can demonstrate substantial impact. The Challenge is focussed on three broad areas: agriculture and manufacturing, the informal sector, and people in marginalised groups and areas. Shortlisted applicants will present their innovations at a pitch event in front of a panel of expert judges. The Kenya Catalytic Jobs Fund is a KSH 650 million (£5m) 4-year programme, which will test and support innovations with the potential to stimulate large-scale job creation. The new Fund was announced by British Prime Minister, Theresa May, during her visit to Kenya in August 2018 as part of a package of announcements aimed at supporting Kenya’s young people to achieve their goals.



The fund will focus on three broad thematic areas: agriculture/manufacturing sectors, informal sector and increasing income for marginalized groups and geographies.



1. The Kenya Catalytic Jobs Fund is able to support an array of enterprises including early stage enterprises, mature enterprises testing new innovations, and non-profit organisations.

2. Government organisations, political parties and organisations that advocate, or espouse anti-democratic policies or illegal activities are not eligible to receive funding from the Kenya Catalytic Jobs Fund.

3. The fund will target initiatives that are post proof of concept, innovative, scalable, sustainable and that have demonstrated substantial impact.



The Kenya Catalytic Jobs Fund is running a Business Innovation Challenge to competitively select up to 5 initiatives. The Winners will receive grant funding and technical assistance of up to £100,000. 



1. IMPACT: Demonstrated ability to substantially create large numbers of new jobs, significantly improve job quality and/or contribute a relatively large increase in income generated by youth.

2. SUSTAINABILITY: Demonstrated viability of business model that does not require ongoing grant funding for long term sustainability.

3. PROOF OF CONCEPT: Demonstrated evidence showing that the design, concept and business proposal has a clear and practical application.

4. SCALABILITY: Demonstrated potential for replicability of the business model across different geographies and market and/or expansion of existing model to serve more beneficiaries within the same context.

5. INNOVATION: Demonstrated clear differentiation of product, process, technology or business model from current standard practice.

6. POSITIVE EXTERNALITY: Demonstrated positive externality i.e. how the impact of the project will go beyond private commercial interests.



This is a call for proposals for the Business Innovation Challenge. The applications will be evaluated by a team of reviewers who will select 10 finalists. The finalists will present their innovations to a team of judges who will then select up to 5 winners.

1. Proposal Submission

To enter the Business Innovation Challenge, applicants must provide the information requested following the instruction and submit the online application form. All applications must be submitted by 11.59 pm on April 08, 2019.

2. Initial Screening

All submitted proposals will be evaluated on a rolling basis by the review team against the selection and eligibility criteria. The 10 applications that receive the highest overall scores, will be selected to participate in a pitch event. Successful applicants will receive an email communication message indicating that they have been invited to the pitch event.

Shortlisted applicants will be required to submit additional business and compliance documentation. The requested documents will include: Business plan, marketing collateral, partnerships, contracts with suppliers and customers, shareholding structure, audited financial statements, financial projections for the next 3 years, disclosure of any grant funding, Term sheet legal documents on debt or equity financing into the company, and Tax compliance information.

3. Pitch Event

The shortlisted candidates will pitch their innovations to a panel of selection judges at a pitch event in Nairobi. The selection judges will evaluate each pitch based on the eligibility and selection criteria. Up to 5 applications will be selected as the Business Innovation Challenge Winners and announced at the pitch event and on this website.

4. Due Diligence and Contract Design

The Kenya Catalytic Jobs Fund review team will conduct financial, legal and operational due diligence on the Business Innovation Challenge Winners. The team will also conduct an in-depth needs assessment to determine the type and extent of technical assistance required.

5. Grant Award

The Business Innovation Challenge Winners will receive grant funding and technical assistance worth, in total, up to £100,000.


Kenya Catalytic Jobs Fund

error: Content is protected !!