Application is now open for GEMS4 Enterprise Challenge Fund till 24th of August, 2015.  The GEMS4 Enterprise Challenge Fund is a £3.5 Million private sector development matching grant fund. The objective of the Fund is to catalyse private sector investment in innovative, commercially viable, and inclusive business models that result in improved performance of the Wholesale and Retail sector, jobs and improved income opportunities for poor men and women engaged in the sector. By improving private sector perceptions of the associated costs and benefits of innovating and adopting pro-poor models, it will encourage replication. It is intended that the impact of funding given to an individual project will be multiplied by the resulting and recurring changes to perceptions and practices in the Wholesale and Retail Sector.
GEMS4 means Growth and Employment in States. GEMS4 is a market development project in Nigeria currently being implemented in Lagos, Kano, Kaduna and Cross River states. The project is being funded DFID/UKaid and The World Bank. The GEMS4 mandate is to stimulate market system changes that encourage growth and access; resulting in the creation of 10,000 new jobs and increased incomes for 500,000 people, especially for the poor, rural dwellers, and for women. GEMS4 has been in implementation since 2012 and will be in operation until July 2017.
Funding Process
Pre-Grant Award
Grant funds are awarded to eligible projects through a two- stage competitive application process as follows:
First stage – Concept Note Application
Interested organisations submit a concept note outlining the innovative business idea for which grant funding support is sought in terms of its commercial viability, innovativeness, and potential developmental impact.
Second stage – Full Application
Shortlisted applicants are invited to develop full application proposals setting out a detailed business case for the proposed project. This is similar to a commercial business plan.
Post Grant Award
·       Grant awarded organisations undergo a verification and due diligence process. Successful Organisations are invited to execute a grant agreement.
·         Project implementation commences
·         Grant funds is disbursed in quarterly intervals in arrears against agreed milestones and deliverables.
·         GEMS4 conducts monitoring and evaluation of funded project.
·         At expiration of funding period, grant funding support ceases. Projects continue to operate sustainably
Funding Window
Eligible organisations can apply to the GEMS4 Enterprise Challenge Fund for funding support through funding windows.
Each funding window seeks to address a specific market problem facing small and medium enterprises, small-holder farmers/producers, poor and vulnerable men and women engaged in economic activities within the wholesale and retail sector, and its value chain.
The following Funding Windows are currently open for applications:
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