For the second year in a row, UNDP, EPFL Tech4Impact, Orange, and SAP have collaborated on the Growth Stage Impact Ventures for SDGs (GSIV) selection process.
With a focus on identifying and showcasing mature impact ventures in emerging countries with a catalytic potential that can drive both large impact and yield, the 2020-2021 edition aims to promote ventures that contribute to tackling inequalities and empowering poor and vulnerable people in developing countries in the following areas: Increasing Access to Quality Health Care, Increasing Access to Affordable and Clean Energy, and Reducing and Recovering Waste.
Building upon feedback from previous SGS Geneva events and given the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year Call for Nomination was expected to generate 125 submissions.
Instead, we collected nearly twice the 2019 amount of nominations and received 237 responses from 65 countries, through 148 third parties (each was allowed to nominate up to three ventures).
Third-party nominations (rather than ventures direct applications) allowed us to continue building on existing pipelines, leveraging existing networks, and vetting processes. An accelerator or investor submission implies a likely higher inherent quality, with some level of due diligence already folded into the nomination.
As a result, almost 58% of the ventures nominated reported over half a million dollars of revenue, with 23% over a million dollars.
Some additional details:
Nominations included 40% of women-led ventures,
Of the 40 countries represented by the nominees, the four countries with the most nominations were, in order, India, Kenya, and China.
This year, in comparison to 2019, only 66% of nominations were eligible. Last year, the rate was 85%.
The number of third-parties grew drastically, by 95%, as a clear indication of the initiative gaining some traction among key stakeholders
Third-party nominating entities
Nominations came from a great diversity of players, from private sector entities to key agencies. The nature of our nominators varied from Investors (Fund, family office, HNWI), Incubators/Accelerators, UN Agencies, INGO, Foundations, Governmental bodies, to Banks, & more.
The above logos represent 107 of 148 third parties, i.e. those who nominated ventures were deemed eligible.
See the full list of third parties that made at least one nomination at the end of this blog post.
The Selection Process & What to Expect Next
After being checked for eligibility by the UNDP team, the Ecole Polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Tech4Impact team is carrying out the initial screening of nominated entities.
This will lead to a short-list of ventures who will be invited to fill out an in-depth profile for the final set of evaluations. The resulting finalists will then be announced in December, after being selected by a Technical Committee composed of representatives from international organizations, large corporations, academia, investors and thematic experts, and then endorsed by the SGS Advisory Board of UN representatives. As part of their prize, finalists will be invited to attend a one-day preparatory workshop at EPFL, as well as the SGS event taking place in Switzerland in March 2021. There, they will pitch as well as network with potential investors as well as partners for growth.
We thank every third party and impact venture nominated both for taking the time to participate in the second edition of the GSIV selection and once again, making it surpass our expectations. These initial results prove it is possible to create a pipeline of ventures developing at-scale solutions for the SDGs with a strong business model. We hope the GSIV contributes to encourage investors to start – or continue – shifting their portfolio to include a higher number of these companies in developing countries that strive to advance the SDGs. This is a conversation we look forward to continuing through to and at our event in March 2021 in Switzerland.