What is expected of my startup when participating in the program?
We expect commitment and participation of at least one of the founders throughout the program. Furthermore, your startup must use the financial support received to adapt its products or services to the needs of financial institutions and/or producer organizations in rural areas.
Do I need to be present in any of the 6 countries during the program?
This is a remote program, so it is not essential that you are present in any of these countries. However, your startup must have a clear strategy to reach and serve end customers in rural areas of any of these countries.
If my startup isn’t serving people in rural areas, can it participate in the program?
Yes. Your startup can participate in the program if it has a solution that can be adapted to users or customers in rural areas and has a genuine interest in commercial expansion into this target population. Any startup that can solve any of the current challenges of the agricultural sector in any of the participating countries can apply to the program.
Do we need to have a company (legal entity) in any of the program countries to participate?
Yes. The program is designed to boost startups that are operating in any of the six program countries and have a company there. It is essential that your startup has a legal entity established in Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, or Mexico, before May 31, 2022.
How long will the call for applications be open?
Startups may apply until April 12 2022.
How many startups will participate in Innovatech?
Only 12 startups will have the opportunity to access the program. We expect the selection process to be extremely competitive, so each applicant startup must propose a plan to demonstrate that its products and/or services have the potential to solve the needs of rural areas in the program countries.
How will startups be selected for the program?
The selection of startups will be carried out by a committee made up of sector experts and representatives from IFAD and German Sparkassenstiftung. The finalist startups will be evaluated through a due diligence process and, in a second stage, through a pitch round.
What are the dates of the program?
The program will last 10 months, starting on June 4, 2022, and ending on May 2023.
After the end of the program, there will be an extra 4-month phase in which five of the 12 startups in the program will be selected for promotion in investment rounds for different funds.
How does the program work?
Innovatech will provide the selected startups with support consisting of weekly working sessions with a team of sector experts that will follow up on the goals and monitor the fulfillment of objectives, as well as deliver technical support. The startups will be part of a bootcamp with mentoring and keynotes given by invited mentors specialized on rural development and financial challenges in the agricultural sector. In addition, during the first weeks of the program, participating startups will learn about the specific needs of end users by developing a pilot product together with project partners.
The implementation phase of the developed solutions with the end users will begin in November 2022.
Each startup has the goal of positively impacting at least 18 producer organizations and/or financial institutions with its technology solution. These organizations will be made up of 42 people each, for an average of approximately 750 people in total.
For your startup, it will be a great opportunity to build new alliances with the rural sector and expand commercially into a customer segment that is underserved when it comes to technology.
How many hours a week do I need to commit to the program?
Your startup will need to devote enough time to carry out the activities related to Innovatech and this will also depend on the solutions each startup develops. Financial support will be released during the course of the program and will be subject to the visible commitment of participating startups.
How much money will be given to each startup?
The equity-free grant is up to USD 150,000 for each startup. The amount of the grant may vary from startup to startup, and the total will be defined in the selection process according to the size of the startup, the business plan, the scope of its solution, etc.
How will my startup receive financial support if selected?
The equity-free grant defined for each startup will be delivered to each participating startup in one or several deposits in a specific account to manage these funds. The release of the financial support will be subject to the constant and visible commitment of participating startups and their achievement of goals.
Does my startup have to pay taxes on the financial support?
Financial support is part of a grant from IFAD. The funds will be transferred through German Sparkassenstiftung to each startup and the startups will be responsible for declaring and, if needed, paying any taxes for which they may be liable in relation to such support.