ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

Applications open for East African Aquaculture Innovation Fund

3 September 2021, at 12:01pm
Msingi is offering around $10,000 to each successful applicant
Msingi is offering around $10,000 to each successful applicant

© Msingi

A new fund with the goal of supporting private sector-driven innovations which can improve productivity throughout the aquaculture value-chain has been launched by Msingi – an independent industry development organisation that supports the transformation of high potential industries in East Africa.

Called the Aquaculture Innovation Fund, it has been established to reduce the high risks associated with innovation which are a barrier to private sector investment in testing new technologies and approaches in aquaculture.

Applications are open until 30 September for aquaculture-related innovations which are focused on improving productivity of the aquaculture industry in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda. The fund is not limited to technology but can also be innovations in knowledge or practice.

“There are two types of innovations which can qualify for support; those applying new ideas/testing pilots, and those transferring or modifying existing technologies which already work elsewhere,” explained Msingi in a press release.

“This fund is open to supporting innovations which are clearly new to East Africa-based organisations, not copies of what other firms in the region are doing. The amount of funding provided as a grant to successful applicants will be an average of around USD 10,000. Msingi will require applicants to pay a share of the total costs of the innovation trial. The level of cost-share offered by the applicant will be part of the evaluation criteria but should ideally be around 50 percent,” the development organisation added.

Evaluation criteria and application process

Innovations that Msingi considers for support must have the potential to improve productivity of fish farms and affect many players in the value-chain in the long-term.

Productivity is defined here as either a cost-reduction or increase in production using the same resources. The innovations should not be limited to benefiting individual firms, but the wider industry at large.

Through this fund Msingi is promoting sharing of knowledge and will therefore look to support innovations which do not have stringent IP rights to limit access of others. Firms will be required to share a brief write up which explains the innovation and the key learnings from the testing phase within 6 months of completion of the Msingi-supported testing phase.

Msingi will publish this write-up on its website.

Proposals are to be clear and concise, in the form of a concept note which only covers the information that is absolutely necessary at a maximum of three pages, including the budget.

A judging panel consisting of two members of the Msingi team, and an external aquaculture expert has been formed to assess proposals. The fund will be competitive, with only the strongest proposals selected for support by Msingi.

All proposals will be assessed against the criteria listed below:

1. Is the idea presented in the proposal innovative i.e. new to the East African aquaculture industry?
2. What is the impact potential of the new innovation? To be measured by increases in long-term productivity.
3. Strength of the management team – does the team directly managing the innovation pilot have the capacity to implement it?
4. What is the scalability of the innovation? i.e. how much wider benefit can the innovation bring to the aquaculture industry and other stakeholders?
5. Sustainability – what is the viability of the business
model/economics, and is there a clear pathway for commercial uptake and financial sustainability after the initial Msingi
funding?
6. What is the level of impact on the environment, the local community, other local stakeholders?
7. Budget – is the budget reasonable for the stated cost items? Does the project represent good value for money as an investment? Does the budget specifically cover all the activities and costs in the application?
8. What is the additionality of Msingi funding? Explain clearly why Msingi funding is necessary for the innovation and cannot be accessed elsewhere.
9. Project maturity – How long will it take until the innovation can create value by improving productivity?

Selected proposals will go through a standard due diligence process to assess the innovative concept itself, the budget, the business model, and the reputation and experience of the management team.

Required information

Proposals should include:

1. Name of the applicants and business name (if existing)
2. A clear explanation of the innovation and how it meets the criteria above
3. Proposed timeline
4. Proposed budget for the innovation which should provide as much detail as possible on specific anticipated cost items including activities.
5. Brief description of the team
6. Description of how the applicant will monitor the success of the innovation test including three to four key performance indicators (KPIs).

The information should be submitted to both below contacts who can also be contacted for any further questions or queries:

Tito Mbathi
Msingi East Africa LTD
tito.mbathi@msingi.com

Rachael Gachui
Msingi East Africa LTD
rachael.gachui@msingi.com

Senior editor at The Fish Site

Rob Fletcher has been writing about aquaculture since 2007, as editor of Fish Farmer, Fish Farming Expert and The Fish Site. He has an MA in history from the University of Edinburgh and an MSc in sustainable aquaculture from the University of St Andrews. He currently lives and works in Scotland.

More from this author