WHAT IS THE challenge fund?
The Sèmè City Development Agency (ADSC), in partnership with the World Bank and the National Agency for the Promotion of Heritage and the Development of Tourism (ANPT), is launching a new call for innovation with the Challenge Fund 2. This year, the goal is to connect innovative startups with local communities to improve tourism in Benin.
The first edition of the Challenge Fund took place in 2017 and brought entrepreneurs together to reflect on and innovate in the tourism sector. Following a rigorous selection process, 4 projects were prized at the Innovation Made in Africa Forum (FORIMA). The entrepreneurs who received $ 150,000 are currently supported in the implementation of their prototypes by Incub’IMA, Sèmè City’s first incubator.
This year, 7 local communities in Benin will serve as prime prototyping locations for entrepreneurs to present their innovative ideas for the tourism experience of the future, while taking into consideration the challenges that these local communities face.
Abomey, Cotonou, Porto-Novo, Grand Popo, Ouidah, Nikki and Natitingou will be your labs in this a win-win experiment.
Applications are open until october 14th, 2019.
Numerous participants have manifested their interest in the Challenge Fund 2, and have participated in one our information workshops across the Republic of Benin in order to present the call for innovation in the tourism sector. We are delighted with the enthusiasm for this innovation challenge.
These information sessions were an occasion to hear very beautiful ideas of projects that unfortunately did not fit into the proposed thematics.
Since we are convinced that the tourism sector in the Republic of Benin will benefit from such projects, we have decided to extend de submission delay for applications in order to give these creative project leaders the opportunity to apply to the Challenge Fund 2.
As a result, applications for the Challenge Fund 2 will be extended until October 14, 2019.
The 7 selected local communities remain the proprietary experiment territories of the Challenge Fund 2, nevertheless all projects which can which can be declined indifferently in all the local communities of the Republic of Benin will be studied. This is why we have added an “other” option in the drop down menu in section 4 of the application form.
Young entrepreneurs and SMEs, have you imagined…
An immersive experience in the royal palaces of Abomey?
A circular economy approach for waste management?
A traveling tourism office bringing offers closer to consumers?
A collaborative platform for service providers in the tourism chain?
An unforgettable gastronomic experience?
…. or any other innovative concept?
This Challenge is for you!
WHAT CAN I WIN ?
Selected projects will receive up to $ 250,000 in funding, earn a spot in Sèmè City’s first incubator, Incub’IMA, and gain access to a wide range of experts and resources.
Still hesitating? Don’t worry! An application Helpdesk offering workshops and mentoring sessions will be conducted by experts from various backgrounds to help you throughout the application process.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Candidates may apply with a project in the conception phase. Projects selected in the “young entrepreneurs” category will receive USD 5,000 in initial funding and will have to participate in a three-month pre-incubation program, onsite at Sèmè City in Cotonou, to define and/or refine their prototype.
Applicants are not required to have a registered company in order to participate in the Challenge Fund 2. However, if the project is selected, and in order to receive funding, the company will have to be registered in Benin.
Once the application is submitted, the project holder can no longer change.
If the project is selected, the project holder will have to remain the same throughout the application process as well as during pre-incubation and incubation at Sèmè City. The Challenge Fund rewards not only the innovation behind the proposed concept but also the adequacy of the project holder’s skills with the project.
Each Challenge Fund 2 laureate will receive up to USD 250,000 in funding, depending on the project’s progress, scope, and potential. Winners will also earn a spot in Incub’IMA, Sèmè City’s first incubator, to support their project’s development.
If selected, the project holder will not only have to contribute financially but also respect the following thresholds:
- For young entrepreneurs with projects in the conception or prototyping phase: a minimum of 15% of the financing requested in the Challenge Fund 2
- For SMEs operating (or not) in the tourism industry: a minimum of 30% of the financing requested in the Challenge Fund 2
Funding obtained from the Challenge Fund 2 shall only be used for the prototyping phase
(equipment purchase, hiring of service providers, training, business trips, etc.). During the
prototyping phase, the project’s operating costs (project holder and team salary, daily
transportation expenses, personal expenses, other operating expenses, etc.) shall be exclusively
supported by the project holder and his/her personal contribution and/or other complementary
sources of funding.
Winners are required to attend Sèmè City’s programs in Cotonou, for a period of 3 months for pre-incubation and 12 months for incubation.
Pre-incubation is subject to a program fee of FCFA 50,000 FCFA which will be deducted from the 5,000 $ initial funding.
Incubation is subject to a program fee of FCFA 1,000,000 which will be deducted from the funding received.
Although the Challenge Fund 2 is open to both national and international candidates, laureates are required to be physically present in Benin for a period of three (3) to twelve (12) months in order to participate in Sèmè City’s incubation program for the development of their prototype, and must be able to cover their living expenses during that time.
The Challenge Fund 2 is open to both national and international candidates. However, the goal of the Challenge Fund is to develop and improve a thriving and wealth-creating tourism industry in Benin. Therefore, if the project is selected, the project-bearing legal entity will have to be registered in Benin and will have to create jobs in Benin.
Given that they will be responsible for many activities of civilian life, such as signing a contract, applicants must be at least 18 years old on the day they apply.
In order to qualify for the Challenge Fund 2, projects must address one of the priority challenges identified by communities and local actors.
Applicants are required to select one challenge only. A project’s success lies in part in its leader’s 100% commitment: the Challenge Fund is no exception.
The prototype must be based in the local community that identifies with the challenge selected. The
goal of the prototyping phase is to test the adequacy of the proposed solutions (physical product,
service and/or digital solution) with the priority challenges identified, improve these solutions
according to the first results, and thus increase the likelihood that a large-scale launch will succeed
in the domestic, regional, or even international market.
Meetings will be organized with local communities and actors so that they may discuss their context and issues with entrepreneurs.
However, the submitted project must specifically address one of the priority challenges identified by local communities and actors in the context of the Challenge Fund 2.
The application to the Challenge Fund 2 is free.
The Challenge Fund 2 application deadline is Monday, October 14, 2019 at 11:59 PM Cotonou time (GMT +1). Past this date, applications will no longer be accepted. Please use this link to apply.
Workshops and mentoring sessions will be offered in the upcoming weeks to help candidates with their applications. Sign-up for the application helpdesk here.