Botswana Digital & Innovation Hub is mandated to coordinate the establishment of a functional and integrated national innovation ecosystem. Key to this, is the creation of Innovation Fund that promotes innovation through provision of seed funding to innovative projects.
In addition, the Innovation Fund serves to encourage companies awarded funding to transfer skills to citizen employees by providing cash grants to be utilized for institutional training and on the job training programmes.
The Minister (MoTE) has appointed the Botswana Innovation Fund (BIF) Committee members to have oversight on implementation of the fund.
The Committee consists of independent members of the public from Private Sector and the business community. The Botswana Digital & Innovation Hub (Secretariat) has established a Fund Administration Office and will act as the secretariat for the fund.
The Fund provides funding to Private Sector companies that are domiciled in Botswana. All recipients of the Fund are automatically accepted as BDIH members to be in alignment with the Fund Order.
The Fund provides for costs that are directly related to the development of a new product, process or new technical services which surpass existing products, processes or technical services in terms of their functions, parameters or features. Refer to Eligible and Non-Eligible Costs in the Botswana Innovation Fund Guidelines.
- Mining Technologies –The mining technology is focused on facilitating joint research and development in mining and related technologies focusing on technology providers as well as business development in exploration, geology, mining, ore processing and mineral beneficiation technologies. Key Projects include, value adding solutions in the sector are technology enablers which effectively address productions costs, safety, efficiency and innovative processes.
- Clean Technologies –The sector focusses on catalysing activities relating to Clean Technologies; renewable energy and environmental research; development and commercial activities within those areas. It emphasises environmental sustainability, renewable energy, cleaner coal, water conservation and waste management (water and energy).
- Agricultural and Health Technologies (Biotechnology) – The sector focuses on catalysing more commercial business in the areas of Agriculture and Health. Opportunities include support towards new products development, testing and manufacturing with special emphasis on addressing cross cutting issues of food Security and Health. Key projects include but not limited to new food and nutrition products, additives, supplements, and snacks
- Information and Communications technologies (ICT)– A unique platform that enables ICT growth through research and development, ICT development and commercial business activities. Activities in ICT like software development, voice and data networks, business process automation, applications development for transport, finance, business. Targeted solutions in the manufacturing, transport, fintech, Agribusiness among others. The solutions must be aligned to the national clusters of the economy, e.g. finance and Knowledge Intensive Business Systems (Finance and Knowledge Intensive Business Systems), Agriculture/Beef, Tourism, Manufacturing and Services. These may demonstrate technology uptake through relevant and available technologies, including the use of big data, artificial intelligence, blockchain technologies and Internet of Things (IoT).
- Indigenous Knowledge Systems (Alternative medicine and supplementary nutrition products based on local plant and animal material, including medicinal solutions) targeted solutions and products based on inclusive innovation processes supporting grassroots innovations.
- Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS) – The Focus of value-added business services including consultancies, providing specialised solutions. Targeting specialised services that enable the above solutions e.g. project management processes.
All applicants should complete an application form on the Jot Form Portal. Applications will not be received by hand or email.
- A company may only have 1 (one) active project with BIF at a time.
- A company may submit only 1 (one) application at a time.
Yes. Once you are in receipt of an unsuccessful application letter and feedback you may submit an application if the feedback offered gave room for a resubmission.
The Fund currently has no limit per project. Funds will only be provided for eligible costs.
The following are Required
- Market Need
- Value Proposition (a clear path towards operationalizing the product on-the-ground)
- Team Composition and Roles
- Customer Validation
- Clear Revenue Streams
- Alignment with Key Govt Objective/National Need
- Social Impact Identify a specific problem/challenge statement or need
- Articulation of proposed solution and approach
The following are Preferred
- Projects that present a clear strategy for bridging the gap between innovation and the end users, including through productive approaches and end-user consultations
- Involvement of research or other partners in Botswana
- New partnerships to develop cross sectoral and collaborative teams (including members from the public, private, NGO and academic sectors)
- Encouraging training and capacity development
- Development of open access data, products, tools and approaches
- Open source technological solutions that are simple and replicable are encouraged
- Ability to leverage other projects and investment to deliver greater impact
A BDIH team checks the applications for Compliance before allocating them to an Independent team of experts from industry and academia that are approved by the Botswana Innovation Fund Committee.
The following cash grants are available to augment product or process development:
- (i) institutionalised training, and/or
- (ii) approved on the job training programmes.
The Funds are accessed through a prepaid milestone-based approach. Milestones are audited before further disbursements are made.
A company that has completed its previously funded project and has reached the objectives for the said project is eligible to apply for Funding.
The Fund has two processes for obtaining applications:
- Calls for Proposals: Deadlines will be as indicated on the respective call
- There are no deadlines. This is a Rolling basis application approach meaning that the Fund accepts applications continuously.
The Fund offers a Conditional Grant. The following conditions apply in respect of the conditional grant:
- If the project is successfully developed and commercialised, the recipient is required to pay a nominal amount to the Fund, not exceeding 50% over an agreed period that will not impede the growth of the business.
- If the project is successfully developed, and the recipient has discharged all their obligations in respect of the Project as agreed in the Grant Agreement, but the project is not successfully commercialised; the Recipient is not required to repay the nominal fee.
- If the recipient has not discharged all their obligations in respect of the Project as agreed in the Grant Agreement, and the project is not successfully commercialised; the Recipient is required to repay a portion of the grant.
Whilst the turnaround times may slightly differ, the guidance below is indicative of the process and related turnaround times: