Under the Open Window, practitioners can apply for funding to design any blended finance vehicle that addresses a specific development challenge and meets the Open Window eligibility criteria and mission of Convergence.
Please read the following instructions carefully before submitting an application:
- Before drafting a proposal, practitioners must email email@example.com to schedule a brief call with the Convergence team to ensure alignment of objectives and mission. In the email, please include a brief overview of the proposed vehicle and attach relevant documentation (e.g., pitch deck, concept note).
- There are regular quarterly submission deadlines. The deadlines are 28 February, 31 May, 31 August, and 30 November.
- After speaking to the Convergence team, practitioners are encouraged to send a draft proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org at least two weeks before the quarterly submission deadline; Convergence will provide feedback on the draft proposal within five business days.
- Proposals must use the standard feasibility study or proof of concept template.
- Convergence will only consider one application per practitioner per quarter.
- Practitioners can access frequently asked questions here and submit additional questions to email@example.com. Convergence will respond within five business days.
TYPES OF APPLICATIONS
Practitioners can apply for feasibility study or proof of concept funding:
- Feasibility study: Funding to explore the feasibility of the vehicle, particularly ability to attract private investors, as well as to develop the high level vehicle structure. The Open Window will award grants between USD 50,000 and USD 200,000 for feasibility studies. Promising feasibility studies funded through the Open Window will be considered for follow-on proof of concept funding.
- Proof of concept: If a feasibility study (or equivalent) has been completed, funding to complete all design and structuring activities – for example, finalizing the capital structure, establishing the legal structure, and producing key documents – in order to launch the vehicle. The Open Window will award grants between USD 200,000 and USD 750,000 for proof of concept work.
To be eligible for consideration, proposals must meet the following criteria:
- The vehicle must aim to use catalytic capital from public or philanthropic sources to attract private sector investment to emerging markets for global development impact.
- Practitioners can only use funding to design the blended finance vehicle – not for investment capital or to fund operational activities of an already established vehicle. See grant portfolio for examples of previous grants.
- Feasibility study proposals must 1) include an initial vehicle structure and hypothesis, and 2) have initiated engagement with potential funders and relevant stakeholders.
- Proof of concept proposals must 1) detail interest, and ideally commitment to participate, from funders and relevant stakeholders, and 2) include an initial financial model.
- The proposal must detail the development challenge, proposed blended finance vehicle, key risks and mitigation strategies, design activities and costs, and the applicant’s relevant experience.
- Proposals are only accepted from organizations or consortiums of organizations. The lead organization must be able to provide 1) proof of incorporation, and 2) audited financial statements for the previous fiscal year.
- Practitioners awarded funding are expected to regularly report key challenges, learnings, and results. This will be synthesized into a case study, and published to support market-wide learning.
Proposals will be evaluated on the following criteria:
- Scalability and/or replicability: How much private capital does the vehicle aim to catalyze? If the vehicle is successful, can other practitioners use a similar approach?
- Demonstration effect: Is the vehicle testing a never-before-tested design? Is the vehicle replicating an existing approach in a new market? Is the vehicle attracting partners that have not participated in the blended finance space before?
- Development impact: How much social, economic, or environmental impact will the vehicle drive if successful?
- Additionality: Does the vehicle aim to deploy financial instruments that are under-supplied and will therefore catalyze financing with a high degree of additionality? Does the vehicle have strong potential to address a market failure in the short term, and catalyze broader market financing in the long term?
- Stakeholder support: Does the vehicle have the support of key stakeholders in the target region / country (e.g., government)?
- Likelihood to achieve financial close: Is the vehicle likely to attract investors and close within the short or medium term?
- Contributions to portfolio and development risk-return: How does the vehicle contribute to Convergence’s mission and grant portfolio? Does the vehicle represent a strong development risk-return for Convergence (i.e., high risk vehicles should have the potential to achieve significant development impact)?
Convergence accepts applications on a rolling basis and will review them on a quarterly basis, with the aim to award 1-2 grants per quarter. There are two stages to the application process:
- Stage one: Practitioners are first required to submit a proposal using either the feasibility study or proof of concept template. Convergence will review proposals according to the Open Window eligibility and evaluation criteria and select a shortlist of the most promising proposals.
- Stage two: If shortlisted, practitioners will then respond to clarification questions from Convergence and if required, provide additional information. Convergence’s Funding Approval Committee, composed of independent experts, meets every quarter to assess shortlisted proposals and recommend proposals for funding. Convergence’s Board of Directors will then approve funding recommendations.
The timeline below shows the periods proposals must be submitted to be considered for the nearest quarterly review.