Growth Stage Impact Ventures for SDGs: 2020 Call for Nominations. Deadline – July 15, 2020

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The Growth Stage Impact Ventures for SDGs (GSIV) is a selection process organized by UNDP, EPFL Tech4Impact, Orange, and SAP, that aims to identify 12 mature impact ventures in low and middle-income countries with a catalytic potential that can drive both large impact and yield. The selected impact ventures will be invited to pitch during the SDG Finance Geneva Summit, which will occur in the first quarter of 2021. Ventures will receive a great amount of exposure before and during the event, and access to a wide network of decision-makers interested in learning more about their innovation and plans to scale up.

The SDG Finance Geneva Summit (SGS Geneva) is an initiative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to promote SDGs aligned investments.

The event promotes best in class, catalytic and bankable innovation from developing countries that focuses on reducing inequality through better access to health and energy services and on supporting the circular economy by reducing and recovering waste. Twelve advanced growth stage entrepreneurs – sourced through global accelerators, impact funds, family offices, and venture philanthropists – will pitch products and services that advance the implementation of the SDGs.

An invitation-only event, the SDG Finance Geneva Summit offers unique and valuable networking opportunities. Some 250 participants are due to attend, including innovative start-ups, impact investors, development finance actors, Fortune 500 representatives, development agencies, and more. In the past, more than 100 investors participated.


The selection process consists of four stages:

  1. Initial screening to verify compliance with minimum eligibility criteria;
  2. Shortlisting of 24 impact ventures (8 per theme) based on the information provided by third-party nominators;
  3. Evaluation by a Technical Committee of the in-depth profiles of shortlisted ventures with the objective of narrowing down the list to a maximum of 12 recommended ventures (4 per theme). The Technical Committee comprises representatives from international organizations, large corporations, academia, investors and thematic experts;
  4. Final selection of the 12 ventures by an Advisory Board composed of UN experts and academia. The Advisory Board can decide to recommend fewer ventures.




  • Selected impact ventures will be invited to pitch during the SDG Finance Geneva Summit 2021.
  • They will receive broad exposure before and during the event, and access to a wide network of decision-makers interested in learning more about their innovations and plans to scale up.
  • They will have access to a prepping program and benefit from a package of services provided by the SDG Finance Geneva Summit’s partners including a one-on-one introduction to decision-makers to scale up their products offering.
  • Their travel costs will be covered (flight and per diem).


Enterprises with the following profile:

  • An established business model and strong financial track record (based on number of clients, break-even, valuation, and turnover);
  • An innovative technology, business model, or process with a strong competitive advantage (Intellectual property, clear unique selling proposition, uniqueness factor);
  • Closed a Series A deal (valued at US$500,000 or more) or reached break-even through organic growth;
  • Had their accounts audited;
  • Retained a solid team with complementary competencies to run and grow a business;
  • An impact-driven model—meaning that the venture aims to generate a measurable, positive social or environmental impact, with impact measurement metrics and/or key performance indicators in place;
  • Mission driven enterprises (possibly within by-laws);
  • Contributed to or have the potential to contribute to the achievement of more than one SDG, in an integrated way;
  • Followed an inclusive business model with products and services that involve people at the bottom of the economic pyramid (BoP) — namely people with less than US$10 per day (in purchasing power measured in 2015 US dollars) or other excluded or vulnerable groups—as consumers, producers, suppliers, distributors, and employees;
  • Demonstrated that they are scalable at the regional, continental, or cross-sectoral level.
  • Finalists in the 2019 GSIV selection process are ineligible in 2020.
  • Only ventures headquartered in developing countries, with a workforce primarily based in developing countries and providing products and services to developing countries will be eligible for the selection. In this case, by “developing countries” they mean countries where GDP per capita is less than USD 12,000 a year according to World Bank data.
  • The GSIV Initiative will strive to select winners from all regions and from least developed countries (LDCs).
  • Download the Call for Nominations 2020 with the full list of eligibility criteria. UNDP believes these entrepreneurs will bring evidence that doing good and doing well is already happening in developing countries.

Eligible Regions: Open for all


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