For the fourth time, Slovak companies have the opportunity to participate in the Slovak Challenge Fund (SCF) and offer their innovative solution to a development topic in four countries.
The SCF aims to find solutions in Slovakia that have the potential to help with specific development goals. “The global trend in increasing the impact of development activities is to leverage private finance. UNDP and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic are aware of this, which is why the Slovak Challenge Fund was established. It is one way of motivating the private sector to develop its business and offer innovative ideas to other countries,” says Maroš Mitrík, Director of the Department of Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic.
Only Slovak entrepreneurs can apply for support. In order for the innovation to continue to be used in the country after the successful launch of the product, service, programme or technology, the applicant must work with a local partner on the project. . This year, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia have been added to the existing destination countries of Moldova and Northern Macedonia.
“The Fund has only been in existence for a few years and has already succeeded, for example, in testing how remote patient monitoring can help improve the health of particularly vulnerable groups, or how fungi as living organisms can be used to clean the soil. We believe that the number of applications this year will be further proof that Slovakia has a lot to offer to developing countries,” says Viktória Mlynarčíková, Project Manager of the Slovak Challenge Fund, UNDP.
Applicants can submit proposals on improving energy efficiency, promoting societal resilience in current crises, sustainable use of natural resources, innovations in agriculture or improving e-government.
Each selected project can receive up to $40,000 in funding. The condition is that at least 20% of the total project budget is covered by the applicant’s financial or in-kind contribution.
Since 2020, the Slovak Challenge Fund has helped to implement 11 innovation projects in Moldova and Northern Macedonia. They are presented in more detail on the SCF website.
What is the Slovak Challenge Fund?
The Slovak Challenge Fund was established in December 2019 as part of a broader partnership between the Slovak Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and UNDP for effective solutions in the field of development cooperation. Through it, entrepreneurs in Slovakia can receive direct support for innovative solutions that will contribute to development in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Moldova, Northern Macedonia and Serbia.