Recently Orange Corners has launched the Orange Corners Innovation Fund (OCIF). The OCIF aims to improve access to finance for early-stage startups that are enrolled in the Orange Corners incubation- and acceleration programmes. The OCIF enables them to scale their business and develop innovative solutions to local challenges that contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). As many early-stage entrepreneurs cannot get access to capital as they are considered too high risk investments for the traditional financial institutions, the OCIF fills a gap by offering Orange Corners entrepreneurs access to early stage funding to develop their idea into a product/proposition that can enter the market.
How does the OCIF work?
Per Orange Corners cohort (normally a six-month programme) per location, 15-20 (aspiring) entrepreneurs will receive an investment of up to €5.000,- (OCIF Track I); consisting of a monthly allowance of approximately €400,- and a voucher of up to €3.000,- which will give them the capital to do their first prototyping/market research/product development/etc.
At the end of each incubation programme each entrepreneur pitches their business plan for the following stage. A professional and independent jury will judge the development and feasibility of each business plan and make a selection of the three to five most promising business plans. Each of these selected entrepreneurs gets access to further startup capital of up to €50.000,- (OCIF Track II). In addition to the startup capital, these selected entrepreneurs will also receive technical assistance by the fund distributor for an eighteen month-period. The startup capital will be distributed in tranches that are linked to pre-defined KPI’s. Periodically, certain KPI’s have to be met by the entrepreneur to qualify for the next tranche of the fund.
The capital provided to the entrepreneurs will be partly a grant and partly a loan. Terms and conditions, such as return percentage and manner of repayment, will vary per country.
Where will the OCIF launch?
The first year following the OCIF’s launch will serve as a pilot year. During this year, the OCIF will be launched in 7 programme countries where an Orange Corners incubation or acceleration programme is running: Morocco, Senegal, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan and Mozambique. These countries have been selected based on policy focus as stipulated by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Following a successful pilot, the OCIF might also be launched in other countries where an Orange Corners incubation programme is already running – or is scheduled to begin.
What are the goals of the OCIF?
- Promote entrepreneurship.
- Promote innovation and the development of innovative solutions to local challenges.
- Eliminate one of the biggest obstacles for the development of early stage startups through giving access to finance.
- Attract a higher quantity and quality of applications for the Orange Corners incubation programme(s).
- Provide a more attractive programme for entrepreneurs and (potential) private sector partners to support.
With the introduction of OCIF, we look forward to further supporting entrepreneurs in turning smart ideas into sustainable businesses.