SAIS, through Botswana Innovation Hub calling for proposals in Botswana

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

The Southern African Innovation Support Programme (SAIS), in conjunction with the Botswana Innovation Hub, which one of SAIS’s local innovation support organisation, is calling for proposals for the 2018/2 SAIS Concept Note.  The government of Botswana is one of the sponsors of the SAIS. SAIS CfP 2018/1/CN for Concept Notes opens on 29 November 2018 and closes on 24 January 2019.  Pre-registration is now open for all interested applicants.    

This second phase of the Southern Africa Innovation Support Programme (SAIS 2) is a regional initiative set up by the ministry of foreign affairs of Finland in partnership with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat and the Government of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania and Zambia.  The objective of SAIS is to support regional innovation cooperation contributing to enhanced entrepreneurship, stronger innovation, ecosystems and more inclusive business, says the SAIS invitation prospective participants.

This SAIS 2 Innovation Fund supports projects which strengthen regional innovation cooperation between public and private sector, research and academia and civil society in the SADC region. The SAIS 2 call for Proposals 2018/2, invites organisations which support innovation and entrepreneurship to submit Concept Note applications for grant funding across these three thematic grant funding windows which are: Stronger ecosystems, Scaling Enterprises and Inclusive Innovation.

SAIS is a regional initiative set up in 2011 to enhance innovation cooperation in Southern Africa by strengthening the national systems. In the first four years (2011-2015) SAIS stimulated regional policymaking on innovation, provided training, created networks and funded projects that piloted new models for innovation support mechanisms. SAIS is in its second phase (2017-2021) and continues to build on previous achievements, funded by governments of Finland, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and the secretariat of the SADC.

According to the organisation’s website, the entity “is set to become a platform for innovation actors in the SADC region, operating in the area of early-stage entrepreneurship and inclusive innovation. The regional dimension enhances sharing of experiences and collaboration to meet common challenges such as poverty and unemployment in the region. By building capacity of innovation support organisations to support entrepreneurs through cross-border pilot projects, SAIS will foster linkages between ecosystems and coordinate regional knowledge sharing.”

SAIS emphasises concrete and practical innovation activities that are delivered on a programmatic basis, with a basic set of common modalities delivered by local organizations. The approach aims to facilitate in-built learning, scalability and replicability post SAIS. The support from SAIS will be afforded to activities laid out in the form of projects with well-defined goals, to be achieved within a set period of time with specific activities and resources, such as finances and labour.

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