Since 2007, Sida has used Challenge Funds as a mechanism for addressing global challenges and creating positive social impact in developing countries. Since then, 13 challenge funds have been delivered (some in multiple rounds), which in turn has helped to support hundreds of businesses and organisations globally to address development challenges. But what is the real impact of this mechanism to date?

Over 2018, Sida commissioned a review of its ten global challenge funds conducted by IPE Triple Line. Initial results of this study were presented in September 2018. In short, the evaluation concluded that Challenge Funds have been an appropriate instrument for addressing development objectives and the intended outcomes for the majority of the funds have been broadly achieved. While specific results of the challenge funds may be possible to measure, it was also recognized that the long-term impact in the community of these investments are more difficult to track. Can awarded companies continue to create meaningful impact once the support from the challenge fund has ended?

We looked closer at three national-based Challenge Funds: the Somali – Swedish Business Programme, the Colombian Innovation for Peace and the Challenge in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After meeting with experts and stakeholders involved in managing these challenge funds, we conducted interviews with 15 challenge fund recipients from these three programmes. These businesses – our so-called “Challenge Champions” – shared their personal stories of how they are continuing to create impact in their communities, and how the support they received from the Sida challenge fund has helped them along the way.

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