1. WHAT IS THE DURATION OF THE TRANSFORM PROGRAMME?
The programme is 12-18 months long; however, it will vary from case to case based on the needs of the enterprise.
2. WHAT IS THE STRUCTURE OF THE PROGRAMME?
TRANSFORM will extend bespoke business support and access to Unilever’s value chain and resource network to the selected enterprises for scaling up their operations during the acceleration period. The duration of the support will depend on the need of each enterprise. A project lead from Unilever will be mapped to each of the enterprises throughout the acceleration period. Also, interspersed through the programme shall be opportunities to interact with external stakeholders, funders and mentors from within TRANSFORM.
Programme structure details will be shared in advance with the winners.
1. WHO CAN APPLY FOR THE TRANSFORM CLIMATE CHALLENGE?
TRANSFORM, in collaboration with the Climate Innovation Fund, aims to identify and support sustainable technologies and solutions that work on at least one of the following,
- Improve the collection and processing of plastic waste, while integrating informal waste workers into the value chain
- Implement innovative technologies/business models to enhance recycling capabilities for plastic waste, particularly for flexible plastics
Additionally, applications for projects must meet all of the following criteria:
1. Alignment with impact and geographic priorities
- Have a clear potential to create positive impact on low-income people’s lives
- Be implemented in Bangladesh.
- Demonstrate at least one of the following: female ownership, local ownership, a focus on the very poor/marginalised or an intention to expand to fragile contexts (including those caused by climate change).
2. Innovative approach to tackling social problems
- Propose a project which represents a new technology, business model or approach. This could involve taking a proven business model to a new market.
- Demonstrate how TRANSFORM plays a catalytic role in the testing and scaling the innovation.
- Be willing to share learnings for the public good and disseminate learnings.
Note, intellectual property (IP) generated from the projects will be owned by the impact enterprise. Unilever, the UK Government’s FCDO, and EY do not have exclusive use of this intellectual property. Only in the case that IP be abandoned or not used to benefit low-income communities, Unilever will take a worldwide, transferable license over the IP to transfer it to another party to use it to benefit low-income people.
3. Market-based solutions with the potential to reach operational sustainability.
- Demonstrate a clear pathway for the proposed project to be commercially viable at scale, with assumptions which can be tested through the project.
- Show how TRANSFORM support unlocks resources/follow-on funding from other sources.
- The application must come from a registered enterprise, not an NGO.
- The enterprise must have sufficient capacity and maturity to effectively deliver the project and to absorb the financing and in-kind support provided. This will be reviewed considering the amount requested up to £70,000.
4. Strong leadership and networks
- A commercially savvy CEO and/or leadership team who demonstrates personal commitment to the project.
- A strong network of public, private and/or non-profit partners with evidenced traction relating to the proposed project.
5. Clear value-add from partnering with TRANSFORM
- Enterprises must be able to clearly articulate the value of partnering with Unilever, the UK Government’s FCDO and EY – particularly considering the value of business support, in addition to grant funding.
- They must have the potential to operate in areas relevant to Unilever’s expertise and capability and where Unilever can add value. Unilever can offer expertise in marketing, behaviour change, distribution and provide a test environment for innovations in their value chain with smallholder farmers, suppliers, manufacturing and small retailers. Unilever is interested in how impact enterprises can provide new routes to market, become suppliers, incubate innovation and create purpose-driven brand stories. This test bed provides evidence both for Unilever specifically and for a generic corporate setting, and TRANSFORM encourages enterprises to forge partnerships both with Unilever and other corporates.
- Through TRANSFORM, EY professionals provide technical business support to impact enterprises on a not-for-profit basis, helping tackle specific scale challenges. EY provides coaching and consulting services on a range of topics including building/testing a commercial model, investment readiness, people and HR strategy, customer strategy and more.
2. IS THE CHALLENGE OPEN FOR INTERNATIONAL ENTERPRISES?
No, only enterprises registered in Bangladesh with more than 51% shareholding by Bangladeshi promoters are eligible to apply for the programme.
3. IS THERE ANY PREFERENCE FOR A PARTICULAR TYPE OF INNOVATION?
Applicants with technology-based solutions solving the pressing climate issues are encouraged to apply. Innovations can be a product or a service but must be aligned to the focus areas outlined in the programme. Innovations must have a high social impact potential for low income households including women waste workers.
4. HOW WILL THE SELECTION PROCESS WORK?
Applications will be received from November 1st 2023 until December 15th 2023. Completed applications will be put through an initial screening process. Once the initial screening is complete, the shortlisted enterprises will be guided by leaders from Unilever Bangladesh to prepare for a final pitch session. This final pitch will be evaluated by a grand jury that will take place in January 2024.
5. WILL I BE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE FUNDING FROM THE CLIMATE INNOVATION FUND UPON SELECTION?
Selected applicants may be eligible to receive additional funding under the Climate Innovation Fund. Funding will be subject to due diligence and based on mutual agreement on terms of engagement.
1. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS I CAN AVAIL FROM THE TRANSFORM PROGRAMME?
The selected enterprises will receive:
- Financial support: A grant of up to £70,000. The grant will be provided for operational expenses and bringing about behaviour change, etc. It will not cover capital expenses.
- Market Access and Scale up support:
- Opportunities to work with various functions across the value chain of Unilever.
- Workshops with experts, specialists, and sector leaders for developing the product market fit and go-to-market strategy.
- Access to TRANSFORM and its partners’ wide network of public/private organisations and facilitation of introduction, where required.
- Fundraising support: Access to TRANSFORM’s large and diverse investor and donor network.
- Networking Opportunity: Exposure to the wider network of stakeholders (corporates, government agencies, international development agencies, etc) as well as high visibility opportunities offered by TRANSFORM through its partners like Unilever, the UK Government’s FCDO, and EY.
- Knowledge Services:
- Curated set of capacity building and knowledge sessions with qualified industry experts to augment understanding of product – market fit.
- Monitoring and evaluation technical assistance to evidence socio-economic impact.
2. DO I HAVE TO BE PHYSICALLY PRESENT FOR ANY COHORT-BASED SESSIONS?
While certain events will need selected enterprises to be physically present, the participants will have the option of attending the webinars/ sessions online. Details of the events will be shared in advance.
3. IS MENTORING FOR SELECTED ENTERPRISES PAID OR FREE?
Mentoring, as part of the continuous engagement with the selected applicants, will be provided free of charge. Some mentor support, particularly from the internal ecosystem, comes pro-bono, however, some mentors and their advisory support may have a notional or actual cost. Participation in specialised/additional events could be subject to a nominal fee.
4. HOW FREQUENTLY WILL TRANSFORM INTERFACE WITH THE SELECTED ENTERPRISES DURING THE SCALE UP SUPPORT?
There will be regular interface between the selected enterprises and the Project Lead from Unilever at least on a fortnightly basis. Each enterprise will be allocated a Project Lead to help with customised requests who will continually and regularly engage with the enterprises.
WHAT ARE THE IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER DURING THE SELECTION PROCESS?
- Applications open: November 1st, 2023
- Application deadline: December 15th, 2023
- First round of evaluations: By December 31st, 2023
- Grand Jury round: January 2024
- Announcement of selected enterprises: April 2024