Step 1: Learn about DIV and decide whether it's right for youReview our website, including the DIV model and different stages of funding. Review the Annual Program Statement (APS) before submitting an application through our online portal. You can also browse current and past winners in our portfolio. Only applicants that demonstrate a full understanding of DIV’s evaluation criteria will be considered for funding. Reviewing all of these resources before submitting your application is critical. DIV receives over 1,000 applications each year.
Step 2: Submit your application to DIV at any time
Prepare your application by using the sample application (in Word format) to work on your application offline. Once ready, submit your application through our online portal below. In response to various questions, describe the problem, proposed solution, expected activities and outcomes, evaluation plan, and project team. Applications are accepted and evaluated on a rolling basis, year-round. Applicants will receive a response to this initial application within 1-2 months of submission.
Step 3: Participate in the DIV due diligence process
A select group of applicants pass the initial review and move onto the due diligence stage. During this phase, applicants will have the opportunity to pitch their proposal for the DIV team to better understand the proposed solution. The DIV team may conduct additional interviews, request supplementary materials, contact references or partners, engage other USAID or external experts, and gather any other information to fully evaluate the application. The due diligence process takes 2-5 months, depending on a variety of factors, such as the proposal’s technical complexity.
Step 4: Negotiate and finalize the grant award
After collecting sufficient information, the DIV team will convene a technical evaluation committee. If the panel makes a funding recommendation, the applicant will receive an official "Notice of Intent to Award." Once recommended for funding, you enter the process to negotiate and finalize the grant award, primarily involving USAID’s Office of Acquisition and Assistance (OAA) and the DIV team. In addition to completing various materials required by the Agency, an important part of this process is negotiating the project milestones that will structure the award payments. DIV provides funding only when specific results and milestones are achieved. The process to negotiate and finalize the award can take 3-5 months.
Step 5: Receive DIV funding!
Once OAA determines that all requirements are met, OAA will award the grant. From the date you submit an application to the date of award finalization, the process can vary between 6 to 12 months.
Tips for Applicants
What We Typically Do Not Fund
  • Development interventions with limited potential to scale, cost-effectiveness, or impact (e.g., building schools)
  • Innovations that lack a focus on base-of-the-pyramid users or customers
  • Intermediaries (e.g., incubators, accelerators, conveners)
  • Basic scientific research
  • Planning or diagnostic tools that are difficult to tie directly to measurable development impacts
  • Innovations with limited application to other contexts
  • Innovations with an unclear theory of change

Present a clear theory of change

DIV wants to clearly understand what development impacts the solution will achieve - such as higher income or lower mortality rates. Even early-stage innovations should have an evidence-informed theory of change.

Tell us the long-term plan for your solution
We care about pathways to scale and sustainability. The strongest applications lay out a roadmap for how their solution will reach the maximum number of people affected by a problem and continue to serve these people beyond DIV support. This roadmap includes not just how the solution will be funded in the long-term (through revenue generation or public-sector support like a developing country government), but also how the organization and its operations will evolve to sustain the solution at scale.

Provide a thoughtful, honest analysis of the competitive landscape

We look for an honest assessment of what makes yours better and more cost-effective than alternatives. The point of comparison is any alternative ways of achieving the development outcomes you claim; this means you should be thinking of your competition as all the products, services, and approaches that can achieve the development outcome you care about, even if the product, service, or approach is unlike yours. If you think you have no competition, you don’t fully understand your customers or beneficiaries and/or don’t fully understand your market.

Be specific and detailed about the problem and the solution

A broad understanding of the problem you will address is great. Even better is an understanding of the potential impact on the specific setting of the proposed activities (or the smallest unit of analysis that includes that setting).

Tell us what it costs to deliver your solution

We can’t think about unit economics and cost-effectiveness without understanding costs. Strong applicants include all costs, from production to implementation. If you don’t know how much it costs, estimate and be clear about the assumptions that form your estimate. 

About Development Innovation Ventures (DIV)
Development Innovation Ventures is USAID's evidence-driven open innovation program. We test and scale breakthrough solutions to impact millions of lives at a fraction of the usual cost.