Finture Solutions: Driving innovation in emerging markets
The importance of having access to energy, clean water, and food and the impact innovative technologies and business models can generate is hard to overestimate. That’s why FMO, the Dutch Development Bank, wants to find and support startups and scaleups from the Netherlands that bring these absolute necessities to emerging economies.
Since 1970, FMO has been a driving force behind investments empowering local entrepreneurs in emerging markets. FMO focuses on the private sector in three industries: Energy, Financial Institutions and Agribusiness, Food & Water. By financing and advising its clients, FMO helps to create decent work opportunities, increase economic growth, reduce inequalities and support climate action.
At Rockstart, we are extremely honored to partner with FMO in this challenge. In early April, we opened applications for Finture Solutions, a startup competition with a total amount of prize money of over €600,000, for Dutch companies that operate in the emerging markets. With two weeks to go before the applications close, you still have a chance to get development capital of up to €125,000 for your organization!
“Startups and scaleups need to go through a lot of different and capital intensive phases in order to grow,” explained Noortje Magis, Business Development Manager at NL Business. “They need to test their products, expand their business to new markets and hire good people to realize their ambitions. If you really want to launch a good business, you need to test and try out your products; that just requires a lot of money.”
Finture Solutions is looking to bridge the funding gap for Dutch startups in emerging markets that drive growth as well as local impact. FMO’s strategy is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, including Zero Hunger, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, and more. For the current call, Finture Solutions focuses on the latter three goals, which translate into the domains of Agrifood, Clean Energy, and Water.
The lack of (reliable) energy continues to hold back social and economic development in emerging markets. While FMO has a long history of investing in energy generation in emerging markets, it has also increasingly become involved in the off-grid sector.
Off-grid solutions play a key role in the transition to decentralized energy generation and provide energy to the bottom of the pyramid. For Finture Solutions, we are looking for products that contribute to improving electrification in emerging markets.
The examples of what we’re looking for include mini-grids, off-grid enablers (both software and hardware), renewable energy generation systems for home use, innovation in energy storage, servicing and maintenance of clean energy systems, and so on.
Although vastly different in various parts of the world, the emerging markets have some similarities. One of them is that everything that has to do with water traditionally belongs to the public sector, which means that the operators and decision-makers tend to be quite risk averse. That’s why it often requires a disruptive startup to push innovation and drive positive change in the local ecosystem.
FMO already has many partnerships in the Dutch water sector, which could help the winning startups to grow their technology. For Finture Solutions, we’re looking for products in the categories like water and wastewater management, supply and sanitation, infrastructural projects, desalination, and quality assurance.
In the selection process, we’ll always prioritize long-term solutions that can potentially create a sustainable business case in the water domain. In addition to that, a successful demo in a developing country would certainly move the applicant to the top of the list.
Food and Agriculture
The agricultural industry is a holistic system. In this domain, we don’t pinpoint any niches that Finture Solutions would be interested but are looking for products across the board, including both upstream and downstream activities. Our areas of interest include resource efficiency technologies, waste conversion, smart analytics in land management, reduction of pesticides, processing and packaging, distribution and logistics, mapping of suppliers, etc.
Across the most important domains in the emerging markets, Finture Solutions is in a unique position to support startups and scaleups that are driving a positive change in the world. No one in the world should be denied clean water, food, and access to energy sources. Here’s to innovators who quite literally make the world a better place — and we’re always excited to help.
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