What is the Sahaj Challenge Fund?

It is a mechanism by which NAMDP can engage with private sector organisations to solve persistent bottlenecks which hamper their functioning in the agri-sector. Using various support modalities, the CF allows NAMDP to assist the organisations to overcome identified systemic constraints or address issues around systemic constraints.

How can I check if my application is aligned with the SCF 3 funding criteria?

Organisations are requested to read and understand the information pack before submitting their application. The information pack gives guideline on how proposals would meet the funding criteria. Also, the applicants can submit their queries regarding the challenge fund at sahajchallengefund@gmail.com or contact us at: +977 9802346066 / 9802346067. Details of focal points are shared at the end of this section.

What kind of projects will be funded?

Round 4 of the challenge fund will be directed at private service providers of product development and quality improvement services, whereas Round 5 will be directed at private service providers and agribusiness for services related to climate aspects in the four value chains. Solutions/projects should support the long-term, sustainable solutions in the respective theme. Projects will have to be implemented in the Koshi Province and should have an impact and GESI component.

When can I submit the application?

Applications can be submitted from the day SCF publishes the call for proposals. Tentative last date of application is 23 July 2023.

Where can I submit the application form?

The application form is available at the official website: sahajcf.com. You may also download the form and have it filled and submit via email: sahajchallengefund@gmail.com or physically at our assigned locations. You can also get them from the project focal points on request. You are requested to follow the template of the application strictly. If there is any confusion, the focal points will help you. Not following the template may result in disqualification.

Who can submit applications?

  • Organisations operating and registered in Nepal can submit the application to work in the Koshi Province
  • Operate in the selected or related field/theme for at least 1 year, or have a credible business idea and plan to form a business
  • Start-ups that have minimum viable product, and solid business model and are looking to accelerate
  • Be financially sustainable (i.e., cashflow positive) or demonstrate a credible business plan/projection towards financial sustainability over the next three to five years
  • In case of an existing business, be registered at the company registrar and tax office and up to date on their registrations and tax duties
  • Be able to demonstrate internal procedures and systems to ensure that the grant can be used transparently and efficiently
  • Be able to demonstrate their capacity to provide the funds budgeted for their own contribution.

My project is already in operation, can I apply for upgrading this project or does it have to be a new and innovative idea?

Yes, you can. You can apply to upscale and expand your operation to different areas. In this case, you need to justify that there is evidence that the project is worthy of up-scaling. What is considered innovative in the Koshi Province may have been implemented in other countries (or even other regions of Nepal). The concept of innovation is defined as a product, packaging, business model, delivery model or service that has not yet been implemented in this form in the Koshi Province. Please refer guiding principles of information pack for further information.

How much is the maximum available fund to support my project?

The largest fund awards are not expected to exceed NPR 5 million, although exceptions are possible if approved by the SCF Committee. No fund award shall be less than NPR 500K to manage the administrative workload involved in each individual engagement. If technical assistance is required, the fund awards will also include the cost of TA.

Can I use the funds to buy fixed assets such as equipment and machineries?

For Round 4, SCF will not finance balance sheet items such as infrastructure, vehicles, equipment and machineries.

However for Round 5, 30% of the support received from SCF can be used for investment in equipment and machineries. Beyond this amount investment in machinery and equipment will have to be done by the applicants themselves. Since SCF prioritizes service provision and technical support , this will cover a large proportion of the investment. Applicants with the lowest percentage of expected investment in machinery and equipments from SCF will be prioritized. 

How long does it make an investment decision on my application and how will I be notified about it?

The assessment panel will generally take 3-4 weeks after the initial screening to recommend awards to the SCF Committee and the latter would take an additional week to make the final decision on awards. Then the project team will inform the applicant, regardless of the decision, via email or telephone. Tentatively the applicants will be notified by July 2022.

Do I need to contribute at least 50% of the project cost?

No, but the CF is a competitive process and partners ought to contribute. The overall rate of cost sharing is variable, and a function of the stage of the company or partner SCF chooses to work with. In general, the more established (and cash-positive) a company is, the higher the expectation of cost sharing.

How long should the project duration be? Can I have funding over two years?

The project will be funded initially for one year (i.e., June 2023 – Aug 2024). Depending on the proposal and the effectiveness of the partnership, Sahaj and the winning applicant can mutually agree on further support after the first year.

What are the parameters the project will be looking at to reach the final investment decision?

The criteria of assessment will follow the guiding principles of the information pack and the following:

  • Applicant’s capabilities and resources
  • Main idea of the proposal (business model, product, packaging, delivery model), its sustainability and innovative elements
  • Potential impact of the proposal as compared to the fund’s targets and objectives.

What are the reporting requirements? How often do I need to report the progress?

Partners are required to submit monitoring reports throughout the project implementation period to assess progress, project impact and achievement of objectives. Partners must submit reports on a regular basis and are expected to assist evaluators where applicable. These will be detailed in the Grant Signing Agreement.

Where can I get further assistance if needed?

The following focal points are available to assist you if you need any further help:

Ms. Anisha Shrestha
Challenge Fund Support Staff
Practical Action Consulting
Telephone no.: +(977) 9802346066

Ms. Raashi Shrestha
Challenge Fund Support Staff
Practical Action Consulting
Telephone no.: +(977) 9802346067

Mr. Mohan Gautam
Challenge Fund Implementing and Monitoring Officer
Practical Action Consulting
Telephone no.: +(977) 9852028932

Mr. Naveen Khanal
Challenge Fund Implementing and Monitoring Officer
Practical Action Consulting
Telephone no.: +(977) 9844707855

Mr. Adhish Karki
Team Leader – Sahaj Challenge Fund
Practical Action Consulting
Telephone no.: +(977) 9851345630

Mr. Brajesh Malla
Manager – Non-agricultural Services
Telephone no.: +(977) 5528508 / 5548830

Ms. Subhechchha Shrestha
Manager – Agricultural Services
Telephone no.: +(977) 21 417427 / 417428

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