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 SCF 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 2 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 project has a dedicated timeframe (6 Jul – 15 Jul 2022) where organisations can ask questions. Details of focal points are shared at the end of this section.

What kind of projects will be funded?

Round 2 of CF will be dedicated towards innovation in dairy sector. Innovative idea can be related to product or packaging. Innovative ideas should support the long-term and sustainable operation. Innovative ideas will have to be implemented in Province 1 and should have an impact and GESI component.

When can I submit the application?

Application can be submitted from the day the SCF 2 publishes the call for proposals. Tentative date when the proposal will be published is 16 June 2022. Tentative last date of application is 15 Jul 2022. Submission of application should be completed by the last date of application. The last date for question and answer to the project team is 15 Jul 2022.

Are there special templates for the application?

Yes, there is only one application, which is available from the official website: https://www.swisscontact.org/en/projects/namdp and can be downloaded. You can also get them from the project focal points on request. You are requested to follow the template of the application strictly and if there is any confusion, the focal points will help you. Not following the template may result in disqualification.

Who can submit applications?

  • Any organisation operating and registered in Nepal can submit the application to work in Province 1
  • Operate in the dairy or related field 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/projections 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 Province 1 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 Province 1. 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 5M, although exceptions are possible if approved by the SCF 2 Committee. No fund award shall be less than NPR 500K to manage the administrative workload involved in each individual engagement. If TA 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?

The fund will finance balance sheet items such as equipment and machineries. However, purchase of property and building/shade/civil construction will not be supported by the project.

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 weeks to recommend awards to the SCF 2 Committee and the latter would take an additional week to make the final decision on awards. Then the project team will inform the organisation, regardless of the decision, via email or telephone. Tentatively the applicants will be notified by 3rd Sep 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 2 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., Sep 2022 – Aug 2023). 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 section 1.2 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. Subhechchha Shrestha

Manager, Agriculture Services


Telephone no.: +977 21 417427/417428

Mr. Utkarsh Prasad

Long-Term Consultant, Agriculture Services


Telephone no.: +977 21 417427/417428

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