What are you looking for in the ideas & individuals / teams that apply?

The jury will be looking for scalable, innovative solutions which address the challenge presented by high energy people with a desire to make a positive impact in this area. The selection panel will be judging:

  • Topic fit: Does the business idea fit the topic of the Fellowship?
  • Impact potential: Does the idea create (social / environmental) impact? Is it innovative and has potential for growth?
  • Probability of success: Do they have a good team and is the mini-business plan promising?
  • Leverage of the Fellowship: Can the initiative profit from the program?
  • Quality of the application: Are the documents and the presentation professionally done and include key points and stick to the facts?

We are a team of more than one entrepreneur - will you still accept us?

If a team applies, or a team is already developing this idea, the awarded money is the same. Intent to build a team, and approach to doing this will be looked at in the application process.

Will you accept single founders (i.e. no team yet)?

Yes. We will accept applications from individuals or teams.

What am I committing to when applying for the Fellowship?

You commit to pursuing your idea (or an evolution of the initial idea) into a start-up social business. We would be looking for at least 50% of your time to be spent on the project, making use of the Impact Hub Fellowship’s resources including Impact Hub Candidate Team in your city, access to a workspace, network, support structure and seed funding. We would also expect the winning individuals or team to sign an agreement around the grant finance and communications of the Fellowship.

What time commitment do I need to give the Fellowship?

We would be looking for at least 50% of your time to be spent on the developing the venture / business – ideally more. If you emerge as the Impact Hub Fellow for your city, you will receive a monthly living stipend which is designed to give you some income stability while you develop the venture over 9 months.

I already have an incorporated company, can I still apply?


Yes. However this competition is focused on early stage ideas, which can make the most of the development support on offer within the Fellowship.

Do I need to have run a trial / have a prototype / a business concept?

No. However If you have run a trial or have a product prototype, this will not impede your application. We are looking for people with bright ideas that can be developed into amazing social businesses. You will have to show clearly in your application the viability of your proposed project / business. If you need help developing your business concept, make sure to participate in one of the 2 Idea development workshops organized by the local Impact Hub Candidate Team between the 31st of August and 21st of September. You can find more information about these workshops including the date and location by contacting the Impact Hub Candidate Team in your city or checking their website/social media platforms.

I’ve never started a venture before, or feel I have the skills needed. Can I still apply?

Absolutely, we will be looking for applicants who can articulate how they will develop their idea and use the support offered by the program to do so. This may include the development of a founding team to support the start-up.

I have a great idea which isn’t related to Resilience or topic focus, can I still apply?

One of the key criteria for the judging panel is how the applicant’s idea addresses the challenge as articulated. Impact Hub and Cordaid are looking for ideas that enhance the resilience of communities and it is up to you to show how your idea meets this objective. The Topic focus in each country is also important for the judging criteria.

I am not based in Addis Ababa, Bujumbura or Freetown can I still apply and will the prize still benefit me?

Yes, we welcome applications from anyone based anywhere in country. Part of the awarding criteria is “how best applicants can make use of the prize”. So, we would expect applicants to make clear how they would use the partner networks, workspace & grant to the benefit of their business, customers and communities they serve.

I am not a citizen of Ethiopia, Burundi or Sierra Leone. Can I still apply?

Yes. You do not have to be a citizen to apply but you must be entitled to work and live in any of the 3 countries to be eligible for the Fellowship. Your business should primarily benefit people in one these countries.