Application submission will open for the next cycle on March 20, 2024.
To learn more:
- May 2023 information session: view recording
The Catalytic Climate Finance Facility (CC Facility) is focused on scaling sustainable climate finance by providing market acceleration services to earlier-stage and market-ready blended financial vehicles in under-funded sectors in developing countries. It is a partnership between Convergence and Climate Policy Initiative to bring a holistic solution in a fragmented market to accelerate the implementation of high-impact blended finance vehicles catalyzing private capital to close the climate financing gap.
The CC Facility aims to be a climate finance field builder, playing a key role in mainstreaming investment and climate action, with an emphasis on gender responsiveness and local capacity, by increasing the available pipeline of bankable climate blended finance transactions. It targets support to address key obstacles in the development process of such financial vehicles occurring in the acceleration stages. Together, Convergence and CPI will offer a full suite of tools and support to help innovative blended finance vehicles scale faster, navigate potential pitfalls, and maximize their climate finance impact.
The CC Facility will aim to help climate finance structures become investable solutions. It seeks to contribute to building a market that will unlock the most innovative structures that can be standardized, replicated, and scaled. The support for climate solutions through a strategic and bundled package of grant funding and customized technical assistance to address the key barriers preventing development and mobilization of private capital, as well as additional benefits holistically provided throughout the program.
Up to 500,000 U.S. dollars to continue to test, structure, launch, and expand solutions. Funding will be conditional, subject to achieving predetermined milestones and associated deliverables.
Customized technical assistance over 12 to 18 months to build capabilities to accelerate the market roll-out of blended climate finance solutions. It includes a comprehensive offering of technical assistance services focused on climate-finance related strategy, fundraising, and operations. Support will proactively address key barriers. See FAQ for examples.
The CC Facility provides funding for blended finance vehicles targeting climate change issues in developing countries. Applications will be assessed based on a set of qualifying characteristics and key evaluation criteria.
- Investment theme: solutions addressing climate adaptation and/or mitigation.
- Sectors: broad range of sectors.
- Geography: developing countries. Applicants do not need to be domiciled in a developing country but end beneficiaries and target activities must. Preference will be given to local applicants who demonstrate a nuanced understanding of local contexts and engagement with local stakeholders where relevant.
- Stage: The focus will be on earlier-stage and market-ready solutions moving through an initial adoption stage in their development process. This includes financial vehicles that have already tested the idea through feasibility, proof of concept, proven pilot(s), or a minimum viable product, and are ready for support to continue structuring, scale-up, and/or expansion.
- Team & local capacity: proven track record and experience in targeted sector and geography, capacity and willingness to engage with the program, and on-the-ground presence
- Entity type: organizations or consortium of organizations, including advisory firms, foundations, not-for-profit, fund managers, and private enterprises. The lead organization must be able to provide proof of incorporation and financial statements for the previous fiscal year.
Key Evaluation Criteria
- Additionality: addresses climate finance barriers or a market failure in a new or more efficient way than existing solutions. Shows higher degree of additionality through the impact delivered.
- Catalytic potential: demonstrates ability to achieve socioeconomic and environmental impacts, prioritizing enhancement of local capacity through knowledge and technology transfer. Shows scalability and replicability potential and a nuanced understanding of the local context(s).
- Financial sustainability: demonstrates likelihood of achieving financial close, including team’s ability to implement the solution and having a strategic plan for market viability.
- Gender equality: show responsiveness to relevant gender risks and opportunities. Intentionally integrates gender considerations across operations and anticipates positive outcomes for gender equality.
- Mobilization: shows potential to mobilize private capital and to attract participation from new segments of investors. Shows that vehicle is bankable/investable.
Application submission will open for the next cycle on March 20, 2024.
To participate in the program, carefully review the Eligibility section above and complete the Concept Note form.
Concept Notes will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so we highly encourage applicants to apply sooner in order to have sufficient time to develop the full application.
We will make additional arrangements at the Concept Note review stage to support applicants from developing countries by helping them enhance the quality of their full application to the CC Facility. This is part of our larger effort to enhance local capacity in developing countries and deploy locally aligned transformative solutions. As such, we strongly encourage organizations in developing countries to apply.
The CC Facility has a 3-stage selection process, through which all applications submitted will be reviewed.
- Screening: Concept Note and Full Application
- Concept Note: interested applicants can initiate the application process by submitting a Concept Note form and optional supplemental materials by the deadline date.
- Full Application (by invitation only): selected applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal for funding and technical support consideration.
- Evaluation: Shortlist and Due Diligence
- Shortlist: shortlisted applicants will be invited to do a pitch presentation
- Due diligence: finalists will be selected and move forward to undergo a due diligence process, including a budget assessment. There will be a potential request for key stakeholders’ interviews. During this stage, the milestones and plan to define the size of the grant award will be developed.
- Recommendation: Award approval
- Investment Committee will approve finalists and offer awards.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
About the CC Facility
How long is the CC Facility program?
Selected vehicles will receive market acceleration services over 12 to 18 months. The pace will depend on the applicants and how each one decides to use its grant funding and acceleration support.
What is the CC Facility size?
We envisioned the CC Facility to be a USD 100 million program. To start, we aim to reach USD 20 million in funding to run the program for 5 years and build a portfolio of up to 40 solutions. We have already secured USD 11.6 million to cover the initial 3 years of operations.
How often will the CC Facility accept applications?
The 2023 Call for Applications is now open. Concept notes are accepted by June 9, and will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The next round of applications will be open in 2024.
Eligibility & Selection Process
How do I know if my idea is eligible?
The proposed solution must be a blended finance vehicle that addresses climate-relevant sectors in developing countries and does not require legislative or regulatory change to be implemented. Applicants should be able to demonstrate the proposal meets the CC Facility’s key evaluation criteria: catalytic potential, additionality, mobilization, financial sustainability, and gender equality. Please review the Eligibility section above.
What is a financial vehicle?
A structure or approach to investment that has the potential to mobilize private capital. The CC Facility will not support ideas for individual projects, products, or business models. Projects or technologies are eligible only if associated with a financial mechanism. Examples of financial mechanisms include, but are not limited to, debt and equity funds, securitization structures, insurance models, guarantees, asset finance, results-based finance such as impact-linked bonds or payments for ecosystem services, servitization models, among others.
Who can submit a proposal? What institutions are eligible? Can I submit an idea as an individual?
Proposals are only accepted from organizations or consortiums of organizations. Individuals are not eligible to apply.
Which sectors and/or themes will be prioritized? How do I know if my proposed vehicle fits with these priorities?
Eligible solutions are blended finance vehicles that target climate change mitigation and/or adaptation in a wide range of sectors. The focus will be on sectors that are severely under-financed globally relative to the impact they can deliver. Examples include, but are not limited to, sustainable energy, encompassing just transition, universal access, and energy efficiency; sustainable cities and resilient infrastructure; sustainable agriculture and land use; and thematic areas such as nature based solutions and gender equality.
The program will have a global focus, but will also have a dedicated thematic stream focused on sustainable agriculture and climate adaptation in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Is there a separate application process for the Thematic Stream?
No, the application process and eligibility parameters are the same. The Thematic Stream is only for solutions with a targeted sectorial and geographic approach and whose primary focus is on sustainable agriculture adaptation in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Please review the Eligibility section above.
Which countries qualify as “developing countries”?
The idea must be targeted at one (or more) developing (Official Development Assistance (ODA)-eligible) countries (you can find a list of these countries here. While the idea must be targeted at ODA-eligible country(ies), the grantees and sources of capital can be based out of any country.
What is the stage at which the CC Facility will support applicants / solutions?
The focus will be on solutions that are going through an initial adoption stage of their development process and are market ready (or close to market ready). This includes financial vehicles that have already gone through feasibility and design stages. The exact stage of the solution may differ depending on the sectors in which applicants are operating, so we are looking for solutions that have a structure that is already developed, budget and financial model, and some identification of sources of funding. Also, applicants should be part of an established organization, with proof of incorporation and financial statements. For reference, the CC Facility is looking for solutions in more advanced stages than those that go through CPI’s Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance and Convergence’s Design Funding program.
How long would the selection process take?
The overall process will take about 4 months. The Screening phase will take up to 1 month, Evaluation phase up to 2 months, and Recommendation phase up to 1 month. Call for applications will be open for about a month.
How much time will my organization need to dedicate to the program, if selected?
The pace and effectiveness of the program will depend on each applicant. It is expected that applicants dedicate 1-2 days per week to the program and have one or two individuals as CC Facility focal points throughout the process. This time can be split across multiple team members.
Can I submit more than one application?
Organizations are welcome to submit one idea to the CC Facility per cycle. We encourage applicants to carefully review the Eligibility section above to make sure the proposed solution is the right fit for the program. We also welcome applicants to check and apply to CPI’s Lab and Convergence’s Design Funding programs.
Can I apply for the CC Finance Facility and be considered for other Convergence Design Funding windows?
If an initiative is eligible under multiple programs, organizations must select one Window to apply to. It is the applicant’s responsibility to choose the program for which their initiative is best suited. Visit our Design Funding page and navigate to individual Window pages to learn more about the focus areas and eligibility criteria for each Window. If an applicant has applied to and has been rejected, they are able to apply to another Window with the same concept, provided they are also eligible. Organizations are able to apply to multiple Windows simultaneously with unique initiatives.
Market Acceleration Services
What are the market acceleration Services?
A combination of (1) Grant funding and (2) Acceleration Support. The first one is start-up capital to overcome the initial valley-of death for scale-up, subject to achieving defined milestones. While the latter is technical assistance to build capabilities to generate business traction, secure funding, and accelerate the market rollout of solutions.
What can grant money be used for?
Grantee receive up to $500k in conditional grants. Grant funding should be used on the design and startup phase of climate finance solutions. This covers a broad range of activities, and funding could include finalizing the capital structure and financial model, establishing the legal structure, finalizing key documents and operations during the launch stages. Examples of activities where grant funding can be use:
- Development of Impact Framework or Gender equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) analysis and strategy
- Pipeline development events
- Legal Negotiation of the Legal Agreement with LPs
- Travel expenses for fundraising activities
What does the acceleration support (technical assistance) include?
Climate finance technical support for 18 months from a dedicated team assigned to each financial vehicle, as well as from field experts, senior management, investor relations, and communications, and operations teams.
Examples of climate finance oriented support include:
- Strategy: revenue model & go-to-market strategy, impact modeling for various potential pilots, design of pilot initiatives, environmental and social impact assessment, financial forecasts and unit economics analysis, scalability assessment, design of partnership structure, market landscape analysis and market entry strategy for replication, adaptation criteria framework, gender strategy & gender integration, etc.
- Fundraising Preparation: pitch deck and fundraising materials, fundraising strategy and training, navigation of the climate finance funder landscape and investor mapping, roadshow organization, grant application support, climate financing pipeline development, etc. transaction structuring, etc.
- Operations: project management, financial and grant monitoring and reporting, speaker presentation, media outreach, message development, etc.
What is the CC Facility’s understanding of gender equality and gender responsiveness?
The CC Facility adopts an inclusive understanding of gender equality and acknowledges that the intersection of gender and other factors such as race and class create overlapping biases and systems that disadvantage and discriminate. Gender equality means having equal status, rights, and opportunities. Financial vehicles are considered gender-responsive when they address the specific and diverse needs, vulnerabilities, and strengths regardless of gender.
How will gender-responsiveness be assessed?
Gender equality is one of the five criteria of the CC Facility. This means that vehicles should address climate change mitigation and/or adaptation and be gender-responsive as demonstrated by:
- Exhibiting a strong understanding of gender-related risks and opportunities in the context of the proposed instrument and target context;
- Demonstrating progress and intentionality in integrating gender equality considerations across the proposed design, operations, and implementation of the vehicle;
- Indicating an expectation of specific outcomes that can lead to gender equality.
Ideally, proposals will tap into all three areas above, but this is not a requirement for applying. Grantees need to be willing to have an intentional focus on integrating gender in all three areas, with the CC Facility’s support.
Do women need to be the exclusive target of the vehicle to score high on gender equality?
No, vehicles can meet all three criteria outlined above without having a unique focus on women customers/businesses/community leaders. However, the expectation is that differences between men and women will be intentionally considered as part of the vehicle development.
Can I apply if I have not conducted a gender analysis or have a gender strategy in place?
Yes, having conducted a gender analysis or having a gender strategy in place is NOT a prerequisite to apply. The CC Facility will support the proposing organization with gender-focused technical assistance, including conducting gender analyses and creating gender strategies and/or gender action plans based on organizational needs. However, the proposing organization needs to be willing to improve the gender-responsiveness of the vehicle and make any changes accordingly.
Can I apply if I don’t have a gender specialist on-board but my intention is to develop a gender-responsive climate finance vehicle?
Yes, having a gender specialist on-board is NOT a prerequisite to apply. The proposing organizations must be willing to intentionally integrate gender equality considerations across the design, operations, and implementation of the vehicle, with someone in the team having the capacity to operationalize it.
Do I need to have a track record in gender-responsive climate finance to apply?
A track record in gender-responsive climate finance is NOT a prerequisite. The CC Facility welcomes applications from climate finance practitioners that are moving towards applying a gender lens and gender equality practitioners that are moving towards applying a climate lens to their vehicles.
What are examples of climate investment vehicles that would score strong-weak for the gender equality criterion?
Strong: A gender-balanced fund that uses screening criteria to identify portfolio companies that mainstream gender considerations with a goal of gender equality
- Gender here is both embedded in operations and instrument design/implementation, thus highly likely to lead to positive gender outcomes
Medium: An insurance product for smallholder farmers, which will include women beneficiaries
- Some vehicles by default include women beneficiaries. However, it’s also important to understand whether gender considerations are integrated in the design/operations of the vehicle to make sure that there are positive outcomes for gender equality
Weak: A renewable energy development platform collects sex-disaggregated data on energy use by end-consumer
- Sex-disaggregated data collection is crucial but alone insufficient unless insights from the data collection are integrated into the design/operations of the vehicle with the goal of improved gender inclusion.
How does the CC Facility define and assess local capacity?
There are 4 core dimensions on which local capacity will be evaluated as a component of the application:
- Track record of the applicant working in the proposed geography of focus as well as other developing countries;
- Whether the applicant has offices in a developing country and to what degree they would qualify as being locally based;
- Whether the applicant includes a local stakeholder engagement plan to ensure participation of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLC) and other vulnerable populations.
- Whether the applicant includes a plan to enhance local capacity through the deployment of the vehicle (e.g. through knowledge and technology transfer), especially with regards to IPLC and other vulnerable populations.
What are examples of climate investment vehicles that would score strong-weak for the local capacity criterion?
Strong: A fund manager of a blended equity venture fund that is exclusively based in one or more developing countries AND has a strong track record in the country of focus/other developing countries AND the applicant has a robust plan to enhance local capacity of vulnerable populations. WHERE applicable, the applicant has conducted local stakeholder engagement OR has a well formulated plan to do so.
Medium: A fund manager of a blended equity venture fund that is headquartered in a developed country but has office(s) in one or more developing countries AND has a favorable track record in the country of focus/other developing countries AND the applicant’s plan to enhance local capacity of vulnerable populations is weak. IF applicable, the applicant has not conducted local stakeholder engagement BUT intends to do so.
Weak: A fund manager of a blended equity venture fund that is exclusively based in a developed country AND has no track record in the country of focus/other developing countries AND the applicant does not have a plan to enhance local capacity of vulnerable populations. IF applicable, the applicant has not conducted local stakeholder engagement AND does not intend to do so.
Is the inclusion of a local stakeholder engagement plan a prerequisite to apply to the CC Facility?
Having a local stakeholder engagement plan is NOT a prerequisite to apply to the CC Facility but will significantly boost your chances of selection if we determine that the vehicle would benefit from such a design consideration (and vice versa). If such a determination is made and the idea is selected without the local stakeholder engagement plan, the applicant should be willing to intentionally integrate local stakeholder engagement across the design, operations, and implementation of the vehicle, with someone in the team having the responsibility to operationalize it.
What are Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLC) Groups and how do you define vulnerable communities?
We define IPLCs as ethnic groups who descended from and identify with the original inhabitants of a given region, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied, or colonized the area more recently. There are approximately half a billion Indigenous Peoples worldwide, spread across 90 countries. Although they make up only 6% of the global population, IPLC groups inhabit approximately 85% of areas proposed for biodiversity conservation around the world.
Vulnerable groups are defined as populations within a region that are more susceptible to the impacts of climate change (such as extreme heat) relative to the general population of that region.
Do I need to have a track record in local capacity enhancement to apply?
A track record in local capacity enhancement is NOT a prerequisite. The CC Facility welcomes applications from climate finance practitioners that are willing to applying a local capacity enhancement lens to their vehicles.
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