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How it works

Calls are always published at UNDP Procurement Notices website. The SCF team uses additional channels, including this webpage or page, to inform about a new call. SCF Calls are usually open once a year. All details regarding a specific call are available in the Call for Proposals.

Once a call is open, applicants submit their proposals as per Terms of Reference and SCF guidelines. Applicants have to submit their applications online through the Quantum Supplier Portal attaching prescribed templates only. 

Given that, de iure, SCF selection is based on procurement process, the application deadline is binding. After the deadline, applications or changes made to applications submitted before the deadline shall not be accepted. 

After the application deadline, submitted applications are reviewed and evaluated against pre-defined eligibility and evaluation criteria stated in the TOR.  

All successful and unsuccessful applicants are informed once the evaluation and approval process is completed.  

Successful applicants can receive support of up to USD 40,000 for their project.

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Frequently asked questions

Who runs the Slovak Challenge Fund?

SCF is financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic and implemented by UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub, Partnerships Team.

Who can apply for SCF?

Only Slovak private companies are eligible to apply, however only in partnership with local partner(s) in a target country to ensure viability in local conditions and to promote sustainability and scalability of the solution.

Why is a local partner needed?

Applicants are required to involve local partners (depending on the country where the project will be implemented) to ensure viability in local conditions and to promote sustainability and scalability of the solution. The local partners do not have to be only a business entity, but also public institutions, SCOs, academia, science and technology parks, local development agencies, private sector companies, public and private utilities, and others. The partnership needs to be documented officially by, e.g. Letter of Intent, Bilateral Contract, or Memorandum of Understanding.

In which countries can the project be implemented?

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, North Macedonia and Serbia. Specific countries for each call are identified in the Call for Proposals. This means that within the framework of a specific call, you can request support only for the project to be implemented in the country mentioned in the call.

What challenges should be addressed by the submitted innovations proposal?

Currently, SCF is looking for innovations focused on natural resources and nature-based solutions, energy transition, agriculture, good governance, and a resilient society. In the future calls, however, the areas may be modified in response to global developments.

What if my project does not address any of the focus areas?

If your innovation does not fit into the predefined development challenges, we recommend that you consult the possibilities with the SCF team. It is possible that there will be a way to support your innovation anyway.

What kind of innovations can be submitted?

Programme and operational ideas are both welcome, including products, services, programme approaches, operational changes, finance and market innovations, technology driven innovations which cannot be achieved through traditional solicitation processes.

At what development stage can the proposed innovation be?

SCF supports:

  • Proof of concept stage to test whether solutions can become reality or can be adapted to local conditions. Proof of concept is to determine its feasibility or to verify that an idea will work as intended and/or to conduct a field test. 
  • Transition to scale, which allows scope for scaling successful innovations to ensure they are scaled up and used as widely as possible to maximize the impact, are broadly accepted and widely accessible to all targeted beneficiaries and/or potential users; available for sharing; replicable in other environments. 

Is there anything specific that requires attention when preparing or implementing a project?

The project must take into account gender equality during both preparation and implementation. All projects must be inclusive, beneficial to the target beneficiaries and must contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals, and not just benefit the participating entity and its commercial interests.

When to apply?

SCF is call-based which means that you can apply only when a call for proposals is open – published at the UNDP Procurement Notices website. SCF is open usually once a year.

How to apply?

Interested Applicants have to submit their applications directly in the new UNDP supplier portal following the instructions provided in the user guide or in the guidelines available on the UNDP website: 

The published Call for Proposals consists of Terms of Reference (ToR) with templates for requested documents, Guidelines and Application Form template. You follow the ToR conditions of a specific call. Guidelines explain in more detail the contents of the application and process of applying, evaluation and implementation of the project supported. 

What are the evaluation criteria?

Evaluation committee takes into account the degree of innovation, impact and quality of the proposed project, experience of the project team, potential for scale-up and replication, long-term sustainability, scope of bid price, and availability of co-funding. The evaluation criteria are also specified within the Terms of Reference of a respective Call for Proposals.

How does the UNDP announce the results?

UNDP informs all applicants via email once the evaluation process is concluded and results approved by the Project Board.

What will a successful applicant receive?

In addition to the opportunity to gain access to new countries, test or replicate their idea, the winners will receive a financial reward ranging from USD 20,000 to 40,000 based on the submitted project budget.

Will the funding cover all project expenses?

Funding covers a maximum of 80% of the total project budget. Please note that a minimum of 20% of co-financing is required. Co-financing can be financial or in-kind (e.g., cash value of facilities use such as labs or meeting spaces, patents and licenses, study materials, technologies, components, etc.). The level of co-financing is one of the application evaluation criteria: applicant with a higher proportion of co-financing will get more points in this criterion.

What are eligible costs that can be covered by SCF?

Project team salaries; technology, design, business, development, and other consultancy services; advisory services; small equipment and supplies; training and workshop costs; travel costs clearly related to the project implementation.

How long is the contract usually signed for?

Expected contract duration and project implementation period is up to 12 months.