About Development Innovation Ventures (DIV)

Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) turns bright ideas into real results. DIV provides flexible grants to test new ideas and scale the most effective solutions. Whether a local problem-solver, a passionate American entrepreneur, or a university lab, we want to hear from you.


Breakthrough solutions come from anyone, anywhere, and at any time. With no deadline or preference for specific sectors or geographies, DIV is an open door to USAID. We empower creative problem-solvers to test new ideas, build rigorous evidence of what works, and expand proven solutions. We take strategic risks to build the best solutions that transform the lives of millions.

DIV advances what works, while avoiding long term investments in what does not. To innovate is to both fail and succeed - we fail quickly and at a lower cost, in order to test creative ideas with potential for groundbreaking impact.

The DIV Model

Stool representing scale, cost-effectiveness, and rigorous testing

DIV emphasizes three “legs of a stool” to minimize risk and maximize impact.

  • Rigorous Evidence - DIV applies rigorous evaluation methods to assess what is working and what is not. Solutions that demonstrate rigorous evidence of impact are then scaled to other contexts.
  • Cost-Effectiveness - DIV invests in solutions that deliver maximum impact with every dollar. A cost-effective solution is better, faster, or cheaper than its alternatives.
  • Pathways to Scale - DIV is ultimately committed to achieving maximum impact. After DIV funding concludes, solutions are expected to continue expanding through partnerships and adoption.
    • For scale through the public sector, the organization is expected to partner with host-country governments, multilateral donors, or other public sector players.
    • For scale through the private sector, the organization is expected to demonstrate commercial viability or partner with other businesses to scale their reach.

Tiered Funding & Evidence Grants

DIV uses a tiered funding model with three stages to maximize impact per dollar spent.

  • Stage 1: Proof of Concept (Up to $200,000 over 3 years)
    • Stage 1 grants test a solution’s feasibility in a developing country context. Stage 1 innovations are early in their implementation and need testing to understand user interest, willingness to pay, impact, and financial viability.
  • Stage 2: Testing and Positioning for Scale ($200,000 to $1,500,000 over 3 years)
    • Stage 2 grants test and strengthen a solution’s business or delivery model. Stage 2 innovations should demonstrate rigorous evidence of causal positive impact, or use the funding to build such evidence — from a randomized controlled trial, for example.
  • Stage 3: Transitioning Proven Solutions to Scale ($1,500,000 to $5,000,000 over 3 years)
    • Stage 3 grants support partnerships to demonstrate potential for replication or to scale the innovation to a new context. The funds must leverage additional external funding or partnerships.

In addition to tiered funding, DIV provides evidence grants (up to $1,500,000) to support research and evaluations that generate rigorous evidence of an innovation’s impact per dollar and potential for expansion. Evidence grants support impact evaluations (including randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental methods), as well as other methods of assessing impact. 


Last updated: March 25, 2019

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