Seeking funding for your startups is by far the biggest challenge for the social entrepreneurs. To support this, the guide below will help you save time and frustration by pointing you to find reliable sources of funding opportunities for social enterprise grants. We also have an interactive startup calendar that can help entrepreneurs conducting an efficient upcoming grant searches based on advanced filters like event type, locations and targeted markets.

All of the grant opportunities listed in this article provide cash awards to startups, particularly targeting social enterprises or businesses contributing to one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Good Luck with your grant applications!

DBS – Social Enterprise Grant

Deadline: 31 May 2021

Country Eligibility: Singapore, China, India, Indonesia, Hong Kong and/or Taiwan

DBS Foundation has supported over 100 social enterprises in Asia since 2012 with grant funding. As well as financial assistance, they offer business procurement opportunities and actively support social enterprises with their annually administered Social Enterprise Grant Programme.

AirAsia Foundation Grant

Country Eligibility: ASEAN Countries

The AirAsia Foundation Grant helps social enterprises scale up as a way of empowering communities and enabling them to build sustainable livelihoods. Applicants must be registered and be based in ASEAN, and have a minimum two-year business track record. NGOs looking to diversify funding sources through social enterprise are also welcomed to submit an application.

Global Social Venture Competition

Country Eligibility: Global

GSVC is a social entrepreneurship competition hosted by UC Berkeley, along with Georgia Tech as their Eastern Region partner. There is no entry fee, no travel, and no in-person presentation required until the finals.

The Catalyst Fund

Country Eligibility: Global

The Catalyst Fund is a small grants program focused on early-stage, unconventional ideas that have the potential for disruptive change and that address urgent challenges. The Fund makes grants between $2,500–$15,000 to anyone, anywhere in the world who has an early-stage idea or project that addresses pressing global challenges.

Echoing Green Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship and Leadership Development Programs

Country Eligibility: Global

This grant aims to support visionaries around the world who are transforming their communities, addressing economic development, racial and gender equity, environmental sustainability and more.

coLABS Investment

Country Eligibility: Asia, Africa, North America, South America

coLABS is an early-stage investment portfolio seeking to invest in bold, innovative, and widely scalable social enterprises that have the potential to dramatically improve the lives of women and girls around the world.

TATA Social Enterprise Challenge

Country Eligibility: India

This joint initiative by the TATA group and the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, is a national level challenge to find India’s most promising social enterprises. It also aims to raise awareness about social entrepreneurship through encouraging the youth to become the next generation of social entrepreneurs.

Total S.A. Startupper of the Year

Country Eligibility: Global

This grant aim to support good ideas and projects that help address a widespread problem affecting communities in your country.

CAN Invest

Country Eligibility: Global

CAN Invest supports voluntary, community and social enterprises to build sustainable businesses by providing capital and business support.

Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation Grants

Country Eligibility: Africa, Europe, India, Latin America, and the United States

Since 2002, this grant has funded a wide variety of extraordinary organizations tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges. As global issues emerge and entrepreneurs devise ground-breaking solutions, their portfolio reflects some of the most effective organizations in the nonprofit sector.

Working Capital for Community Needs

Country Eligibility: Latin America

WCCN is a social impact investing fund and community development organization whose mission is to create opportunities for access to microfinance, services and markets to improve the lives and communities of the working poor in Latin America.

RSF Social Finance

Country Eligibility: the United State and Canada

Since 1984, RSF Social Finance has questioned assumptions about how money works and collaborated with partners and clients to create new models of working together, new products, and fresh ways of engaging with finance. They believe that inquiry and dialogue are essential to transforming people’s relationships with money and moving the economy toward greater equality.

The Genesis Charitable Trust

Country Eligibility: UK, US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore

The Genesis Charitable Trust (“the Trust”) provides grants for public benefit to help communities within developing countries to improve their standards of living. The Trust funds projects that provide sustainable, long-term income generation and self-sufficiency, especially those making a demonstrable positive impact on marginalised communities currently beyond the reach of traditional government or market-based solutions.

Network Sustainability Award 2021

Country Eligibility: Global

If you’re part of a startup, a company, or you’re simply an individual launching your own developed solution focused on network sustainability, submit your application for your chance to win the award, along with cash prizes (the top three winners will take home 50K between them) and the opportunity to develop a proof of concept or prototype with Deutsche Telekom and its partners.

First Solar Corporate Charitable Fund

Country Eligibility: Global

This fund is designed to improve the quality of life in communities around the world with an emphasis on First Solar’s corporate values. These values include a focus on “green” education initiatives, access to clean energy and water in underserved areas and furthering the development of innovative and sustainable technologies.

Orange Social Venture Prize 2021

Country Eligibility: Africa and the Middle East

The Orange Social Venture Prize recognizes entrepreneurs and start-up organizations that make innovative use of technology in agriculture, energy, and other fields of development.

Fund for Innovation in Development

Country Eligibility: Global

The Fund for Innovation in Development (FID) supports innovation that contributes to reducing global poverty and inequality. FID encourages applications for solutions in education, health, climate change, and gender equality in all low- and middle-income countries. Nearly any type of applicant is eligible to apply, including researchers, governments, NGOs and for-profit companies

The Pollination Project

Country Eligibility: Global

The Pollination Project believes in the power of people doing extraordinary things to make their communities and world a better place. Since 2013, they have been making small grants every day to community change makers working on important social change issues.

Get in the ring – Global Startup Competition

Deadline: 3 February 2021

Country Eligibility: Global, over 200 cities

Get in the Ring is a global startup competition active in over 200 cities. They give opportunities to unconventional solutions in all corners of the world, to prove their solutions and solve 21st century challenges. The competition prize includes 1-year business development support with expenses covered; an investment up to €.500K.

European Investment Bank Institute: Social Innovation Tournament

Deadline: 3 March 2021

Country Eligibility: Europe

The Social Innovation Tournament recognizes and supports the best European social entrepreneurs with projects focusing on the environment (with a special emphasis on biodiversity and ecosystem conservation). The tournament is open to social enterprises, private sector companies, NGOs, government bodies and universities.

Ashden Awards: International Awards for Sustainable Energy 2021

Deadline: 3 March 2021

Country Eligibility: Global

Ashden supports projects in sustainable energy in the UK and the developing world. The awards are made to pioneers in sustainable energy, saving energy, generating renewable energy, or promoting behaviour change. The competition for the International Awards is open to businesses, nonprofit organizations, NGOs, and social enterprises whose activities take place in low- and middle-income countries worldwide.

United Nations –  Innovations to Advance the SDGs

Deadline: 26 March 2021

Country Eligibility: Not specify

United Nations, in collaboration with Global Innovation Exchange, seeks applications for the 2021 Call for Innovations for a chance to be featured at the UN’s virtual STI Forum (May 2021). Innovations should address COVID-19-associated disruptions that will remain relevant beyond the pandemic to help accelerate progress towards one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The 2021 Anzisha Prize

Deadline: 31 March 2021

Country Eligibility: Africa

The Anzisha Prize is Africa’s biggest award for her youngest entrepreneurs , and hands out over USD $100,000 every year in prize money to entrepreneurs from all over the continent for sustainable solutions to some of the biggest problems faced by their communities.

Google Impact Challenge for Women & Girls

Deadline: 9 April 2021

Country Eligibility: Global

This is an open call for applications, in line with Google.org’s mission to provide funding opportunities for gender equity globally. Selected charitable initiatives will receive up to $2 million, as well as opportunities for mentorship and additional support from Google.

Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area

Deadline: 13 April 2021

Country Eligibility: Israel, Tunisia, Turkey, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco

The Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) launches a new call for proposals. Projects should aim to increase adherence to the Mediterranean diet as a sustainable pattern including environmental, social and health aspects.

Dutch Postcode Lottery – Green Challenge 2021

Deadline: 15 April 2021

Country Eligibility: Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden

The Dutch Postcode Lottery offers the Green Challenge to encourage the development of products and services that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The competition is open to entrepreneurs with an innovative, green and scalable business from Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.

Hilden Charitable Trust

Deadline: 16 April 2021

Country Eligibility: the UK and developing countries

Hilden Charitable Fund is partnering with Social Farms & Gardens in 2021 to provide small grants for SF&G members to provide children’s summer activities. SF&G is particularly interested in funding activities that will connect children from disadvantaged backgrounds with nature. The fund is only available to members of Social Farms & Gardens.

Echoing Green – Fellowships 2021

Deadline: 20 April 2021

Country Eligibility: Global

Echoing Green helps emerging social entrepreneurs around the world with grants of seed capital and technical assistance to support their start-up organizations. Past fellowships include examples in renewable energy, waste management, smallholder farming, climate change, and other societal challenges in developing countries.

European Social Innovation Competition

Deadline: 12 May 2021

Country Eligibility: Europe

Supported by the European Innovation Council, the Competition employs a proven methodology for supporting early-stage ideas and facilitating a network of radical innovators shaping our society. Launched in 2013, the European Social Innovation Competition features three Challenge Prizes and one Impact Prize worth €50,000 each for the best socially innovative projects designed to change the world for the better.

Investors Hub – Global Investors Hub Challenge 2021

Deadline: 31 May 2021

Country Eligibility: Global

The Investors Hub accepts applications for the Global Investors Hub Challenge 2021. Startups, entrepreneurs and companies can join the competition to get financial help, mentorship and networking opportunities for their business sector or social impact projects. The projects should have the capacity to create employment in alignment with 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

World Food Programme – Fighting Hunger Worldwide

Deadline: 7 June 2021

Country Eligibility: Global

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. The WFP seeks great ideas and bold solutions to solve hunger globally.

The MIT – Solve Global Challenges 2021

Deadline: 16 June 2021

Country Eligibility: Global

MIT Solve is a marketplace for social impact innovation with a mission to solve world challenges. Anyone, anywhere can submit a solution to any of this year’s five Global Challenges and apply to access nearly $2 million in funding. The challenge is open to solutions on: Digital Inclusion, Equitable Classrooms, Resilient Ecosystems, Health, Security & Pandemics Challenges, Anti-fascist Technology in the US

Hello Tomorrow – Global Startup Challenge

Deadline: 18 June 2021

Country Eligibility: Global

The Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge seeks startups from all around the world that use advanced technology to answer societal or industrial challenges. The challenge includes one category for startups that focus on energy, food, agriculture & environment, among 10 others.

Conservation, Food and Health Foundation Grants

Deadline: 1 July 2021

Country Eligibility: Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East

The Conservation, Food and Health Foundation seeks to protect natural resources, improve the production and distribution of food, and promote public health in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. The foundation helps build the capacity of organizations and coalitions with grants that support research or improve the learning and generation of local solutions in Conservation, Food and Health.

Because International – Social Innovation Competition

Deadline: 18 July 2021

Country Eligibility: Global

Because International seeks applications for its Pursuit Incubator Program. The Pursuit Incubator was created for early to middle stage entrepreneurs that have ideas for a socially innovative product. Entrepreneurs from all around the world are invited to apply. Participants will receive 10-weeks of online training, coaching, networking opportunities and the opportunity to compete in a pitch event for a cash prize.

The Children’s Prize 2021

Deadline: 30 July 2021

Country Eligibility: Global

The Children’s Prize is awarded to scientifically-minded individuals with a passion for global child health and a strong commitment to verify the impact of their work. Between 2013 and 2020, the Prize has awarded over $1,850,000.00 to such individuals and organizations across the globe.

Humanitarian Water Air Food Awards – Youth Climate Awards

Deadline: 31 July 2021

Country Eligibility: Not specify

The Humanitarian Water Air Food Awards (WAFA) acknowledge and promote individuals and organizations that implement sustainable projects to secure water, clean air, and food — and that empower local communities. WAFA provides expert certification, global recognition, and a cash prize.

Startup SG – Global Startup Competition

Deadline: 1 August 2021

Country Eligibility: Asian Countries

Startup SG seeks global startups to compete in the Slingshot 2021 Global Startup Competition. Entries to the competition need to present game-changing innovation in one of four challenge categories, including Sustainability (e.g., Agriculture, Clean, Food, or Green Technology).

King Baudouin Foundation – Enterprises for SDGs

Deadline: 7 September 2021

Country Eligibility: Global

The Business Partnership Facility (BPF) awards subsidies to support and develop private sector involvement in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries. Projects submitted under this call must contribute to achieving at least one clearly identified SDG.

A2EF Social Impact Pitch Competition

Deadline: 30 September 2021

Country Eligibility: Global

The Ann Arbor Entrepreneurs Fund (A2EF), in collaboration with A2 Startup Garage and the University of Michigan Social Venture Fund, is inviting startup teams to share their business plan with a panel of expert judges to earn $20,000 in startup capital, co-working space and mentorship from the A2EF founder community and the U-M SVF team.

World Summit Awards

Deadline: 30 September 2021

Country Eligibility: Global

WSA is a non-monetary award system with a focus on sustainable knowledge transfer through a worldwide network. Winners benefit not from a one-time financial reward, but a lifelong partnership and integration.

The iF Social Impact Prize 2021

Deadline: 18 November 2021

Country Eligibility: Global

The iF SOCIAL IMPACT PRIZE aims to publish and support projects that contribute to our society. The prize categories correspond to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. We do not charge any fees. The best projects will be honored with a share prize money of EUR 100,000 in total in 2021.

Ashoka – Venture and Fellowship

Deadline: 30 November 2021

Country Eligibility: Latin America and the Caribbean

Ashoka has been building and nurturing the largest network of leading social entrepreneurs for the last 35 years. They implement a life-long fellowship programme, where every member is committed to championing new patterns of social good.

The European Startup Prize for mobility 2021

Deadline: 30 November 2021

Country Eligibility: Europe

The EUSP is an annual acceleration program that supports the 10 best European startups developing sustainable mobility innovations, with the aim of giving them the resources necessary to scale up in Europe. The Gold Awards winners will receive a Top Business & Legal mentoring powered by Boston Consulting Group and additional 3 millions APIs credits from TomTom.

AssistBuzz interactive Investor Calendar displays current and upcoming global investment conferences, events and startup grants for global social enterprises and impact investors.

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