Empowering and enabling communities
to thrive with Social Innovation

Social Innovation

Social innovation is about leveraging the power of innovation, entrepreneurialism and creativity to create inclusive business models that empower communities to improve their lives and enhance social impact in a responsible manner. Our focus is on rural communities in Africa, supporting access to health and improving agricultural productivity and sustainable strength.

Leveraging the power of innovation, entrepreneurialism and creativity to enable communities to thrive.

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Our approach:


      Social Innovation Ecosystem Fund


      With the Social Innovation Ecosystem Fund the Bayer Foundation is awarding a total of EUR 20 million during the coming years to social innovators with a focus on Africa. This fund specifically targets pioneering technological and entrepreneurial solutions which empower African smallholder farmers and their communities to help lift themselves out of poverty.


      Social Entrepreneurs providing scalable solutions for rural African population in the area of health and nutrition and sustainable growth.

      What are the key nomination criteria?

      • All candidates need to be beyond the proof of concept phase

      • All proposed projects need to have 
the ability to reach at least 200,000 people within the determined project duration

      •Clear scope and measurable Key Performance Indicators are a prerequisite. All project activities must be adequately documented

      • All documentation must be independently auditable

      • All candidates need to show a proven track record of adequate reporting and impact measurement


      myAgro – Senegal, Mali and Tanzania

      myAgro - a non-profit social enterprise - received funds from the Bayer Social Innovation Ecosystem to further drive its pioneering model which uses mobile phones to enable farmers enables farmers to save and then invest their own funds in high-quality seed, fertilizer, tools and agricultural training. For more information, visit www.myagro.org

      Mercy Corps/Pula advisors – Zimbabwe

      The social enterprise Mercy Corps received funds from the Bayer Social Innovation Ecosystem Awards to provide data-driven innovation to help scale smallholder farmer outreach and yields. For more information, visit www.mercycorps.org

      PATH – Senegal and Mali

      The social enterprise PATH received funds from Bayer’s Social Innovation Ecosystem Awards to strengthen community responses to malaria in Tambacouda (Senegal) using an integrated approach combining health and agriculture. Learn more at www.path.org

      Living Goods – Uganda

      Living Goods - a nonprofit organization that digitally-enables community health workers (CWHs) - received funds from the Bayer Social Innovation Ecosystem Awards to provide high-impact women’s health services in Sub-Saharan Africa. For more information, visit www.livinggoods.org


        The Bayer Foundation Women’s Empowerment Award honors women - or men supporting women - who pioneer and execute disruptive, innovative and entrepreneurial solutions that help fight world hunger and create health for all. The award comprises three annual grants of 30,000 EUR, 20,000 EUR and 10,000 EUR which are awarded as first, second and third prizes.

        Founders of social enterprises that have a proven track record of successfully impacting Sub-Saharan Africa or Africa communities in the focus areas of health or agriculture.

        Which application documents are required for my nomination?

        • Reference letter from two recognized leaders or institutional heads.

        • Outline of milestones-to-date, success and sustainable impact.

        • Business plan including strategic plan for scaling

        • CV


        What is the timing?


        This award will open for nominations in the Fall of 2020.


        There is no social innovation without collaboration. This is why Bayer Foundation thrives on building and curating ecosystems with communities and social enterprises across the world for a world with Health for All and Hunger for None.


          Social Impact Start-up Academy (SISTAC)

          Bayer Foundation is a co-founder of the Social Impact Startup Academy. This is a unique platform supporting students and social innovators to identify and develop breakthrough social innovations that address the world’s most pressing issues around SDGs 2 & 3 (zero hunger and good health and wellbeing). This 12-month academy is anchored in action-oriented learning formats which form part of a Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Master’s Program at the Ingolstadt School of Management, Cape Town University and Ben Gurion University, in Israel. Examples of projects include a feasibility study to enter a new market; a business model or business plan analysis - or even support with fundraising and crowdfunding. Although financial support is not directly granted, it can be realized through contacts from Bayer Foundation’s network.

          • Students enrolled in relevant Master’s programs at the following universities: University of Cape Town, the Ben Gurion University of and the Ingolstadt School of Management

          • Universities that are interested in collaborating with SISTAC

          • Professors interested in enrolling their university or are currently working at an already enrolled university (see above)

          • Early stage social innovators who have an innovative idea that has social impact with the potential for global scaling

          • The number of slots for projects per semester varies with the number of students that enroll in the Master’s program. Typically, it will be 3-5 projects supported by groups of 3-5 students each

          What are the criteria for nomination?


          Proven record of the maturity and innovativeness of the project (idea, pre-seed or seed stage) as well as the viability of its (social) business model. All innovations must focus on SDGs 2 & 3.

          Founder of Bisa M-Health Raindolf Owusu

          The idea: Meet your doctor online service app. Disrupt the way how people in remote areas of Africa gain 1st access to doctors and hospitals.

          Social impact: Millions of people in rural Africa live more than a day of traveling away from the next doctor – with little to no access to basic health. BISA “Ask your Doctor Online” gives remote people in Africa access to health.

          Operating: Ghana and Senegal

          FOUNDER: Raindolf Owusu

          WEBSITE: www.bisaapp.com

          Video: Imagefilm


          If you have further questions about our awards, please click here: