ChallengeDespite progress under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), each year approximately 5.9 million children die before the age of five and 289,000 women die in pregnancy and childbirth. In the early years of life, 1 in 3 children fail to reach their full potential. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a revised Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health have set targets to improve this situation. To meet those targets, innovation is required. Although there is an increasing number of Innovative healthcare concepts at the early pilot stage, a bottleneck exists at the “critical testing” ($250,000 - $2,000,000 to further prove a transformative concept) and “transition to scale” ($1,000,000 - $15,000,000) stage.
Response: EWEC Innovation MarketplaceTo tackle this bottleneck, the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health has launched the Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) Innovation Marketplace. The Marketplace is a strategic alliance of development innovation organizations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, the United States Agency for International Development, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation and UBS Optimus Foundation.
The objective is to make 20 investments by 2020 and by 2030 to see at least 10 of these innovations widely available and having significant impact on women, children and adolescents.
To achieve these goals, the Marketplace pools the strengths of existing development innovation organizations to conduct curation and brokering.
Curation is comparative analysis of innovations sourced from partner organizations.
- The goal of curation is to identify the innovations in this pipeline of Marketplace partner innovations that show the most investment readiness and promise for impact on the health of women, children, and adolescents.
- All innovations considered in curation have already received past “proof-of- concept” funding from one or more Marketplace partners.
- The Marketplace has a strong advantage in identifying promising innovations, as it is able to assess information from across its partner organizations, including through platforms like the Innovation Exchange.
Brokering is the process of matching promising innovations to the right investor.
- The Marketplace brokers promising innovations to corporate, not-for-profit, governmental, and high-net-worth individual partners.
- The Marketplace also leverages broader networks of investors linked to the United Nations, for example: businesses which have made discretionary commitments to EWEC, and the country governments of the World Bank Global Financing Facility.
Creating ValueThe Innovation Marketplace creates value by:
- Catalyzing investment in high quality innovations to improve women’s, children’s and adolescent’s health.
- Linking a supply of innovations from development innovation organizations to demand from companies and governments.
- Providing a mechanism for development innovation funders to source new deals and crowd-in co-funding for exciting projects.
- Addressing a lack of quality, vetted deal-flow in the healthcare innovation investment space.
- Convening stakeholders from the private sector, civil society, and government to help ease the pathway of innovations to scale.
Figure 1: An innovation’s path through the Marketplace
Note: for more information on the “Innovation Marketplace”, including details of its pipeline, curation, brokering, and investment functions, please see the article “Innovating for Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescent’s Health” in the British Medical Journal.