Open Call for Innovations

This Open Call for Innovation (O-CFI) is designed to address barriers to enable the production of more food with efficient and sustainable usage of water and energy along the value chain from farming to end-users, and to impact food security, gender, and poverty reduction in an environmentally sustainable way.

Individual awards are expected to range between US$25,000 and US$200,000, depending on the type of funding requested with the awardee expected to bring in a minimum 1-1 matching amount themselves. The period of performance for individual awards is up to two years; the actual period of performance for each award will be determined at the time of award.

Why Apply?

Join a network of innovative game-changing entrepreneurs

  • Winners will be part of an extensive network and introduced to various partners, mentors, and service providers to help them achieve their expansion goals.   
  • They will also have access to an exclusive learning community where they can exchange ideas with their cohort peers in the cohort and other Regional Innovation Hubs through regular workshops and meetings.

Receive business model support and investment facilitation

  • Receive support to expand the business to other geographies, products, or services 
  • Attract and secure external investors by working with S/SEA RIH’s Brokering Unit.
  • Examples of support categories:
    • Investment readiness
    • Commercial expansion
    • Marketing and communication
    • Digitalization and technology enhancement

Unlock grant funding to help your innovation grow

Select organizations may qualify for grants to help achieve scaling goals, funding size ranges from $25,000 to $200,000 USD.

What We’re Looking For

WE4F is looking for mid to late-stage enterprises, nonprofits with a for-profit program, and other organizations based in the South and Southeast Asia region, that have innovative water-food, energy-food, and water-energy-food solutions. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements outlined below to participate in this call for innovation.

Women-owned and women-led organizations are encouraged to apply.


WE4F is open to legally incorporated/registered for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations or academic institutions which are responsible for generating revenue and maintaining a self-sustaining operational budget. 


WE4F is open to all relevant organizations/companies which are ready to scale. We encourage applications from small and medium enterprises (SMEs). 



Applicants must be legally incorporated in one of 15 countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor Leste, Vietnam.

If expansion into a new country is a key part of an applicant’s business plan, they must already have partners in place in that country to be considered.  


Applications responses must be written in English.


Applicants must contribute matching funds to the overall award, if grant is awarded.


Applicants’ innovations must have a direct, tangible linkage to water-food, energy-food, or water-energy-food. In addition, innovations must directly or indirectly impact poverty reduction and gender equality, and  have a positive impact on the environment and avoid negative environmental effects.

How to Apply


  • Review the solicitation document.
  • Review the eligibility criteria.
  • Apply on Survey Monkey. 
  • If interested, register for the Q&A webinar and submit your questions. 
  • Review the complete list of application questions. All applications must be submitted via the application portal.  Submissions via email or any other medium will not be accepted. 
  • Applicants can save their progress on the application form by clicking on the “Save & continue editing” icon at the bottom of the application. Please note that the application must be submitted before the deadline. 

All questions marked with * are mandatory, please ensure you fill them before applying. 

In case you have any questions about the application or are facing any technical challenges with the application portal, please contact us at

Application Resources

Gham Power, Nepal
Sumba Sustainable Solutions, Indonesia
Khmer Green Coal, Cambodia

Past Calls for Innovations and Prizes

2020 Call for Innovations

The South and Southeast Asia Regional Innovation Hub (S/SEA RIH) proudly announces its first call for innovations.

DUE DATE: Concept Notes shall be received no sooner than November 03, 2020 and no later than December 15, 2020 at 5:00 PM GMT+7 .

Applicants should retain a copy of their proposals and accompanying uploaded documents for their records.

QUESTIONS: Prospective Applicants who have questions concerning the contents of this Call for Innovations must submit them in writing no later than November 16, 2020 at 5:00 PM GMT+7 to

Question and Answer Webinar

Asia EDGE Ag-Energy Prize


The Water and Energy for Food (WE4F) Asia Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy (EDGE) Ag-Energy Prize seeks business owners and entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia with game-changing innovations operating at the nexus of renewable energy, and agriculture.

The prize competition will spur, recognize, and reward outstanding enterprises from both youth innovators and mid-stage businesses in the Southeast Asian footprint. The prize competition aims to:

  1. Identify and fund promising innovators at the nexus of renewable energy and agriculture;
  2. Explore market activity about the nature, progress, and scale of small and growing enterprises in the region; and
  3. Improve awareness of WE4F and Asia EDGE development initiatives among the business community.

The Prize is open to mid-stage businesses and youth innovators. Applicants will be judged on their understanding of the problems within the sector, the potential social impact of their innovation, the viability of their business model, and their ability to target markets at the base of the pyramid.


The Prize includes a $345,000 cash prize purse for winners and runners-up, travel sponsorship to participate in the Clean Asia Energy Forum in Manila, the Philippines in June 2020, and customized acceleration services from the WE4F Asia Regional Hub.

In addition, 10 mid-stage and 5 youth innovator prize finalists will benefit from recognition on the WE4F website, communications materials, and travel support to participate in a co-creation workshop in Bangkok, Thailand in May 2020 to discuss challenges and opportunities in the renewable energy, and agriculture nexus in Asia.


Mid-Stage Enterprises Eligibility 

  • To be eligible for the mid-stage prize, enterprises must have existing services or products in the renewable energy – agriculture nexus. Enterprises with unit costs of $100 or less must have a minimum of 2,500 customers; while enterprises with a unit cost of greater than $100 must have a minimum of 1,000 customers to be eligible.

Youth Innovators Prize

  • For the Youth Innovators Prize, applicants must be under the age of 30 with a pre-revenue or post-revenue business model innovation in the renewable energy – agriculture nexus. The company must have a working prototype or minimum viable product along with a demonstrated BOP market segment being targeted, and be registered and operating within the countries in section.


Applicants will be judged on:

  • Understanding of the problems within the sector
  • Potential social impact of their innovation
  • Viability of the business plan
  • Ability to target markets on the base of the pyramid



The open application period for the WE4F Asia EDGE Ag-Energy Prize has now closed.


To access the recording of the Informational Webinar that was hosted on January 7th, click the following link for the recording.

To access the transcription of the Informational Webinar that was hosted on January 7th, click the following link for the transcript. 



WE4F is a joint international initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Announced at World Water Week 2018 and launched at Social Capital Markets 2019 signature event in San Francisco, CaliforniaWE4F aims to: 

  • Increase food production along the value chain through a more sustainable and efficient usage of water and/or energy. 
  • Increase income for base of the pyramid women and men in both rural and urban areas.  
  • Sustainably scale innovators’ solutions to meet the challenges in the WE4F nexus. 
  • Promote climate and environmental resilience and biodiversity through the sustainable, holistic management of natural resources and ecosystems.