We are on a weekly basis being told that MYC4 must be the single most suitable purpose for receiving soft funds to support the development of the platform… nice!
Soft funds (often in form of a grant) should be used to supplement the Cash Outlays (red bars) until break-even (when the light blue line crosses the 0% level). The outlays in MYC4 has so far been covered by Equity
Well, I actually agree that we are a very interesting venture to support with funds because, amongst other, MYC4 is now tangible, MYC4 is building on a proven concept and MYC4 wants to encourage South-South (which is super hot in the development sphere). But the truth is that we have not received tons of funds from this space lately.
There are plenty of soft funds out there even though the world’s financial situation has made soft funds pockets less deep. I believe MYC4 will deliver ‘bang for the buck’ to the individuals/organizations that choose to support us… so what is preventing the hand shake?
We have previously received grants of different kind, as an example; we received a large grant (EUR 675,000) from Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DANIDA) in 2006, which worked as a major boost for us to go from pen & paper to actually develop the foundation of the digital infrastructure we use today (we are still extremely grateful for the pad on the shoulder)!
One of walls we meet when we have applied for soft funds is; “But you are a for-profit organization. We only support non-profits”. Hell yes, we are for-profit! Sustainability is the principal element in MYC4 (together with transparency).
Here are just a couple of the sources of soft funds that I already have on my target list (just to give you a flavor of my thinking):
Virgin Money: Branson understands the importance of addressing people that are not serviced today or somehow are squeezed by a monopoly like situation and then build a business from there… he also has a big heart for Africa!
The five notable African philanthropists that Mfonobong Nsehe writes about here are also very interesting to look at. Though, it is rather thought provoking when you let your eyes roll over the first four philanthropists on his list. They are primarily supporting education and people working with HIV – I am not saying that these areas should not be supported, but I think it is time to experience a fresh wind blowing in order to get quantum leaps. Additionally, I think that poverty is directly related to education and HIV prevention (luckily I share this view with majority of people/organizations working with development).
Number 5 on the list is Mark Shuttleworth and he is definitely a person we must talk to! Just read what his Foundation states on their site: “We identify amazing people, give them a fellowship grant, and multiply the money they put into their projects by a factor of ten or more.”… see this is the fresh wind blowing I was writing about above.
We have just applied for a big grant with EU. There are 223 applicants and only 30 applicants will enter next round of selection. MYC4 is seeking funds to two things that are correlated; upgrade of our cash management system to deal with currency exposure to make attractive returns on MYC4 (target: get more investors) and strengthening of our organization in Africa (target: get more partners/businesses on the platform). If we succeed in getting this grant beginning of next year, it would be like with the DANIDA grant a huge step forward for MYC4 in scaling the model!
Please feel free to kick back with ideas as well as people/organization we must talk to especially if they are part of (or want to be) the fresh wind blowing…