Innovation fund

Project description

Title: Innovation fund
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Ecuador, in particular Esmeraldas and Manabí
Lead executing agency: Secretaria Técnica de Cooperación Internacional (SETECI)
Overall term: July 2016 to June 2018


On the basis of its National Development Plan, Ecuador has devised a strategy for revamping its economic structure and practices. In particular, this strategy seeks to achieve a shift from the focus on exporting primary commodities and exploiting natural resources to engaging in diversified and environmentally efficient production with higher added value. This includes, for example, service industries founded on a knowledge-based economy. The aim is to make greater use of the population’s skills and knowledge in the future. However, staff in local administrations are often unable to implement the pertinent reforms due to a lack of expertise. There is also little cooperation with the private sector and insufficient involvement of civil society.


Private and public sector actors at various levels of government cooperate more effectively on reshaping Ecuador’s economic structure and practices in the fields of vocational training, employment creation and integration into the labour market as well as local business development.


The fund was set up to finance innovative projects that foster public-private cooperation at different levels of government in the productive sector. Eligible projects have terms of six to 12 months and values range from 100,000 to 150,000 euros. They focus on vocational training, employment creation and integration into the labour market as well as local business development are put out to public tender. Project applications may be submitted by state institutions at any administrative level provided they are cooperating with at least one private or public enterprise or with civil society organisations. To qualify for funding, project applicants need to be able to contribute at least 20 per cent of the project value themselves.

Projects are jointly selected by SETECI (Ecuadorian Technical Secretariat for International Cooperation) and the German Embassy. Applications are assessed according to an agreed set of criteria and clear selection rules. Special consideration is given to projects that involve a range of different actors at local level and that will rapidly bring about visible and positive change. At the same time, the approach and the lessons learned should also be suitable for transfer to other parts of the country. Moreover, any project applications submitted should seek to have a positive impact on gender and/or generational equality. On request, GIZ advises interested parties on how to prepare a project proposal, and provides close support during project implementation.

The assisted projects are deemed innovative because they trial new processes, methods and forms of cooperation at local level, encouraging the participation of a range of different actors who have not worked closely with one another previously.