A unique approach to the accelerator model

From 2018-2019, FHI Ventures conducted an intensive accelerator program with its initial two cohorts of social enterprises to help them increase their growth. The accelerator program featured:

Catalyst Fund

In 2013, FHI 360 launched its Catalyst Fund, an early stage seed fund designed to incubate innovation among FHI 360 employees. The Catalyst Fund provided FHI 360 staff with grants to develop approaches, tools or products that addressed human development challenges and strengthened FHI 360’s competitive advantage. These investments included: M360 school information system mobile apps
The M360 school information system is a suite of mobile apps that collect health and education data from schools in remote areas or conflict zones. M360’s ability to send data without internet connectivity keeps information up-to-date and helps policymakers make informed decisions to support student success. The product consists of three applications that track students’ time spent learning, factors that influence students’ ability to learn to read, and whether students’ nutritional needs are being met, either at school or at home.
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) research
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, could become an important tool for international development. Although they have many humanitarian applications — including emergency food provision, disaster relief and health supply transport — the common use of UAVs for military operations could negatively affect public perceptions of their use for development. Some technological, regulatory and ethical issues must also be addressed before their commercial or humanitarian use becomes common. The Catalyst-funded “Health Service Delivery in the UAV Age” project examined the acceptability and feasibility of using UAVs to solve development challenges. The project conducted one study on citizen and government perceptions of UAVs uses for development in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and a second study to identify the current and potential role of UAVs in development, including main challenges and ethical considerations. These studies are among the first to explore perceptions of UAVs in developing countries.
Attain DC postsecondary education resources mobile app
The Attain DC mobile app compiles and provides underserved youth with access to postsecondary education resources including financial aid, housing, healthcare, childcare and other social services. The app helps low-income high school students on their journey to postsecondary education by linking them to resources that they may not otherwise find.
mSavings financial literacy curriculum and app
The mSavings financial literacy curriculum for unbanked youth in Ghana is delivered via a digital app and in-person training. Digital content includes videos, quizzes and messages designed to build young people’s savings and financial management skills, and the curriculum is paired with a scalable Ecobank mobile money savings account.

Expanded Organizational Capacity

In 2011, FHI received funding support from the FHI Foundation to acquire the projects and expertise of AED (Academy for Educational Development), forming FHI 360. This expansion of talent and experience further equipped the organization to address diverse and inter-related challenges in education, health, nutrition, economic development, civil society and environment.

HIV/AIDS Programs

During the 1980s, with funding from what would become the FHI Foundation, FHI 360 initiated early pilot programs in Africa to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic, paving the way for the organization to become an international leader with one of the world’s largest HIV/AIDS portfolios. In 2001, a US$1 million investment from the FHI Foundation allowed FHI 360 to demonstrate the viability of antiretroviral therapy (ART) programs in resource-constrained settings in Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda. These pilot programs were quickly replicated, expanded and funded by the U.S. government and many other government organizations, bringing life-saving treatment to millions.