Date: May 2015
Program: *Energy and Environment Partnership with the Andean Region**
Donor: Finnish Department of Foreign Affairs (Finland)
Consultancy Firm: NIRAS (Finland)
I was head of the team contracted to evaluate the third call for proposals and the person responsible for the evaluation of the financial viability of each project.
The program was very innovative in the sense that it provided funding to ideas in the energy sector that could demonstrate a positive social and environmental impact. Funding was offered to both the profit and non-profit sectors. It was a requirement, in both cases, for the idea to be financially viable.
I really liked the approach, because:
On the one hand, it required projects to demonstrate a positive environmental and social impact, while at the same time requiring them to be financially viable.
On the other, it was addressed to both the non-profit and the profit sectors.
I saw in the combination of these two characteristics a very effective of:
Helping increase the environmental and social awareness of the profit sector, by requiring them to make proposals that demonstrated a positive impact, instead of aiming at profit maximisation, and
Increasing the financial awareness of the non-profit sector, by requiring them to propose initiatives that were financially viable, instead of being just charities dependant on a budget to spend.
This inspired me to write an article titled “The Rise of the Social Enterprise“
For evaluating the financial viability of the projects, applicants were provided with a template spreadsheet that they had to fill in. The tool projected financial statements based on required investments, forecasted expenses and expected revenues.
The team responsible for implementing the proposal had spent many hours developing such tool. However, they had not spent enough time to create something that could be implemented in other projects because (1) neither it was their mandate to do so, (2) nor the tool could be freely shared if funded by a specific donor, without the donor relinquishing intellectual property.
On seeing that, I realised that a way to promote the above mentioned approach would be to develop a generic tool, that could be used by any similar program, and make it available for free. By the end of July 2015, the first version of the generic edition of Prodegee was born. Once ready, I gave a copy to the team implementing the Energy and Environment Partnership with the Andean Region, for them to use it in their next call for proposals.