Grand Challenges Canada

• Innovation Marketplace, hosted at Grand Challenges Canada, leverages 10x initial investment over five years
• Plans for renewal and growth to be revealed in 2021


Toronto, September 24, 2020 – The Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) Innovation Marketplace—a strategic alliance of global development innovation organizations including Grand Challenges Canada, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—is pleased to announce that it has catalyzed $32 million USD to invest in the transition to scale of promising reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) innovations. This amount, mobilized over the Innovation Marketplace’s first five-year mandate, represents a tenfold leverage of the initial investment made in the platform by these anchor investors in 2015.  Recipient projects are selected based on the mission of the United Nations (UN) Every Woman Every Child initiative.

“The Innovation Marketplace has developed a unique approach between brokerage and accelerator. The team works primarily with social enterprises and is empowered to support founders for the long-term, in the way that highly-effective angel investors would in mainstream investment sectors, beginning around the time of a capital raise,” said Annie Theriault, Chief Investment Officer of Grand Challenges Canada who oversees the Every Woman Every Child Innovation Marketplace. “The support provided is highly customized since no two social enterprises are the same with respect to their abilities, networks and needs. And, because of its positioning in the global health community, the Marketplace also often creates opportunities for innovators to build long-term partnerships that can help them meet significant milestones.”

Haitham El-Noush, Co-Founder and Member of the EWEC Innovation Marketplace Steering Committee and Senior Advisor, Global Health at Norad, added: “When we began on the journey of the Every Woman Every Child Innovation Marketplace, we were creating something new to fill an important gap we saw via the work of the anchor partners. We could not be prouder of the outcome and look forward to the next evolution of the work now that this unique approach has been demonstrated.”

Financing Gaps to Meet the SDGs

This $32 million USD has helped finance 22 innovations implemented in 16 countries. Projects have been vetted by an Expert Advisory Group of global health professionals based on an assessment of a project’s results, potential and needs.

Each of the innovations addresses an RMNCAH challenge that is critical to meeting Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being, as set out by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. Focus areas of the Innovation Marketplace portfolio include maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity, child health and development, reproductive and sexual health and infectious diseases like HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

Funds were mobilized from a diverse group of 40 international stakeholders, including Asia Africa Investment and Consulting (AAIC), Child Relief International (CRI) Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, ELMA Philanthropies, Global Health Investment Fund (GHIF), Johnson & Johnson, Merck for Mothers, TEAMFund and UBS Optimus Foundation.

Renewal in 2021

The platform will continue to grow as its renewal process launches in 2021. Plans include bringing on more potential funders, including Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) groups from private companies; developing a sustainability plan; and introducing the ability to invest capital directly into innovations in addition to crowding-in capital.

About the Every Woman Every Child Innovation Marketplace

The Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) Innovation Marketplace envisions a world in which equitable access to affordable, innovative health solutions enables every woman, child and adolescent in low- and middle-income countries to realize their rights to physical and mental health and well-being.

The EWEC Innovation Marketplace manages a portfolio selected due to their potential to save and improve lives of women and children in low and middle-income countries and their likelihood to scale sustainably for long-term impact  and provides customized support to each portfolio organization while creating opportunities for long-term partnerships with funders, investors, and scaling partners. 

About Grand Challenges Canada

Grand Challenges Canada is dedicated to supporting Bold Ideas with Big Impact®. Funded by the Government of Canada and other partners, Grand Challenges Canada funds innovators in low- and middle-income countries and Canada. The bold ideas Grand Challenges Canada supports integrate science and technology, social and business innovation—known as Integrated Innovation®.

One of the largest impact-first investors in Canada, Grand Challenges Canada has supported a pipeline of over 1,300 innovations in 106 countries. Grand Challenges Canada estimates that these innovations have the potential to save up to 1.78 million lives and improve up to 64 million lives by 2030.


For more information, please contact:

Douglas Chow, Senior Manager, Communications
Grand Challenges Canada