Grand Challenges Canada is a global leader in developing and investing in innovative financing for development impact, through the:
- Global Health Investment Fund
- Every Woman Every Child Innovation Marketplace
- Women’s and Children’s Health Technology Fund managed by Cross-Border Impact Ventures
- And other models, including the structuring and investment in a Development Impact Bond
Global Health Investment Fund
In 2012, Grand Challenges Canada became an anchor investor in the Global Health Investment Fund (GHIF). This fund was established to finance the development of new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for public health challenges that disproportionately burden underserved communities with a focus on late-stage product development and the early commercialization of promising new healthcare technologies that can be affordably delivered in resource-limited settings. GHIF is capitalized by a diverse group of limited partners, including anchor support from Grand Challenges Canada (funded by the Government of Canada), the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (acting through KfW), and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. Other notable investors include the International Finance Corporation, AXA, GSK, Merck, and the Pfizer Foundation.
Products are now improving and saving tens of millions of lives in low- and middle-income countries. Reflows from this investment enabled Grand Challenges Canada to become an anchor investor in another impact-focused fund, the Women’s and Children’s Health Technology Fund.
Every Woman Every Child Innovation Marketplace
The Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) Innovation Marketplace, housed at Grand Challenges Canada, was a strategic alliance of development organizations including Grand Challenges Canada, the Norwegian Agency for International Development, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The EWEC Innovation Marketplace envisioned 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 Innovation Marketplace helped its portfolio of promising reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health innovations, implemented across 84 countries, to mobilize $46 million for their next stages of growth. GCC continues to integrate the lessons learned from this platform into our ongoing work.
Women’s and Children’s Health Technology Fund
For the last two years, Grand Challenges Canada has been incubating this impact investment fund to be managed by a new and legally independent investment firm, Cross-Border Impact Ventures (CBIV). The goal is to create more opportunity for bold and scalable innovations to reach unserved women and children in low- and middle-income countries, by improving access to impact capital. On December 7, 2021, the Fund announced its launch with commitments of US$30 million. The Fund is the first gender lens global health technology impact investment fund in Canada.
The primary impact of the Fund will be through its investments in companies that have the potential to reach many users, and achieve lives saved and lives improved in low- and middle-income countries. At a size of $150 million (or more), the Fund’s impact target will be 500,000 lives saved and 10 million lives improved. Grand Challenges Canada is proud to have helped incubate this potentially transformative fund.
Cross-Border Impact Ventures is fully independent of Grand Challenges Canada. To ensure the Women’s and Children’s Health Technology Fund’s independence, while also enabling its success and impact going forward, GCC will:
- Participate on the Limited Partner Advisory Council (LPAC);
- Participate on the Fund’s Strategic Advisory Board;
- Participate on the Fund’s Impact Committee;
- Advise CBIV on impact measurement and evaluation (through a cost-recovery services agreement); and
- Support the development of impact models for CBIV investments (through a cost-recovery services agreement).
The Cross-Border Impact Ventures managing partners will also provide the Grand Challenges Canada Foundation with 5% of the carry earned by the firm on this fund.
One of the Fund’s General Partners, Annie Thériault, was formerly Chief Investment Officer at Grand Challenges Canada who was brought on to lead the Every Woman Every Child Innovation Marketplace, a venture advisory platform, and to launch this fund. Decision-making over GCC’s investments was fully independent of Ms. Thériault’s mandate, while she was employed by Grand Challenges Canada and thereafter, including the decision whether to invest in and support the Fund. These decisions were taken and continue to be taken by GCC’s Board of Directors on the recommendation of the Co-CEOs and in the best interests of the organization. Also, Grand Challenges Canada has no decision-making authority over the investment decisions for Cross-Border Impact Ventures, which rest solely with the General Partners.
Development Impact Bonds
Development Impact Bonds (DIBs) catalyze funding for needed social programs by creating the challenge into an investible opportunity with a strong focus on results. In 2018, Grand Challenges Canada—alongside partners the Cameroon Ministry of Public Health, Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF), Nutrition International and the Fondation Kangourou Cameroun, with the support of the Fundación Canguro Colombia—launched the first DIB globally focused on the health of newborns.