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July 17, 2020

Call for application: NINJA (Next Innovation with Japan) Business Plan Competition in response to COVID-19 under the concept of "SMART" in Zambia (Updated on 23rd July)

1. About NINJA Business Plan Competition
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has announced the launch of the NINJA (Next Innovation with Japan) Business Plan Competition for businesses emerging or growing during and after the COVID-19 outbreak. The competition will be held in 19 African countries, including Zambia. Applicants will be evaluated by each JICA country office.

The amount of the award is up to USD 30,000, depending on the proposed business. The award will be provided in several installments at each milestone for the monitoring, under the contract with JICA. The application can be submitted here by 5th August, 2020 (First-come, first-reviewed base). Eligibility criteria, schedule, and other conditions are described here.

2. About the "SMART" concept in Zambia
JICA in Zambia has addressed several development issues with the people in Zambia for decades, with a focus on private sector development, agriculture, education, health, water, environment, and infrastructure. Our aim for this competition is not only to provide growth opportunities for companies but also to contribute to making a difference in people's lives during and after COVID-19. JICA Zambia Office is looking for a highly feasible business plan (not just an idea) and applicants' a clear vision for the post-COVID-19 world. We will implement the competition with the concept of "SMART" in mind.

Special focus on high-growth business with positive social and environmental impact
JICA Zambia Office would value the proposals with high-growth business potential and positive impact on society and/or environment, adapting to the new normal during and after COVID-19. The following are examples of areas that JICA is supporting in Zambia. The proposals addressing these issues would be gained additional points.

  • Quality and productivity of products and/or service
  • Export-oriented production or cross-border service delivery
  • Market-oriented agriculture
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education or online education
  • Primary health care, especially health service delivery
  • Sustainable solutions for non-revenue water
  • Sustainable solutions for solid waste such as recycling
  • Solutions for rural electrification
  • Smooth cross-border and domestic transportation
  • Supporting the communities of the former refugees

We expect local business participation. Our evaluation would be based on i) the degree of uniqueness/innovation of the business idea, ii) the business feasibility, iii) applicant's existing track-record (if any), and iv) leadership and execution abilities of the applicant(s) and the capacity of the management team.

Matching with investors
We will work with stakeholders, investors in particular, for this and after the competition to develop the investment ecosystem in Zambia.

Advisory service
We will provide feedback / advice on the proposals that are submitted by 29th July. It might take more than a few days to receive the feedback from us. Applicants could re-submit the revised proposals by 5th August.

Roadshow in Japan
JICA is considering to provide the opportunities for well-selected companies in the NINJA Business Plan Competition in 19 countries to participate in roadshows in Japan. In addition, JICA Zambia office is considering additional opportunities.

Two-step competitions
JICA Zambia Office is planning a follow-up competition (after the NINJA Business Plan Competition) that investors in Zambia, Japan, and other countries could join. Detailed will be announced later.

3. Contact:
For any general queries about the NINJA Business Plan Competition, please get in touch with JICA (HQ) at the following email address: edgps@jica.go.jp
For any queries about the concept of SMART, please get in touch with JICA Zambia Office at the following email address: jica.zb.psd@gmail.com


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