About DIV | U.S. Agency for International Development

DIV holds a year-round grant competition for innovative ideas, pilots and tests them using cutting-edge analytical methods, and scales solutions that  demonstrate widespread impact and cost-effectiveness. DIV’s tiered-funding model, inspired by the venture capital experience, invests comparatively small amounts in relatively unproven concepts, and continues to support only those that prove they work. Visit he DIV portfolio to see DIV the evidence-gathering and scale-up activities of DIV winners around around the world.


DIV’s objective is to support the discovery of better ways to solve big problems. America is facing a time of austerity, but significant development challenges drive a strong imperative for our action as global citizens. As a result, we need to work harder than ever to implement solutions that get the biggest bang for our development bucks.

The DIV model is designed to help us advance what works while avoiding long term investments in what doesn’t.  DIV blends best practice due-diligence strategies in its exciting new development approach that turns bright ideas into bold results: the DIV model includes tiered risk management systems from venture capital; research approaches from economics; and development expertise from nonprofits and government.


Our model is simple: we hold a competition for bold development ideas, we pilot them in small increments and test their effects, and we scale those that demonstrate widespread impact and cost-efficiency. In the innovative process, we find both failures and successes: but when ideas fail, we learn that quickly and at relatively low expense; and when ideas succeed, we find out how to reach millions of people at a fraction of the usual cost.

For more information on how DIV works, please visit our model in detail. To see the DIV model in action, check out our portfolio of grantees.


  • 3,727 applications have been submitted to DIV since October 2010.
  • 70% of DIV’s applicants are new to USAID (since July 2011).
  • DIV has invested in 88 solutions in 8 sectors and 29 countries around the world. More are under negotiation.
  • DIV’s diverse portfolio is composed of grantees from the private sector (33%), NGOs (53%), and academic institutions (14%). 
  • 83% of awards involve a coalition of partners with distinct skills (and 62% of awards involve 3 or more partners): 63% of coalitions contain at least one NGO; 40% include a social enterprise; 35% include an evaluator or academic; 26% include a for-profit firm (other than a social enterprise); and 17% include local government. Plus, 93% of coalitions include at least one member based outside of the US.  (As of end July 2013)

  • DIV invests in ideas across three stages of their growth. 59% of DIV's awards are at Stage 1: Proof of Concept (average investment of $119,000); 40% of DIV's awards are at Stage 2: Testing at Scale (average investment of $700,000); and 1% of DIV's awards are at Stage 3: Widespread Implementation (average investment of $5.5 million)
  • The average DIV grantee brings $0.79 in cost-share for every $1 of funding from USAID.
  • 51% of DIV’s grantees are conducting randomized control trials. For details about when a randomized control trial is most appropriate for a DIV applicant, please see DIV's Annual Program Statement.

Numbers updated December 2013


USAID launched Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) in October 2010 to find, test, and scale ideas that could radically improve global prosperity. DIV is part of USAID’s commitment to invest in cost-efficient innovations that address global development challenges.


Last updated: April 28, 2014