Innovation Partnerships in Mining & Mining Services

Call for Concepts
Click Here to Apply


Prospero’s Mining & Mining Services sector works with intervention partners to address identified market constraints that hamper sector growth and competitiveness. These constraints include:


Access to investment finance and working capital owing to high interest rates and inability for banks to extend SMEs short- and long-term finance places major pressure on them to effectively compete with larger firms, which in effect limits their growth capabilities.


The lack of resources to prepare sound business and investment proposals, access to mentoring and support structures from the private sector and government institutions which would improve capacity to access finance.


Limited awareness of opportunities and a lack of connections to mining markets makes it very difficult for SMEs to penetrate these markets, especially when competing with well-established and preferred suppliers.


Many businesses do not meet industry standards and do not have required certification of products that the mines need. The standards set during the prequalification process are high and difficult for small businesses to meet.

Prospero is seeking concepts for the following initiatives: 

1.     Local Content

Prospero’s Local Content Initiative aims to increase local procurement in the Zambian mining supply value chain through capacity building and technical assistance to local manufacturing and maintenance services SMEs that provide goods and services recommended for localization in the Ministry of Mines & Minerals Development’s AfDB report.

Prospero works with mining companies through their individual mining supplier development programmes to provide direct financial and technical support to SMEs in the form of grants as instruments to support local content.

Goods and Services Sectors (GSS) identified by AfDB & the Government of Zambia:

Manufacturing and maintenance services SMEs that work with the following goods and services are encouraged to submit calls for concepts:

  1. Iron and steel intermediate inputs;
  2. Mill balls and rods, mill Liners and crusher and feeder wear plates;
  3. Nuts and bolts (and wire and nails);
  4. Centrifugal pumps;
  5. Valves;
  6. Refractory bricks and cements;
  7. Inputs into manufacture of electrical components;
  8. High- and low-tension porcelain ceramic insulators;
  9. Manufacture of ammonium nitrate;
  10. Manufacture of sodium hydrosulphide;
  11. Core business services (drilling, engineering services);
  12. Non-core services (transportation, catering, cleaning, gardening, security).

The following questions may be useful in helping to develop your investment concepts:

  • What are the main challenges in the mining and mining services sector that prevent SMEs in the sector from being more competitive? How is your product or service addressing these challenges?
  • How do you intend on creating opportunities for additional SME growth beyond your business that will lead to equitable distribution of economic opportunities for women, youth, rural populations and mining communities through job creation and value addition within the mining value chain?
  • What are the obstacles you are facing as domestic manufacturers or maintenance services providers?
  • What is the nature and source of your local inputs and raw materials vs imported inputs and raw materials?
  • How can SMEs in the mining value chain have more access to the mining market?
  • What support do you require for achieving local supply in these areas (e.g. finance, access to technology, training, standards and certifications, etc.)?
  • What are your views on the potential role of mining companies, business chambers, government and other entities in supporting local manufacturers and maintenance services providers of goods and services?
2.     Local Economic Development

Prospero’s Local Economic Development Initiative aims to further the creating of non-mine dependent livelihoods in the communities around mining assets through capacity building and technical assistance to local SME’s that create sustainable jobs and livelihoods.

Prospero works with mining companies through their individual social investment and corporate social responsibility programmes to provide grants and technical support to develop local economic development initiatives.

Prospero works with SMEs who have a partner mining company as intervention partners to provide direct financial and technical support to SME’s in the form of grants as instruments to support local economic development.

Prospero is soliciting investment concepts to develop high impact local economic develop initiatives which will create non-mine dependant livelihoods in mining regions.  We are particularly interested in innovations related to the following:

  • Commercial concepts that will create non-mine dependant, sustainable incomes and livelihoods in mining regions.
  • Development of innovations throughout various value chains to  increase exports of products into regional and export markets.
  • Development of innovative aggregation and distribution solutions to improve access to markets for smallholder farmers in mining regions.
  • Feasibility studies which will develop a concept seeking to strengthen mining operations and access to services for rural mine communities.

The following questions may be useful in helping to develop your investment concepts:

  • What are the main challenges facing non-mine dependant local economic development in mining communities that prevent the operations from being more competitive? How is your product or service addressing these challenges?
  • How could local economic development in mining communities benefit your business or make the sector more competitive?
  • What barriers does your company face in engaging with mining companies? And what support do you require to overcome these barriers. 
  • How do you intend on creating opportunities for additional SME growth beyond your business that will lead to equitable distribution of economic opportunities for women, youth, rural populations and mining communities through jobs and livelihoods. 


Prospero provides financial and/or technical assistance support to private sector companies willing to co-invest in innovative and scalable solutions that:

  • address key sector constraints and have strong commercial foundations
  • could help build companies’ ability to (eventually) attract commercial impact investment.
  • improve climate resilience and increased mining local procurement through inclusive business models (focus on women and youth) within the sub-sector.
  • support the establishment of value-chain consortiums in mining locations to achieve scalable business growth and create a
  • competitive mining sector with significant development impact.
  • create and/or sustain quality jobs and income opportunities for low-income Zambians and/or marginalized populations (women, youth, people with disabilities and rural populations).

Competitive project submissions should be built on the following criteria:

  • Projects should be both commercially and sustainability-oriented to ensure applicants’ commitment to the partnership.
  • Applicants should display sufficient capacity (technical, managerial and financial) to implement the proposed project successfully.
  • Proposed projects should clearly address at least one of the mining and mining services sector constraints in a logical and evidence-based way.  The project does not need to necessarily address every constraint, but it needs to be clear which market challenges are being faced by MSMEs within the sector.
  • Projects should introduce some level of innovation – a new product, service or business model – that will help address the mining and mining services sector constraints.
  • Provided all criteria are met, projects that are likely to deliver greater outcomes and in which the partner(s) contributes a larger proportion of the total project budget will be more competitive for funding. This will be assessed and judged internally by the Prospero team.
  • Provided all criteria are met, applicants that are able to leverage additional funds – the applicants’ own contributions and/or third-party funds – will be viewed favourably.
  • Projects that are likely to generate benefits for women, youth, disabled persons, and /or rural populations are strongly encouraged.
  • Projects that positively contribute to manufacturing and maintenance services in the mining sector and/or climate change mitigation/ resilience/adaptation are also encouraged.
  • Applicants should be able to demonstrate existing and relevant experience regarding their proposed project and possess relevant and valid trading licenses and/or permits.
  • All proposed projects should have a maximum duration of 18 months. There is no minimum duration. Longer-term partnerships (i.e. longer than 18 months) should be presented in a phased approach.

Prospero is looking for innovative, high-impact projects that will benefit relatively large numbers of Zambian individuals and MSMEs. Competition for funding is likely to be high, so be advised that only those projects that meet most of the selection criteria, provide the best value-for-money and have a high-impact will be considered. Funding is not guaranteed.


Prospero’ grants are both cost-sharing and reimbursable. Any financial contribution we make towards a proposed investment project is limited to a maximum of 50% (with one or two very specific exceptions) of the assessed ‘eligible project budget’. All grant awards will be inclusive of applicable taxes and will be paid in either ZMW or GBP.

What does ‘cost-sharing’ mean?

Cost-sharing requires potential grantees and, if relevant, other third-party organisations to share the costs of project implementation with Prospero. A cost-share is a portion of the total project costs that will be paid by the grantee and includes all contributions, both cash and in-kind (excluding in-kind labour), that a grantee makes towards a project. Funding sources will need to be clearly stated in the budget.

For successful applications, Prospero’s grant contribution to the overall project budget will be assessed according to the quality of the proposal and the grantees capacity and ability to invest their own funds and/or resources. The final grant amount will depend on the nature of the project, negotiations with Prospero and the successful verification of all contributions. In all cases, Prospero will want to leverage as much partner contribution as possible so please be realistic as you develop your proposed project budget. Prospero is unlikely to fund any project with no partner contribution.

What does ‘reimbursable’ mean?

Although Prospero provides up to a 50% financial contribution towards a proposed project, this amount is not provided upfront, but is instead reimbursed to grantees throughout the course of the project, subject to the achievement of mutually-agreed upon milestones. These reimbursements will be made according to an agreed payment schedule (which will be stated in the contract) and only after the grantee has submitted sufficient documents to verify expenses. Potential grantees are expected to have the capabilities to fund project activities upfront, for which they will be reimbursed by Prospero, and must demonstrate a stable financial history.

Types of grant facilities available

The following grant facilities are available under the Mining & Mining Services sector:

Grant Facility Description
Technical Assistance Prospero contributes to a partner’s costs of accessing specialist technical expertise during the design and/or implementation of the project.
Business Innovation Prospero contributes to projects that have identified innovative commercial opportunities in order to incentivise investment in innovation and offset some of the associated risks.
Grant facility amounts
Grant Facility Prospero contribution (Indicative range)
Technical Assistance only

£5,000 to £50,000


Please contact Prospero prior to submission for proposals outside of the indicative range.

Business Innovation (this can include some technical assistance)

£5,000 to £100,000


Please contact Prospero prior to submission for proposals outside of the indicative range.


Please keep in mind the following when preparing your budget:

Allowable Expenses Reasonable and actual costs related to project implementation, not including those in the Unallowable List. Vehicles are only allowable in very specific circumstances where need is clearly justified, and other transportation options are not reasonable or do not make commercial sense. Prospero retains the right to decide which of the costs are allowed.
Unallowable Expenses Purchase/rent of land or property, medicines not appearing on WHO’s Essential Drugs List, CFCs, pesticides with persistent organic pollutants banned by the Stockholm Convention, anything related to tobacco production, luxury goods, or military/security equipment or services
Value for Money Please keep in mind strict value for money principles as you develop your project budget. Include only costs relevant to implementation of the proposal project.
Eligible project costs
Project Set-up Costs Allowable expenses incurred to start-up the project such as technical assistance costs, input costs, installation costs, training, etc.  
Project Capital Expenditure Total amount of funds required by the company to acquire or upgrade fixed assets (such as buildings, equipment) or upgrade land/property. This excludes vehicles except in very specific circumstances.
Project Operations Total amount of funds required by the company for day to day operations such as advertising, branding, etc.
Other Allowable Costs Any other allowable expenses that are necessary for project implementation but do not fit into the above categories.
Note on Labour Outside short-term expert technical assistance, labour costs are unallowable. Prospero will not subsidise general labour costs.
Note on Business Services Prospero does not pay temporarily for business services that can be provided by the market or subsidise businesses that should be operating on a commercial basis.



Who can apply for a grant from Prospero?

Registered and tax-compliant for-profit organizations are eligible to apply. Individuals are not eligible.

All applicants must meet three basic conditions:

  • Zambian registered legal entity: All applicants must be registered with the appropriate authority as a legal entity in Zambia.
  • Tax registered and compliant: All applicants must be able to demonstrate that they are registered for tax and are in compliance with tax obligations.
  • Authorised business activity: All applicants must possess any relevant sector licenses or permits for their proposed business project.
  • Post-revenue: All applicants must be post-revenue and have a minimum trading history of 2 years. *If your organization has been operational for less than two years, but is post-revenue and your proposed project fulfills all other criteria, then email us at [email protected] for further consideration.
How to apply

Step 1: Interested applicants should fill out the form below in full.

Step 2: After the form has been submitted, applicants will promptly receive an email containing further application instructions, including templates to be completed.  If the email does not appear in your inbox, please check your spam or junk folder.

Please take note of the following:
  • Concepts will be accepted on a rolling basis starting from 28 August 2020 and ending on 08 November 2020. Concepts will be reviewed on a first-come, first-reviewed basis.
  • Prospero reserves the right to close the grant facilities at any time. Please follow our social media pages for updates in the event this occurs:
Facebook: @prosperozm
Twitter: @prosperozm
LinkedIn: Prospero Zambia

  • Prospero will review each application and feedback will be provided to all applicants. Concept submissions that do not include ALL required documents WILL NOT be reviewed. Prospero’s decisions on concept applications are final.
  • If a concept submission is successful, the applicant will be invited to submit a full proposal. Further guidance on the proposal submission process will be provided at this stage.

Complete the form below to receive application instructions

Web to Lead