Innovation Partnerships in Tourism & Hospitality

Call for Concepts
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Prospero Zambia works with intervention partners in the tourism, artisanal products and conservation sectors to address market constraints that hamper sector growth, competitiveness and opportunities for SMEs. These constraints include:


Access to investment and working capital finance constrains the growth potential of SMEs – or would-be entrepreneurs. Innovative solutions around capital accessibility and provision for SMEs would have an inordinate impact on job creation and growth.


Management capacity both directly within these sectors – or within the business services sectors that should offer value-adding support to these sectors – is an ever-present issue that requires innovative approaches to enable more efficient functioning and greater SME accessibility within these markets.


Poor physical or virtual connections to end-markets, consumers/clients or products, exorbitant logistics and shipping costs (particularly in the artisanal products sector) and overall cost of doing business limit opportunities for SMEs to grow. Lack of collaboration between potentially complementary businesses further restricts likely growth.


Changing, unclear or overly burdensome regulations, limited information about existing industry requirements, and limited availability of quality inputs or packaging (in the artisanal products sector) make it difficult for SMEs to competitively abide by formal and informal rules of their respective markets or customer preferences.

Prospero is seeking strong, commercially-oriented investment concepts under the following sub-sectors. Innovative business ideas that address one or more of the above-listed constraints will be prioritised: 

1.     Sustainable Tourism & Conservation

Prospero is soliciting investment concepts that sustainably promote greater economic linkages between tourism clusters and communities living in/around protected areas (National Parks and GMAs), leading to greater incentives for conservation.

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

  • What are the main challenges that inhibit greater and more meaningful economic engagement between the tourism industry and rural communities in/around protected areas?
  • For tour/lodge operators or associations, what are the risks emerging from the “status quo” of how things are currently done? What could effectively be done to reduce these risks?
  • How could greater community integration in the tourism sector economy benefit your business or make Zambian tourism more competitive relative to other destinations?
  • How can communities be incentivised to engage in more sustainable practices?
  • How can tourism associations collaborate more effectively as organisations to drive greater economic integration with rural communities in/around tourism clusters.
2.     Artisanal & Natural Products

Prospero is soliciting investment concepts that build critical foundations for the development of the artisanal & natural products sector, particularly those related to:

  • affordable and efficient logistics/shipping solutions, especially for export into European and American markets.
  • scaling high-quality production and sales to scale (domestically, regionally or overseas).

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

  • How can the artisanal industry financially benefit large numbers of makers/producers?
  • How can artisanal crafts contribute to income generation opportunities that support rural communities and make them more resilient to climate change?
  • How can Zambian artisanal products sustainably reach greater numbers of customers?
  • What are some of the major hindrances preventing Zambian artisanal products from being more competitive?
  • How can Zambian artisans use existing skills to create a greater variety of products that are higher quality and in high demand for regional or overseas markets?
  • How can Zambian artisans have a better sense of international trends and market demand for products?
3.     Destination Development

Prospero is soliciting concepts that support greater diversity of tourism products available in Zambia that are interesting to niche markets not currently serviced by current Zambian products or tour operators.

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

  • What prevents more domestic tourism from taking place?
  • What prevents local destinations from seeing more investment in their tourism offers?
  • Can PPPs play a role in diversifying Zambian’s product base, especially for domestic tourism?
  • What are some of the major factors that limit tourism cluster development to only a few locations in Zambia? What can be done about this?


Prospero provides financial and/or technical assistance support to private sector companies or associations or commercially-minded non-profit organisations 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.
  • 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).
  • improve climate resilience for marginalised groups.

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 Tourism & Hospitality 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 addressed.
  • Projects should introduce some level of innovation – a new product, service or business model – as a means to address the market challenge.
  • 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 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 Tourism & Hospitality 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 27 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

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