Applications for this programme are now open!

Innovation is one of the key pillars of the Foundation’s Strategy. You can see our full strategy document here. Our innovation fund focuses on two streams of work – an innovation pipeline fund and an accelerator programme.

The innovation pipeline approach offers two grant rounds per year, taking applications for seed, pilot and scale funding. The amounts of capital and the additional resources available will move and shift according to the needs of the recipients. We have varied funding amounts and multiple grant rounds each year, allowing organisations to move through the pipeline based on their timelines, not ours. And we are focusing on using our technology to create positive change.

Our Change Accelerator programme sees us work alongside Vodafone Xone, Vodafone Foundation Germany and other partners to run a residential community accelerator that rapidly develops, tests and disseminates technology based solutions for community problems.

Innovation Fund

Applications for our next round will open on the 1st December 2018, and close 4pm, 14th January 2019. Check out the online application form.

  • Final decisions will be made by the end of February, and payments can be expected in March/April 2019.
  • Please contact us if you wish to subscribe to our database to be kept up to date with our funding round dates.
  • Please note that we are only able to fund charitable trusts registered with the Charities Commission.
  • In our December 2018 round we have $285,000 total to distribute. We will only be accepting applications at the seed and pilot funding levels in this round.

The Vodafone Foundation Innovation Fund has been set up to support innovative work that aims to create better outcomes for our most excluded and disadvantaged youth.

We are looking for proven or promising ideas, projects and programmes that align with our strategy, generate outcomes in one or more of our five keys areas and that utilise technology in their implementation or dissemination. We recognise that innovation takes time and projects may be at different stages of development. To cater for this, we have three levels of funding: seed, pilot and scale funding. This is an open, contestable grant round and all registered charities are encouraged to apply. An organisation can only submit one application per grant round and must indicate if it is for seed, pilot or scale funding. If successful a maximum of 15% of the grant may be used for organisational overheads.

We are open to collaborative applications, and, where possible, we will aim to fully fund successful applications.

The majority of successful applications will be those that use technology to implement or disseminate their project and are likely to support positive intergenerational outcomes. We are unlikely to fund research or intervention around specific physical interventions, generation of short films or web series unless supported by ongoing youth development, one off events.

You can find more information about the seed, pilot and scale funding options below.


Seed funding ($1,000 to $10,000 per application)

The seed funding aims to support early stage ideas and concepts being developed for use in New Zealand. This fund can be used for research, to develop options papers, build relationships or create a feasibility study. It’s focused on exploring ideas and testing their viability before proceeding to a pilot stage. There must be a focus on generating positive outcomes for the most excluded and disadvantaged young people in New Zealand.

This is the start of the innovation pipeline and we anticipate organisations that are successful will apply for pilot funding in a future grant round.

This fund is not a scholarship fund for tertiary studies.


Pilot funding ($10,000 – $50,000 per application)

This fund is designed to turn developed ideas into practice. This may involve building a minimal viable product or testing a project/programme in the real world.

If successful your organisation will have up to six months to develop and implement your pilot project. You will need to provide the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation with measurements and learnings from the pilot – both the positive and the challenging.

Your organisation does not need to have received seed funding to be applicable for pilot funding.

We anticipate organisations with pilot projects that demonstrate positive outcomes for the most excluded and/or disadvantaged young people in New Zealand will apply for scale funding in a future grant round.


Scale funding ($50,000 – $200,000 per application)

This fund is for organisations who already have a proven project or programme and wish to increase the scale of their work to enhance the positive outcomes for young people.

Your organisation does not need to have received seed or pilot funding to be applicable for scale funding, however successful applicants will likely have an existing relationship with the Vodafone Foundation.

To apply for this level of funding our process is different. When our funding round is open please email our Grants Lead, Helen, to set up a korero about your project and work. The application form may be made available to you after this. Please note we are not accepting public applications for this stage of our funding in our December 2018 round.

Accelerator Programme

You can find information about our Change Accelerator here.