ACP-EU Culture Programme: Ignite Culture

ACP-EU Culture Programme: Ignite Culture is a new and exciting grant facility for the cultural and creative sectors in 14 countries in Eastern Africa! This Eastern Africa focused fund is part of the global ACP-EU Culture Programme which is being implemented by HEVA, in partnership with the British Council Kenya with the financial contribution of the European Union, and with further support from the Organisation of ACP (African, Carribean and Pacific) States.

This funding will help successful applicants develop programs and projects to grow their own ventures, and do cultural work and support within their target communities. It will also go a long way towards making their efforts more sustainable. Alongside supporting creative and cultural workers to grow their businesses, enter and adapt to expanded and digital marketplaces, and upgrade their workspaces and collaborations, the facility will support efforts around building skills, and developing ways to enable better working environments for creative businesses.

Through grant financing of between 30,000 Euros and 180,000 Euro, this financial support should be directed towards the following activities: 

  • increased and improved production of creative and cultural goods and services, 
  • skills building, 
  • upgrading of hardware and software, 
  • improved access to financing and a supportive policy and business environment, 
  • expanding access to local, regional and international markets, as well as
  • improving visibility for creative and cultural practitioners and their work throughout the Eastern Africa region.

Calls for proposals will be released in 2021, 2022, and 2023 for projects that support the growth and development of the cultural and creative sectors of Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. 

The call for applications opens on Wednesday 11 August 2021! Please find the guidelines for applications in the documents below which provides full details on the programme and eligibility requirements.   


Creative talents who have registered and operational businesses (registered in or before the year 2018) in Burundi, the Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda will be welcome to apply for grants of up to a maximum of 180,000 euro per applicant.

(Your organisation has to have been registered in or before the year 2018 to qualify to be a sole or lead applicant for Ignite Culture. However, if your organisation is younger than this (registered in 2019 or later) and is still interested in Ignite Culture, you can apply as part of a group with an organisation which was registered in or before the year 2018.)

The eligible CCI value chains will include: Cultural and Natural Heritage, Performance and Celebration, Cultural Infrastructure, Visual Arts and Crafts, Books and Press, Audio Visual and Interactive Media, Design and Creative Services, Creative and Cultural Education and Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The primary purpose of all projects awarded funding under this programme must be the growth and development of the cultural and creative sectors of one or more of the above listed fourteen (14) Eastern African countries. Lead applicants must be from one of the fourteen (14) countries, and the project activities will need to benefit target populations in the ACP countries in the region. 

Lead applicants may apply with any of the following:

  • Co-applicants from their own country
  • Co-applicants from the 14 countries eligible for the fund
  • Co-applicants from another ACP country in Africa as follows:

ACP West Africa - Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, Libera, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo 

ACP Central Africa -  Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sao Tome and Principe (STP), Chad

ACP Southern Africa - Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland).

Application process

Online applications open Wednesday 11 August. Please use the guidelines below to guide the development of your proposal.

Evaluation of applications

Applications wiill be examined and evaluated by HEVA Fund and British Council with the possible assistance of external assessors.All fully completed and Submitted applications made to the online application system before the deadline will receive written notification of decisions made about their submission .All applications will be assessed following the steps listed below:

Step 1initial Sieve:This is a simple check to ensure the application meets the eligibility criteria .Only those that meet the criteria will move to the next stage

Step 2 Business Panel:Panel members assess the businesses by looking at:

  • Annual business revenue in comparison to the funding ask
  • The organisation team
  • Evidence of financial records and statements

Step 3 Creative Panel:Panel members generate a shortlist through an assessment of:

  • The relevance of the project in the sector 
  • The trends in the sector ,competitors and strength of the brand
  • Aesthetic of the proposed project
  • The proposed project and its target market 
  • Social media presence

Step 4 Pitch Sessions:The organisations that make the shortlist to stage 4 are invited for a pitch session,to allow further explanation of their proposed project and additional assessment by the panel the panel members .The aim of this stage is to see how well the applicants understand their organisation ,finances,project  and sector 

Stage 5 Due Diligence:To better understand the status of the organisation and its operations as well as the viability and sustainability of the proposed project .

Stage 6 Contracting :Applicants who have made it through due diligence are considered successful applicants .They are called for a conversation about project milestones ,eligible grant amounts and contracting .Once the contract is signed ,fund disbursement and project implementation can begin


Evaluation Milestone Date Time
Open 2021 call for Applications August 11th 2021 12PM(Noon)EAT
Online information Sessions August 2021  
Deadline for Submitting English -only Applications(2021) September 15th  11:59PM EAT
Open 2021 Call for French -only Applications September 17th 12pm(Noon)EAT
Deadline for submitting French-only Applications(2021) October 3rd 11:59PM EAT
Review Phase 1-initial Sieve October 2021  
Review Phase 2-Business Panel October /November 2021  
Review Phase 3-Creative Panel October/November 2021  
Review Phase 4-Pitch Sessions(Virtual) November/December 2021  
Review Phase 5-Confirmation Panel December 2021  
Cohort Shortlist December 2021  
Due Diligence January 2022  
Contracting and Disbursement March 2022  

Social media page links: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram