Innovation for a Better World


Pilot collaboration between the Austrian Development Agency and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency on frugal innovation in Austria and the Western Balkans


Frugal innovations rely on a “do more with less” approach to provide high-quality, resource-light and affordable products and services in response to the specific needs of a target group. When designed effectively, frugal innovations can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by addressing issues that are often underserved by markets and institutions, through resource-efficient solutions that are affordable and easily available to a large number of people.

Gaining a deep understanding of the issue at hand is an essential and complex aspect of developing successful frugal innovations. To tackle this challenge, the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) have teamed up to explore how to best support projects that aim to address a problem through frugal innovation.

Their joint project “Innovation for a Better World – Advanced Solutions for Sustainable Development” looks into the feasibility and implementation possibilities of a new funding scheme for frugal innovation in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia). It consists of a year-long series of workshops investigating and prototyping collaborations between organizations from Austria and the Western Balkans that contribute to the SDGs through projects inspired by the principles of frugal innovation.



Would you like to learn more about the project directly from representatives of ADA and FFG, present your project idea and network with potential partners? Join one of the three virtual workshops – October 8th 2020, October 29th 2020, or November 19th 2020.


Ready to apply? ADA’s Business Partnership scheme and FFG’s Impact Innovation funding calls are accepting applications for projects that contribute to the SDGs and are in line with the principles of frugal innovation.


To find out more about the project, frugal innovation and upcoming events, sign up to our project newsletter.


Successful frugal innovations are built on a profound understanding of the problem they are trying to solve, and on collaborative approaches to finding solutions. The online workshops support individuals and organizations who would like to tackle a problem through frugal innovation to navigate these complex processes.


Each workshop is structured around a guiding theme that was selected following interviews with stakeholders from the Western Balkans, but welcomes participants from any sector and impact topic. Invitations to join the events will be sent following a short application and selection process.

October 8th 2020
13:30 -17:00 CET

 Environmental sustainability: Climate action & adaptation


Sub-topics: affordable and clean energy, circular economy, sustainable agriculture and food, responsible consumption & production

October 29th 2020
13:30 -17:00 CET

Social innovation: Leave no one behind


Sub-topics: Decent work and economic growth; good health and wellbeing; quality education

November 19th 2020
13:30 -17:00 CET

Digitalization: Technology in service of impact


Sub-topics: Digitalization & technology; industry, innovation & infrastructure; ICT & software.


In order to secure a high-quality exchange and networking experience, we can only offer a limited number of spots for each event.

Who should join the online workshops?

Representatives of organizations and individuals in the early stages of identifying a problem or a solution in the sphere of frugal innovation for the Western Balkans.

Representatives of organizations who are already working on a well-defined project for which they are considering applying for funding either from ADA or FFG, in line with the principles of frugal innovation.

What sectors/fields are considered?

The topics and sub-topics presented above will be given priority, but we welcome applications from any field or sector.

Should applicants come from a specific country/region?

Priority will be given to organizations from the Western Balkans, Austria and the European Economic Region. As the long-term focus of the program is not restricted to the Western Balkans, applications from other regions will also be considered.

Is there an application deadline?

Please submit the application at least two weeks before the event you are planning to attend. You will then receive an email with the result of your application and further instructions.

What is frugal innovation?

In the context of this project, frugal innovation is understood as an approach which delivers “affordable excellence” tailored to the needs of an underserved market: “Frugal innovations seek to create attractive value propositions for their targeted customer groups by focusing on core functionalities and thus minimizing the use of material and financial resources in the complete value chain. They substantially reduce the cost of usage and/or ownership while fulfilling or even exceeding prescribed quality standards.” (Tiwari, Fischer and Kalogerakis (March 2016))*

*Full citation: Tiwari, R., Fischer, L. and Kalogerakis, K. (2016): “Frugal Innovation in Scholarly and Social Discourse: An Assessment of Trends and Potential Societal Implications”, joint working paper of Fraunhofer MOEZ Leipzig and Hamburg University of Technology in the BMBF-ITA project, Leipzig and Hamburg.


 Are you working on defining a problem that could be addressed using frugal innovation? Are you elaborating an impactful solution for the Western Balkans region and are in need of financial support to further develop your idea? Are you ready to kick-off your project and are looking for funding to start rolling-out your project?

As part of the pilot project, ADA and FFG are opening two existing funding calls to projects that create positive impact through frugal innovation principles.



Impact Innovation

Grant covering 50% of project costs, maximum EUR 75000



Business Partnership

Grant covering 50% of project costs, maximum EUR 500000


If you have questions about the funding opportunities, please email respective organisations:

ADA: (Private Sector & Development unit)

FFG: (Mag. Matthias Weichhart Social innovations, Digitization)

If you have questions about the virtual events, please email:

Impact Hub Vienna: (Alina Moldovan, Project Manager)

Project Partners

The “Innovation for a Better World - Advanced Solutions for Sustainable Development” project is mandated by ADA and FFG. It is implemented by Impact Hub Vienna together with a consortium of partners composed of Advantage Austria (Austria), 288 Grad Consulting (Austria), Center for Social Innovation (ZSI) (Austria) and Smart Kolektiv (Serbia).