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Grow your company with MDIF

Investing in long-term relationships

We help build sustainable businesses with editorial freedom. We believe that long-term investment, rather than grants, is the most effective way to support media in the public interest. For more than 25 years, we have worked with media around the world, offering loans and equity financing, together with specialist media management advice. Whether you’re a digital startup in Asia or a multi-platform broadcaster in Eastern Europe, we’re here to help you achieve your business goals while safeguarding your editorial freedom.


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Is my company eligible for financing?

A media organization applying for MDIF financing must fulfill certain conditions. Before you apply, please read through the full eligibility criteria to check whether your company might qualify.

The applicant must have a reputation for contributing to the provision of unique, credible, independent news, information or debate in the public interest. A significant part of the content produced, delivered or facilitated by the applicant must be (a) news and information (including news reporting, analysis, data, photo-journalism or imaging, audio-visual documentary programming, or similar content), and/or (b) provide a range of political opinions and promote informed societal debate. Such content must be produced, delivered or facilitated with the aim to provide timely, accurate and relevant information and debate that contribute to building a free, thriving society. The applicant must be independent from the government or of any other interest group. The applicant must have a record consistent with the fostering of democratic practices and institutions, political pluralism, transparency, human rights, and dignity and equal rights for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion and other subjects of discrimination.

The applicant must work in a country (i) with a history of media oppression or ownership concentration, (ii) that is in a state of democratic transition, and/or (iii) suffers from information poverty. MDIF only provides financing in countries that have been approved by our Board of Directors. On receiving an application from a news outlet in a country in which we have not worked, the Board will decide whether it is a country we can work in after analysing its media, legal and business environments. Only once that has been confirmed will we consider the merits of an application.

No part of the applicant may be owned by the government or any state agency, a foreign legal entity or any political or economic interest. The Board of Directors may waive this restriction with respect to an applicant where the level and nature of such ownership do not put the applicant’s editorial independence in question. If, during the life of a PRI, the ownership structure of the beneficiary changes in a manner that incorporates any government or state agency or any foreign legal entity, the Board of Directors may decide to accelerate the repayment of the loan and/or equity exit.

The applicant must be legally registered according to all applicable laws and must have licenses required by local laws for media of its kind. The Board of Directors may, in extraordinary circumstances, waive this requirement. The applicant must have been in operation for a sufficient period of time to be able to demonstrate the quality of produced content and the ability to repay the financing, preferably for at least a year. The Board of Directors may, in compelling circumstances, waive this requirement.

The applicant must demonstrate that it could not obtain adequate financing from commercial sources on an economically feasible basis, or that it could do so only under conditions that would threaten its editorial independence.

The applicant must have a capable and responsible management and must apply for funding with a detailed business plan. The plan must aim to broaden and strengthen the applicant’s operation, must have strong prospects that the loans will be repaid and/or invested capital recovered, and should have the goal of turning the applying organization into, if not a profitable, then at least a self-sustaining entity. The applicant must also agree to provide MDIF with unrestricted access to its accounting records.

Application process

Applying for MDIF financing is a detailed and rigorous process and a major commitment for a media company and for MDIF. It involves multiple vetting stages, starting with programmatic approval, through business plan submission, to negotiating financing terms. The time taken to come to a final decision depends on factors including the size and location of the investment, the depth of due diligence required and the responsiveness of the applicant. MDIF financing is rarely appropriate for media seeking urgent investment.

We select clients based on three broad criteria: mission impact in relation to investment; potential for long-term viability; and editorial integrity. Please read through the full application process before you apply.

Once an applicant has filled out an inquiry form and we have checked that they meet our basic eligibility criteria, including that the country is one we are able to work in, the next step is securing programmatic approval from our Board of Directors.

The Board decides either to accept a media organization as an investment candidate or to reject it based on an analysis of its journalistic content, opinions collected from media support organizations and other reliable civil society representatives with local knowledge, site visits by MDIF Board members or staff, interviews with the applicant’s owners and editorial leadership, and a careful review to confirm the company’s independent ownership.

Once approved by the Board, the applicant must prepare a detailed business plan. The process is monitored by MDIF financial experts and consists of several reviews, revisions and re-drafting. If it proves necessary or desirable, MDIF provides support for the candidate in business-plan writing. The business plan consists of two parts: a narrative description of the investment project, including its purpose, process of implementation and expected results; and a detailed financial analysis of the company’s current condition and foreseeable future trends in its business development.

Once the documentation is complete and the business plan is fully developed, the project and business plan is considered by an MDIF Investment Committee. The Investment Committee assesses the financial viability of the applicant’s proposal. The Investment Committee has the right to approve or reject a financing request, or send it back to MDIF staff with a request for additional information or clarification. If the Investment Committee approves the application, it decides on the amount, interest rate and conditions of the loan or other financing.

All MDIF loans are denominated in a currency of MDIF’s choice, principally U.S. Dollars or Euros. The interest rate on MDIF loans and leases is below commercial interest rates on loans to small- and medium-sized businesses made on comparable terms generally available in the client’s country and will depend on, among other things, the nature of the project and the prevailing interest rates in the client’s country. To partially offset the high risk of MDIF loans and leases, in addition to paying interest clients may be required to provide MDIF with a warrant. The warrant grants to MDIF an option to purchase a minority equity interest in the client’s company at a later date.

Apply for MDIF financing

If you think your company may be eligible to apply for financing and you understand the application process, tell us more about your project. Fill in the inquiry form below so we can assess whether our investment can help your media business achieve its goals. If you have any questions, contact us.

Before filling out this inquiry form, please make sure you understand the application process and the eligibility criteria described above.

Please note that while MDIF will consider projects serving non-English speaking audiences, the application itself should be in English.

Other initiatives currently open for applications

In addition to regular MDIF loans and equity investment, we run targeted initiatives providing capacity building and/or financing with their own application process.

Currently not accepting applications. Please check back later for updates.