Graphic design platform Canva, Inc. opened in the Philippines on Thursday applications for its $50-million innovation fund to support developers in its free-to-use marketplace. 

With the goal of democratizing design tools and growing its ecosystem, the Developers Innovation Fund will provide financial support and incentives to application developers, Canva said in an e-mailed statement to reporters. 

“Apps are playing an increasingly significant role in Canva’s all-in-one strategy,” said Anwar Haneef, head of ecosystem at Canva, on the company’s goal to create “the most pluggable visual communications platform.” 

“We recognize the immense potential they hold for our mission to empower the world to design,” he added, noting that Canva aims to include support for underrepresented developers. 

The fund will be given through developer grants and app adoption awards, alongside step-by-step guidance from design to distribution, Canva said. 

Canva prioritizes offering its grants to those app ideas with safe artificial intelligence (AI) innovations and a capacity to add on or streamline workflows between the platform and other tools, it noted. 

Applications for the grant will be open until March next year, it added. 

Canva said all developers who have launched a free public app and meet specific requirements can get a one-time cash award based on the number of monthly users. 

The hundreds of apps in Canva’s marketplace include simple tools for text customization and effects, photo quality improvement, content management, and even generative AI, it added. 

The company recently launched its all-in-one AI suite with 21 new AI apps for image, avatar, and voice generation, it said. 

It opened its developers’ program in June, having published 60 new apps since then, it added. 

Canva noted a fast growth in user signups among the apps in its marketplace, seeing an up to 10 times increase in its first month. — Miguel Hanz L. Antivola