WEAmericas Small Grants Program
The Secretary's Office of Global Women's Issues (S/GWI) is announcing the WEAmericas Small Grants Program, an initiative for organizations devoted to economic empowerment and development support to women (particularly indigenous and rural) across the economic spectrum. Funded by Walmart, this $1.5 million initiative was announced in April by Secretary Clinton at the 2012 Summit of the Americas. Grants between $20,000-$60,000 will be awarded to qualified organizations meeting specified criteria. Organizations working in Colombia are invited to submit proposals for this open solicitation. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/04/187904.htm
The ultimate goal of the small grants is to support women-owned businesses and women entrepreneurs at the micro, SME, and high growth potential levels. The grants will focus on increasing necessary infrastructure to support and encourage a women’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, including but not limited to:
- Improving access to skills and capacity building;
- Improving access to capital;
- Improving access to markets;
- Improving the visibility of and confidence of women entrepreneurs.
Examples of potential programs could include:
- programs that link existing universities, government programs, and NGO services to a greater number of women-owned micro and SMEs, especially those in rural or indigenous areas;
- establishing incubator or accelerator programs, which include angel investors, venture capitalists, and business development training;
- conducting outreach to large scale public and private sector buyers on how to source from women entrepreneurs, while simultaneously developing a program that helps women entrepreneurs meet the needs of the buyers;
- developing programs that help micro-entrepreneurs either aggregate their goods in the form of cooperatives or graduate to the SME level, while simultaneously conducting training and outreach to SMEs and large scale private and public sector buyers on how to locate and source from cooperatives;
- creating greater linkages and access to resources concerning training, trade, permits, and international standards;
- supporting the development of region-wide women entrepreneur networks, assisting them in developing training programs and services to grow their businesses, and ensuring that they are connected to existing domestic, regional, and international trade information.
This is an open competition for non-profit and/or non-governmental organizations and for profit/social enterprises with offices headquartered in Latin America and the Caribbean. U.S. groups and enterprises are only eligible for this award if they have a registered legal presence in the country to which money would be granted, as funds may only be obligated and spent on offices within the selected implementing country for this initiative. Organizations will have six weeks to submit proposals though grants.gov. Final funding decisions will be made in September.
The program is for qualified organizations that have demonstrated success in creating or strengthening an entrepreneurial environment through: 1) micro and SME development; 2) strengthening and building women-owned business networks; or 3) creating necessary linkages among micro, SME, and large-scale buyers, taking all components of the value chain into consideration.
The Department of State and the Walmart Foundation have created a partnership that will address the needs of women entrepreneurs by strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem in which they operate. The partnership has already borne results: a select number of women-owned small and medium sized enterprise (SME) leaders from throughout the Western Hemisphere traveled to the United States for training in growing a business, advocating for improved national business climates, and expanding businesswomen's networks. This resulted in the creation of two networks: the Caribbean Women's Entrepreneurship Network and the WEAmericas Network.
The WEAmericas Small Grants Initiative will build on the creation of networks, expand and link existing networks, and provide additional support as needed to enhance the environment for women-owned businesses and entrepreneurship in the Americas.
The Request for Applications (RFA) can be found at http://www.grants.gov/, with a deadline for proposal submission of August 20, 2012.
For more detail on the grant opportunity please see the link for the RFA