The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), with support from U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched the Advancing Women’s Empowerment Fund (AWEF) to fund projects that will pilot, test, or expand scalable solutions to the financing gap for women-led SGBs in eastern, western, and southern Africa to create learnings and insights for uptake by the broader SGB sector.
ANDE is specifically focused on submissions catalyzing early-stage, growth-oriented capital. We encourage submissions employing creative solutions to both supply and demand components of the gender financing gap and that fit any of the following categories:
a) Gender transformative approaches to delivering acceleration services including recruitment, selection, cohort and program design, or other elements seen as constraints to the success of women entrepreneurs.
b) Supplemental services delivered independently or in coordination with traditional accelerator programs, including tailored consulting services, bespoke matchmaking, investment facilitation, mentorship, or other approaches to address gender deficits in traditional acceleration.
c) Novel approaches to catalyzing investment into the hands of women fund managers to address the systemic finance constraints that women entrepreneurs encounter.
d) Innovative methods for sensitizing and influencing SGB support providers around the
fundamental challenges (family life, social norms, talent opportunities) that women
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a) SGB service providers with proposed projects in only the following eligible countries will be considered:
> Western Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte D’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo;
> Eastern Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda;
> Southern Africa: Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe;
b) Projects implemented in multiple countries within one region will be accepted.
c) Applicants must justify projects implemented in multiple regions.
d) Projects taking place outside of the eligible countries will not be considered.
a) Non-profit entrepreneur support organizations, such as incubators, accelerators, investors, capacity development providers, non-governmental organizations, operating (non-grantmaking) foundations, and research and advisory service providers, are qualified to apply.
b) Government donor agencies, donor finance institutions, grantmaking foundations, and for-profit entities are not qualified to apply.
Given AWEF’s intention to tackle the gender financing gap in eastern, western, and southern Africa markets, non-profit organizations headquartered locally in these regions are strongly encouraged to apply.
Additionally, consortiums involving locally-headquartered organizations and/or finance providers (banks, investors, corporations, etc.) are also encouraged to apply.
AWEF funding cannot be used to support the contributions of for-profit consortium members. While partnerships and consortiums are advised, it is highly encouraged that a lead organization applies for the funding directly.
Qualified applicants may submit or be an implementing partner for up to two concept notes applications, but organizations can only either lead or co-implement one winning project.
Submissions should be for activities of up to 12 months with a minimum total request of USD$50,000 and a maximum total request of USD$150,000.
Prospective applicants must submit a concept note by March 5, 2021.
Shortlisted applicants will later be invited to submit a full application.
For more information, please visit https://www.andeglobal.org/page/AWEF