The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, of the U.S. Department of State announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications to implement the second iteration of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, a worldwide State Department initiative that empowers businesswomen to execute their business ideas and become leaders within their communities.
Program Objectives: In 2019, the Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau (ECA) launched the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in support of the White House-led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, which aims to empower economically 50 million women throughout the world by 2025. Through intensive networking, structured coursework, and practical workshops, AWE equips prospective women entrepreneurs and early-stage business owners with the skills they need to create sustainable enterprises and thrive on the local market.
U.S. Embassy Kyiv launched the first iteration of AWE in 2020 to address barriers to women’s full economic participation and continue supporting Ukraine as it develops a more inclusive, sustainable, resilient, and market-driven economy. Applying organizations should outline plans to extend and expand AWE in Ukraine, including by including experienced mentors willing to work with participants one-on-one and in groups, establishing public-private partnerships that facilitate programming, securing private sector financial or in-kind contributions, and ensuring program sustainability through follow-on activities and ongoing evaluation.
While applying organizations should show creativity, proposals must demonstrate the following:
- The capacity to run programming for at least 75 competitively selected participants from across Ukraine.
- Plans to create online web-based and social media platforms for advertising, participant registration, internal communication, progress monitoring, and alumni engagement.
- Incorporation of the DreamBuilder Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on women’s entrepreneurship. DreamBuilder consists of thirteen English-language modules, which applying organizations should translate into Ukrainian and for which applying organizations should generate supplemental materials. Supplemental materials and additional sessions should address country-specific topics or develop other skills useful to entrepreneurs.
- Inclusion of at least one facilitator per module. Applying organizations can select one facilitator for the entire course or separate facilitators based on individual modules. Facilitators should have experience leading business education course or have enough personal experience to facilitate the DreamBuilder modules. Applying organizations should include the names of potential facilitators in their proposal.
- Plans to create a pool of mentors willing work with participants one-on-one and in groups throughout the course on at least a biweekly basis to review course materials, answer questions, and help with course progress. The ideal mentor-to-participant ratio is one-totwo or -three. Examples of excellent facilitators include alumni of U.S. government exchanges like the Fortune-State Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership, Fulbright, International Visitor Leadership Program, and Professional Fellows Program, as well as prominent Ukrainian business leaders.
- Plans to organize at least two multiday “deep dive” workshops scheduled during the DreamBuilder course. During these workshops, the facilitator(s) and mentors should guide participants through an in-depth review of the material, to include practical sessions and assignments.
- Plans to organize at least one roundtable with NGOs working on women’s economic empowerment, AWE II participants, and Ukrainian government representatives to develop a two-to-three-year strategic plan for promoting women’s economic participation. Ideally, applying organizations should already have the requisite contacts to arrange such an event.
- Plans to organize at least one event with financial service providers and donor organizations to introduce participants to sources and principles of fundraising.
- Plans to facilitate networking and the sharing of success stories amongst AWE II participants and participants from the previous iteration of AWE, as well as among AWE II participants and AWE participants from other countries. If needed, the U.S. Embassy can assist with the necessary connections after awarding this grant.
- Plans to organize a “Final Forum” in which participants pitch their business ideas to potential investors and donors. Applying organizations should explain how they plan to ensure commitments from potential investors and donors, evaluate pitches, and create a friendlily competitive environment. Proposals should also include a budget line for small grants for the top pitches along with plans for non-monetary prizes for runners up, for example, trade event invitations, internship or fellowship opportunities, and additional educational opportunities.
- Plans to create an “Alumni Club” and sustain momentum amongst alumni after the conclusion of AWE II, including through meetings or other events to monitor progress and continue professional development.
- A strong monitoring and evaluation plan.
- Funding Floor: $25,000
- Funding Ceiling: $50,000
- Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 18 months or less.
Priority Region: Central, eastern Ukraine
Participants and Audiences: Prospective women entrepreneurs and early-stage business owners, primarily from central and eastern Ukraine, ages 21-40, including from other underrepresented groups such as veterans, the LGBTI+ community, and ethnic or linguistic minorities.
The following organizations are eligible to apply:
- Not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations
Note: For-profit and commercial entities are ineligible.
For more information, visit https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=331367