Submit Applications for MEPI Alumni Venture Fund (AVF)

Deadline: 15 April 2019

Applicants are invited to apply for the MEPI Alumni Venture Fund (AVF) that aims to collaboratively utilize the leadership skills that alumni have developed through their various MEPI program experiences in the Middle East and North Africa.

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The AVF supports alumni to work together on innovative solutions to economic and/or community needs. The small grants provide seed funding for innovative ideas to develop new partnerships, foster sustainable collaboration in priority areas and expand the impact of alumni to address needs within their communities.

The AFV is part of the MEPI Alumni Connection, a program of the US-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and implemented by IREX.

Grant Information

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The amount of funding available for grants is a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $8,000 for three different categories:

  • Community Service: A community service project is a voluntary work for the improvement of one’s community.
  • Private Enterprise: A private enterprise project is a small business or entrepreneurial project privately managed by an individual or an external company.
  • Social Enterprise: A social enterprise project is a small business or entrepreneurial project that has a goal of contributing to the welfare of others (socially, financially, or environmentally) while also making a profit.

Examples of Eligible Initiatives

  • Community Service
    • A recycling campaign at the local high schools with a training workshop and incentives
    • A neighborhood clean-up drive and/or tree planting campaign
    • A textbook exchange through student organizations that allows textbooks to be donated to students in underprivileged areas
  • Private Enterprise
    • Seed funding to develop a model machine to increase efficiency in the production of a locally produced resource
    • An employment agency business model that contributes to alleviating unemployment issues
    • A company that provides training and resources for farmers on sustainable agriculture techniques
  • Social Enterprise
    • A project that donates one item of clothing for every item sold in the store
    • A business that is uses a positive youth development model to train unemployed youth in the community to work at that business
    • A mobile app that facilitates local businesses in crowd-sourcing information on gaps in local market needs

Eligibility Requirements

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Candidates will be considered without respect to race, color, religion, national origin, or gender. Persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. The Alumni Venture Fund is a merit-based competition open to:

  • MEPI Alumni in good standing, who have successfully fulfilled all requirements of previously awarded alumni grants and other USG opportunities, if applicable,
  • MEPI Alumni (“Team Leader”) who submit a complete application with at least one collaborator (“Team Member 1”), who must either be a MEPI or other Department of State (DOS) alum. Additional team members are encouraged but not required.
    • The Team Leader is responsible to IREX for all financial responsibilities and project deliverables including a completed Application, a signed Terms & Conditions of Participation (T&Cs), a bank wire transfer information, and a Final Narrative Report.
    • Team Member 1 and any (optional) additional Team Members are responsible for following the rules and regulations of the Alumni Venture Fund and working in collaboration with the Team Lead to implement their project.
  • The Team Lead and Team Member(s) must be current citizens of and currently reside in one of the following eligible countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Yemen. Alumni from Lebanon should be aware that their application may trigger US government vetting.

Selection Criteria

Eligible applications will be reviewed competitively against the following Selection Criteria:

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  • Strength and feasibility of the project design.
  • Impact and responsiveness to an identified local need.
  • Creativity and innovation of the project.
  • Clarity and reasonableness of the collaboration plan.
  • Transparency and reasonableness of budget.
  • Relevance of monitoring, evaluation, and learning plan.
  • Potential for sustainable impact beyond the grant period.

How to Apply

Applicants must apply online via the given website.

Eligible Countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Yemen.

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