The Public Affairs Office invites proposals from American higher education institutions to design and implement an intensive program aimed at developing the entrepreneurship skills of a cohort of high-potential Moroccan university students. Only U.S. institutions are eligible to compete for this cooperative agreement, but the awardee is expected to work closely with a Moroccan sub-grantee, to be selected with the Embassy’s substantial involvement. The awardee will also coordinate and share materials and best practices with U.S. Embassy Tunis and its implementing partners running a sister project, “Open Startup Tunisia.”
OST-M will employ American professors, business models, and precepts to create a peer network of Moroccan students for shared learning, mentor development, and startup exposure. It will also include a strong virtual exchange component with American university students who will form interdisciplinary teams with their Moroccan counterparts to develop joint business ideas.
Each proposal should meet the following objectives, in addition to strengthening understanding of U.S. values, institutions, and precepts:
- Expand participants’ understanding of the fundamentals of developing, launching, and scaling up a business.
- Expose participants to U.S. models for business development and connect them with American entrepreneurship experts.
- Strengthen the Moroccan entrepreneurship ecosystem by forging relationships between universities and business practitioners.
- Facilitate the development of an ongoing network of entrepreneurs who can offer support and ongoing best practices while sustaining their relationship with the U.S. Embassy.
- Develop relationships between Moroccan university students and their American counterparts, as well as between the awardee and Moroccan higher education institutions.
- Approximate award amount: The amount may range from a minimum of $175,000 to a maximum of $200,000. Projects for lesser or greater values will be considered on a case-bycase basis. Funding may be renewed for up to an additional two years on a non-competitive basis pending successful performance and availability of funds.
- The awardee should plan to end the project by July 2021 with dates to be set in coordination with the Embassy and unless an extension is agreed to with the Embassy.
The key components of OST-M are as follows:
Selection of participants: The awardee will work closely with the local implementing partner and the Embassy to develop selection criteria, market a national competition, and select a cohort of 75 high-performing Moroccan university students from business, technology, engineering, and related fields.
- Entrepreneurship “bootcamp”: The awardee will lead a week-long, intensive entrepreneurship course introducing the cohort to key business concepts and models. This bootcamp is intended to be held in-person at a central location in Morocco, with the awardee responsible for coordinating and funding the travel and lodging of all participants to and from the program location. Note that the bootcamp could be held virtually as an alternative, if health and safety conditions dictate.
- 10 additional trainings: The awardee and local implementing partner will offer 10 additional virtual trainings in key elements of launching or scaling up a startup. These trainings would include both U.S. business professors and local experts, including alumni of U.S. government exchange programs and/or representatives of U.S. companies operating in Morocco.
- Mentorship training: The awardee will design and deliver a two-day training for up to 60 entrepreneurship practitioners (established entrepreneurs, professors, venture capitalists, incubators, etc.) on OST-M project and mentoring techniques. Of this group, up to 30 will be selected as mentors for the student teams.
- Virtual project development: The Moroccan cohort will be paired with American university students for a facilitated virtual exchange, allowing them to develop joint project ideas. Select American university students will travel to Morocco for in-person engagement with their Moroccan counterparts and to participate in a competition pitching their final ideas. The awardee will be responsible for coordinating and funding the travel and lodging for trip participants.
- U.S. program: The Moroccan winning team from the pitch competition will travel to the United States for a week-long immersion/capacity building experience hosted at the awardee’s institution. The awardee will be responsible for coordinating and paying for the travel and lodging for trip participants.
- The awardee will work closely with the Embassy’s Public Affairs Office to select a Moroccan subgrantee via an open notice of funding opportunity. The subgrantee will assist in local implementation of the OST-M program. Applicant’s proposals should include all costs associated with the local implementor’s personnel costs as well as the costs for all tasks the local implementor will perform.
- The awardee should recruit participants from across Morocco. A clear methodology of participant recruitment and selection should be detailed in the proposal, including efforts to ensure geographic and socio-economic inclusion as well as gender balance.
- The cooperative agreement should cover funding for any materials necessary for the promotion of OST-M and materials for use in program activities.
- The awardee will be expected to design and execute an intensive week-long facilitated entrepreneurship “bootcamp” for 75 Moroccan university students. This should be held at a central location in Morocco and the cooperative agreement should cover the costs of a venue; travel, lodging, and full board for participants; and travel, lodging, and full board for facilitators.
- The awardee will offer 10 additional virtual trainings for the cohort in key elements of launching or scaling up a startup. These trainings should include both U.S. business professors and local experts, including alumni of U.S. government exchange programs and/or representatives of U.S. companies operating in Morocco.
- The awardee will design and deliver a two-day mentoring workshop for up to 60 entrepreneurship practitioners at a central location. The cooperative agreement should cover the costs of venue, travel lodging, and full board for participants and facilitators.
- The awardee will design and execute a virtual exchange program that connects the Moroccan cohort with American university students, allowing them to develop joint project ideas.
- The awardee will arrange for selected American university students to travel to Morocco for in-person engagement with their Moroccan counterparts and to participate in a competition pitching their final ideas. The awardee will be responsible for coordinating and paying for the travel and lodging for trip participants.
- The awardee will design a week-long immersion/capacity building experience for the wining Moroccan team at its campus. The awardee will be responsible for coordinating and paying for the travel and lodging for trip participants.
- The awardee should be prepared to design and implement surveys, polls, or other methods for evaluating the OST-M program’s effectiveness before, during and after the program’s completion.
- Applicants’ proposals should detail how they will design program components to meet program objectives. Proposals should contain a proposed syllabus of both the bootcamp and virtual trainings as well as a description of the virtual exchange, pitch competition, and capacity-building trip to the U.S.
- Applicants should also provide a proposed Monitoring and Evaluation plan that includes both specifics about monitoring output data as well as ways to evaluate impact on the target audience.
- The awardee should be available to participate in regular planning calls with the Embassy in the planning stage before the launch of OST-M and during its implementation.
- Equipment cannot account for more than 10% of the total project cost.
For more information, visit https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=328356