The U.S. Embassy Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) of the U.S. Department of State announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications to carry out an Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) program to train and enhance the capacity of 100 women entrepreneurs across the DRC, targeting women in conflict areas.
By promoting women’s economic opportunities and ensuring that women have the capabilities and resources needed to participate in the economy, the AWE program directly supports the U.S. National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality. In the DRC, AWE will harness the power of public-private sponsors, local partnerships and U.S. exchange alumni networks to help women and their business grow, driving localized prosperity.
- Political and security factors contribute heavily to the difficulty of women becoming entrepreneurs in the DRC. Numerous armed conflicts lead to economic hardship, development challenges, and social inequality. As a result, high numbers of people remain the poverty line. If women entrepreneurs receive capacity-building training, allowing them to establish sustainable microenterprises, then their families and communities will benefit. This outcome supports U.S. women’s empowerment goals and the U.S. priority of strengthening bilateral economic ties by creating economic opportunities.
- The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) program was established by the U.S.
- Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) to support women entrepreneurs around the world. The AWE program provides female entrepreneurs with the skills, resources, and networks needed to launch and scale businesses within an inclusive learning community. Objectives include:
- Providing resources for women to engage in U.S.-style online education with guided facilitation and localization;
- Fostering networks that support AWE participants’ access to peer-to-peer mentorship and scaling opportunities; and
- Providing access to resources and ongoing ECA programs that will help women bring their business ideas to life.
- The core of the AWE model is the DreamBuilder online course, which implementing partners supplement with a variety of content such as guest speakers, presentations, and site visits. DreamBuilder is an online entrepreneurship training program for women, developed through a partnership between Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and global copper mining company Freeport-McMoRan.
- The AWE program in DRC will train and enhance the capacity of 100 women entrepreneurs in five cities who have been running businesses for at least one year.
- Women business owners who are U.S. alumni will serve as primary facilitators with support from their American Spaces network countrywide in partnership with local NGOs that focus on sustainable management solutions.
- Total available funding: $30,000
- Award Ceiling: $30,000
- Length of performance period: 17 months (July 2023 – November 2024
Priority Cities: Kinshasa, Goma, Lubumbashi, Bukavu and Kisangani.
Participants and Audiences: Participants will include 100 emerging women entrepreneurs selected from five cities (20 women per city), with a focus on women in conflict areas. Women business owners who are U.S. alumni will serve as primary facilitators, supported by PDS Kinshasa’s American Spaces network countrywide in partnership with local NGOs that focus on sustainable management solutions. U.S. program alumni will serve as mentors and trainers. Inclusive, sustainable business ideas will be prioritized.
- Eligible Applicants: The following organizations are eligible to apply:
- Registered not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/nongovernmental organizations with programming experience
- Non-profit educational institutions
- Governmental institutions
For more information, visit Grants.gov.