Investing in women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is one of the best ways to simultaneously achieve economic, financial, and social impact.
Research shows that women-owned SMEs are significant accelerators of economic growth; however, women often experience additional barriers which
make it more difficult to start and grow a business then their male counterparts.
Therefore at the Summit of the Americas in April 2012, Secretary Hillary Clinton launched the Womens Entrepreneurship in the Americas (WEAmericas), an initiative which leverages public-private partnerships to increase womens economic participation and address three key barriers women confront when starting and growing SMEs:
access to training and networks, access to markets, and access to finance.
The WEAmericas Small Grants Initiative, which is made possible by Secretary Clintons International Fund for Women and Girls and the Walmart Foundation, will support the development of and linkage of existing resources, programs, and infrastructure to create a strong entrepreneurial eco-system that allows women-owned businesses to thrive in the region.
The request for applications (RFA) asks nonprofits and social enterprises with offices in Latin America and the Caribbean to submit proposals on how a small grant of USD $20,000-60,000 would help the organization leverage existing programs, resources, and infrastructure to address at least two barriers women entrepreneurs face when growing and starting businesses.
The main barriers are:
Access to Skills and Capacity Building, Access to Assets, Access to Markets, Access to Networks, and Womens Leadership.
The ultimate beneficiaries must be women and girls and the project must be designed to support an entrepreneurship ecosystem for women-owned businesses.
Applicants should be able to demonstrate previous success in creating or strengthening an entrepreneurial eco-system.
Examples may include:
(1) skills and capacity building programs to develop micro and SMEs, (2) strengthening and building women-owned business networks, or (3) creating necessary linkages between micro, SMEs, and large scale buyers taking all components of the value chain into consideration.
Special attention will be paid to those organizations which incorporate rural and/or indigenous women-owned businesses into their proposal.
See RFA for further details.
This is an open grant announcement.
All project proposals MUST be submitted in English and may not exceed six (6) pages, excluding appendices.
All proposals must be submitted by August 20, 201 2.