AfDB to support Africa’s women-led businesses with up to $250k each

The African Development Bank Group’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative has launched its second call for proposals for the Women Entrepreneurship Enablers program.

The initiative is targeting women’s business associations, incubators, accelerators, women-led cooperatives, and civil society organizations that promote the development of women entrepreneurs on the continent.

AFAWA is offering grants up to $250,000 to organizations and projects that enhance the viability and sustainability of formal women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and enables them to access financing opportunities to grow their businesses.

Successful proposals will demonstrate innovative approaches to building a supportive ecosystem for women’s entrepreneurship, aimed at improving access to finance for women SMEs.

Enablers are expected to develop a comprehensive and sustainable capacity-building program to enable access to finance in partnership with financial institutions.

Applicants from all 54 African countries are welcomed. Eligible organizations may request one-time funding between $100,000 and $250,000, which will be provided through the Bank’s Gender Equality Trust Fund.

“Our first call for Women Entrepreneurship Enablers proposals drew nearly a thousand applications from organizations doing some groundbreaking work to equip women with the tools to expand their businesses,” said Malado Kaba, the Bank’s Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society

“We are excited to pursue this initiative by bringing in a second cohort and funding the development of their capacity building activities allowing women entrepreneurs to obtain significant financing and scale,” she said.

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AFAWA was launched as a Risk Sharing Facility at a press conference held during the 2019 Global Gender Summit in Kigali, Rwanda.

The initiative is one of the Bank’s flagship gender-focused programmes which seeks to accelerate growth and employment creation across African economies, by closing the financing gap for women.

It aims to unlock $5 billion in financing for small and medium-sized enterprises owned and managed by women by 2026. AFAWA is supported by the Bank’s partners and donors, G7 countries, as well as the Netherlands, Sweden, and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi).

The funding, which aims to strengthen the ecosystem for women’s entrepreneurship, is in line with the Bank’s agenda to further gender equality and women’s empowerment.

“Entrepreneurship enablers play an important role in bolstering the skills of women to establish ‘bankable’ SMEs. However, the enablers themselves often face challenges, such as viable long-term growth plans and lack of financing, which reduce their reach, impact, and sustainability” said Esther Dassanou, AFAWA’s Manager.

To learn more about the call for proposals click here. All proposals must be received by 25th November 2022 at 23:59 GMT.

Source: AfDB

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