The African Development Bank Group’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) has launched its second call for proposals for the Women Entrepreneurship Enablers program, targeting women’s business associations, incubators, accelerators, women-led cooperatives, and civil society organizations that support and promote women entrepreneurship in Africa.
The AFAWA program targets projects that enhance the viability and sustainability of women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and enables them to access financing opportunities to grow their businesses.
Successful proposals or applications will demonstrate innovative approaches to building a supportive ecosystem for women’s entrepreneurship, aimed at improving access to finance for women SMEs. Business enablers are expected to develop a comprehensive and sustainable capacity-building program to allow access to finance in partnership with financial institutions.
Applicants from all 54 African countries are welcomed, and organizations in the Sahel region and North Africa are strongly encouraged to submit a proposal. Eligible organizations may request one-time funding of between $100,000 and $250,000, which will be provided through the African Development 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
“Today, 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.
“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.
The first funding round in May 2021, saw AFAWA select ten pan-African organizations with demonstrated success in mobilizing finance for women entrepreneurs.
- AECF (Kenya)
- Seedstars (Tanzania)
- African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (South Africa)
- Graça Machel Trust (South Africa)
- Entreprenarium (Rwanda)
- Women in Africa (WIA) Initiative (Nigeria)
- Transformational Business Network (Kenya and Uganda)
- Creative SpaceNG (Nigeria)
- E4Impact (Kenya)
- PAWA Africa (South Africa)
The deadline for submission of proposals is November 11, 2022 at 23:59 GMT.
To learn more about the call for proposals click here.
AFAWA 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.
This article first appeared on African Development Bank, October 18, 2022