By Temitope Ponle
Abuja, – The Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative has launched its second call for proposals for the Women Entrepreneurship Enablers programme.
This is contained in a statement issued by the Communication and External Relations Department of the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Tuesday.
AFAWA, an initiative of the AfDB Group, aims to unlock five billion dollars in financing for small and medium-sized enterprises, owned and managed by women by 2026.
Malado Kaba, AfDB’s Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society said AFAWA’s proposals drew nearly 1000 applications from organisations.
“Our first call for Women Entrepreneurship Enablers proposals drew nearly a thousand applications from organisations doing some groundbreaking work to equip women with the tools to expand their businesses.
“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,” Kaba said.
Furthermore, Esther Dassanou, AFAWA’s Manager said entrepreneurship enablers played an important role in women skills.
“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” Dassanou said.
The programme targets women’s business associations, incubators, accelerators, women-led cooperatives, and civil society organisations that promote the development of women entrepreneurs in Africa.
According to the statement, AFAWA is offering grants of up to 250,000 dollars to organisations helping prepare African women-led businesses to drive the continent’s economies.
The programme supports 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 are expected to 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 programme to enable access to finance in partnership with financial institutions.
Applicants from all 54 African countries are welcomed, and organisations in the Sahel region and North Africa are fully encouraged to submit proposals.
Eligible organisations may request one-time funding of between 100,000 dollars and 250,000 dollars, which would be provided through the bank’s Gender Equality Trust Fund.
AFAWA selected ten pan-African organisations with demonstrated success in mobilising finance for women entrepreneurs, following the first call for proposals, issued in May 2021,
However, all proposals must be received by Nov. 11, at 23:59 GMT.
A webinar would be held on Oct. 21, at 10 a.m. GMT to offer additional information using this link: https://afdb.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAvcuisrz0iHNbargqag4a5lqHlEUWAtTYG. (NAN)