Deadline: 18 December 2023
The program was established by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) in 2019 to empower women with the knowledge, network, and access they need to launch or scale up successful businesses. Since the launch of the program, AWE has empowered more than 25,000 women entrepreneurs with nearly 100 cohorts worldwide.
AWE uses the DreamBuilder online training modules for young, emerging entrepreneurs, developed by Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management. This first cohort in Cambodia will target 30 women entrepreneurs with one to three years of business experience in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Non-profit organizations, civil society organizations, and U.S. government alumni organizations are encouraged to apply to design and implement the program. Applicants should assign a facilitator each regional grouping, as appropriate, to oversee the progress of the women entrepreneurs and to conduct local sessions to build their network. At the end of the program, the applicant should do a closing ceremony to highlight the success stories from the women entrepreneurs. Applicants should also source for buy in from relevant government ministries, agencies, and other stakeholders. Applicants are encouraged to conduct virtual talks by relevant businesswomen and established entrepreneurs for the AWE participants and alumni in the Indo Pacific Region in consultation with the AWE team at the U.S. Embassy.
Goals of Funding Opportunity
- The AWE is an initiative from the government of the United States to support and empower women entrepreneurs around the world. It targets women entrepreneurs to provide the skills, knowledge, and resources needed to manage and scale successful businesses. Through an inclusive learning community, women around the world have opportunities to explore the fundamentals of business, such as preparing business plans and raising capital, with the goal of building a better future for their families and communities. 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 United States National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality.
- As part of the AWE program, selected women entrepreneurs have access to the DreamBuilder platform, a user-friendly and easy-to-use online course that reinforces entrepreneurship components. They participate in directed lessons related to business management and, in addition, they can connect with networks of companies, women entrepreneurs and mentors who share the same perspective in their own regions and in the United States.
- AWE program proposals need to include facilitated in-person and virtual participant sessions with established Cambodian and American women entrepreneurs, alumni of U.S.-funded exchange programs, and other entrepreneurial experts. Applicants must include the online DreamBuilder course as part of the proposal. In addition to DreamBuilder, proposals should include supplemental activities, that could include but are not limited to trade fairs, training, business accelerators, and pitch competitions. Furthermore, proposals should include plans to support and engage AWE alumni upon the completion of the program.
- Each proposal should meet the following objectives:
- Expand participants’ understanding of the fundamentals of developing and scaling up a business.
- Expose participants to U.S. and Cambodian models for business development and connect them with Cambodian and American entrepreneurship experts.
- Facilitate the development of an ongoing network of female entrepreneurs who can offer support and ongoing best practices while sustaining their relationship with the U.S. Embassy.
- Length of performance period: Approximately 12 months. The awardee should plan to end the project by May 2025 with dates to be set in coordination with the Embassy.
- Number of awards anticipated: One award
- Award amounts: Up to $40,000. (To be confirmed)
- Total available funding: The amount will be a maximum of approximately $40,000. (To be confirmed)
Participants and Audiences
- The AWE program will target 30 female Cambodian business owners and entrepreneurs who are approximately 20 to 35 years old and have one to three years of business experience located in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Participants should be recruited via a competitive application process. In addition to demonstrating an appropriate level of business/entrepreneurship experience and strong motivation for participating in AWE, participants must also have good English proficiency, be computer literate and have reliable access to an internet-connected computer or smartphone. The program also welcomes women with disabilities to apply.
- The U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh defines eligible project implementers as reputable and accountable non-commercial entities that can demonstrate they have the requisite capacity to manage and implement the project. Eligible implementers may include non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, including U.S. -based educational institutions and organizations subject to Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code. They will not award grants to individuals, commercial entities, or past award recipients that have not fulfilled the objectives or reporting requirements of the previous awards. Potential implementers must be registered and active in the U.S. government’s System for Award Management (SAM) to receive U.S. federal assistance. The anticipated implementer should start the registration process immediately, so it is in place in the event the project is ultimately selected for an award. The registration process can take several weeks to complete so it is important to avoid any delay. If a project is selected for an award and the registration is not completed, the award could be delayed to the next FY, pending the availability of funding.
- Applicants are only allowed to submit one proposal per organization. If more than one proposal is submitted from an organization, all proposals from that institution will be considered ineligible for funding.
For more information, visit U.S. Embassy in Cambodia.