The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) is pleased to announce its second call for proposals. Up to USD120m of financing is available for this call and is likely to be allocated to the three to four highest ranking proposals.
The objective of We-Fi is to address financial and non-financial constraints faced by women-owned/led small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in countries/territories that are eligible for financing from the International Development Association (IDA) and/or the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), provided they are also eligible for Official Development Assistance (ODA) (refer the list of eligible countries).
We-Fi aims to achieve its objectives by using funding to mobilize billions of dollars in additional financing from commercial and international financial institutions (IFI) to provide women entrepreneurs with access to debt, equity, venture capital, insurance products, capacity building, networks and mentors, and opportunities to link with domestic and global markets; and for governments to improve the business environment for women-owned/led SMEs. We-Fi has a strategic goal of allocating 50 percent of its resources to activities in IDA countries and/or fragile and conflict affected countries/territories.
We-Fi welcomes proposals for global/regional, multi-country, and single country programs/projects. The minimum threshold for a We-Fi funding request is USD10 million.
Types of Activities
We-Fi seeks proposals that demonstrate comprehensive and strategic approaches to supporting the growth and impact of women’s entrepreneurship. We-Fi is a platform to align country-level reforms and private investment, build on and implement lessons learned about what works for starting and growing women owned/led firms, collect key data from the public and private sector on women entrepreneurs and their firms, and support innovation and learning for results at scale. We-Fi proposals should break down barriers to financial access and provide complementary services such as capacity building, access to networks and mentors, and opportunities to link with domestic and global markets as well as improve the business environment for women-owned or women-led SMEs in supply chains across the developing world. Special consideration will be given to proposals that focus on women entrepreneurs operating in rural settings.
The We-Fi Governing Committee seeks a portfolio of programs/projects that demonstrate: 1) mobilization/leverage of significant additional funding from other sources; 2) a focus on low-income countries, IDA and/or fragile and conflict-affected countries/territories and/or underserved women entrepreneurs in middle-income countries; 3) effective use of grant financing or blended finance; 4) complementarity between public and private sector activities, and coordination with existing or planned activities of other development partners or initiatives; 5) partnerships with organizations that have a strong track record for developing innovative approaches and delivering results.
Allocation decisions will be made by the We-Fi Governing Committee (GC) based on the strength of the proposal, keeping in mind the overall composition of the portfolio that is most likely to achieve the overall goals of the We-Fi.
We-Fi can finance programs or projects in ODA-eligible countries and territories that are eligible to receive funding from the IBRD and/or IDA, including through trust funds administered by the World Bank (please list of eligible countries, as noted above). For those proposals targeting Africa, special consideration will be given to those with activities in G-20 Compact Countries.
Implementing Partner Eligibility
The following accredited multilateral development banks (MDBs) are eligible to apply for We-Fi funding under this Second Call for Proposals: African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Inter-American Development Bank, IDB Invest, International Finance Corporation, Islamic Development Bank Group, and World Bank (the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association).
MDBs are encouraged to partner with UN agencies, international financial institutions (IFIs), civil society organizations, the private sector, business groups, and/or other entities currently working at the country or regional level.
Applicants must complete all sections of the attached template for Funding Requests.
Proposals should be no longer than 25 pages, must be in English, and all funding amounts/costs should be presented in U.S. dollars. No one organization may submit more than two separate proposals.
Proposals should be submitted as a PDF file via email to the We-Fi Secretariat at:
firstname.lastname@example.org. The applicant should obtain all internal management clearances for the proposal in accordance with their own policies and procedures, prior to submission. Final proposals must be received by midnight EST on Monday, February 4, 2019.
Eligible proposals will be reviewed by an independent Technical Expert Panel (TEP). There is no guarantee that all deserving proposals will be funded given the limited availability of funds.
Application Deadline: midnight EST on Monday, February 4, 2019.