The project will focus on women entrepreneurs who are running businesses already at the scale-up phase. The program will enable women to expand their business, expand their products, secure capital, tap into the supply chain and/or expand into other markets. The project will serve as a platform for these entrepreneurs to gain training, mentors, access to capital, and international exposure.
The U.S. Mission to Pakistan is committed to supporting efforts which enable economic growth, development, and inclusivity. They recognize that Pakistani women entrepreneurs trying to build successful companies often must navigate significant gender-based obstacles, including barriers to markets due to misconceptions, lack of business networks, and limited access to capital during critical phases of their start-up.
PAS is seeking innovative proposals that increase women’s economic participation in Pakistan by forming an international accelerator program. The project will help create entrepreneurial growth by focusing on capacity building and creating linkages for women entrepreneurs who are at the scale-up phase of their businesses. In the first phase, the grantee will select twelve (12) female entrepreneurs through a nationwide search. As part of the selection process, the grantee should use selection criteria that will identify women with clear visions, objectives, and growth strategies for their businesses. Additionally – the grantee should also consider the strength of their business model, market opportunity, financial viability, among other areas to narrow down the participants to viable businesses. PAS should be consulted and involved in the overall selection process. The program will offer local mentors, as well as training on business model development, processes for market and customer validation, testing commercial viability, and pitching to potential local and international investors. In the second phase, selected participants will travel to the United States for a three-month exchange program to gain exposure to U.S.-based entrepreneurs, incubators, and investors. The ideal grantee will already have established relationships and networks with incubators and entrepreneurial hubs in the United States, particularly in Silicon Valley and other areas.
As part of the funding, the grantee should solicit U.S. experts experienced in startup growth and expansion who can work with Pakistani women entrepreneurs to develop their capacity to scaleup their startups. Those experts should work with the program participants on accessing markets, obtaining capital (or capital alternatives), and network inclusion.
Eligibility is open to international and Pakistan-based non-profit organizations. Organizations may sub-award or sub-contract with other entities, but only one non-profit organization can be the prime recipient of the award. Pakistan government entities are not eligible to apply.
For-profit entities are not eligible to be the prime recipient of an award under this NOFO. When subawarding or sub-contracting with other entities, the responsibilities of each entity must be clearly defined in the proposal. The applicants must submit proof of their non-profit status with their proposal submission (e.g. proof of 501(c) (3) status, Pakistan NGO license). Applications that do not include proof of non-profit status will not be considered for an award. Individuals are not eligible for an award under this NOFO. U.S.-based or registered organizations should provide proof of registration to operate in Pakistan or have a documented agreement with a partner organization registered to operate in Pakistan.