Notice of Funding Opportunity for 2024 Academy for Women Entrepreneurs

Deadline of Program Submission:  December 18, 2023
Federal Award Agency: U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh
Announcement Type: Grant Notice
Funding Opportunity Number: PAS-CB-600-24-PAS-0004
Funding Opportunity Title: 2024 Academy for Women Entrepreneurs
Opportunity Category: Discretionary
Funding Instrument Type: Cooperative Agreement (CA) — *Cooperative agreement is different from grants in that bureau/embassy staff are more actively involved in the grant implementation (“Substantial Involvement”).
Program Authorization: Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended (P.L. 87-256, § 102(b)(5))
Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 19.040 – Public Diplomacy Fund
Ceiling on Amount of Individual Awards: $40,000 per project (This notice is subject to availability of funding.)
Anticipated Award Date: June 2024

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State are pleased to announce the fiscal year (FY) 2024 call for proposals for the first Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) cohort in Cambodia.  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. https://eca.state.gov/awe.

AWE uses the DreamBuilder online training modules for young, emerging entrepreneurs, developed by Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management.  Please carefully follow all instructions below. 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.

Cities: Phnom Penh and Siem Reap

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.

Dreambuilder: newly-established women entrepreneurs  https://dreambuilder.org/

Embassy Involvement:

The U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh will have substantial involvement in the development, content, and schedule of the program. Working closely with Embassy officers, the recipient of this cooperative agreement shall develop a robust program, schedule events at a mutually agreed upon location, manage the application and selection process, develop additional activities and content for the program (talks, mentoring session, meet ups, etc.), manage all travel logistics for participants (as required) and generate content for social media and other platforms.

Regular, transparent communication via email, phone, video conference calls and face-to-face meetings (as appropriate) with the Grants Officer, Grants Officer Representative, and Program Officer throughout the period of performance is critical to the success of this cooperative agreement.

All major elements of the program and its content require advance approval by U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh, including, but not limited to:

  • Choices of dates, venue, accommodations, and menus;
  • Final selection of participants, mentors, and speakers;
  • Titles, format, and other program details;
  • Design and content of all marketing materials, publicity, and media products. 

FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

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.
Anticipated programs start date:  June 2024
This notice is subject to availability of funding.

Optional: The Department of State will entertain applications for continuation grants funded under these awards beyond the initial budget period on a non-competitive basis subject to availability of funds, satisfactory progress of the program, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the U.S. Department of State.

ELIGILIBITY INFORMATION

  1. 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. We 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.
  2. 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.

COST SHARING AND OTHER FORMS OF COST PARTICIPATION

There is no minimum or maximum percentage of cost participation required. When an implementing partner offers cost sharing, it is understood and agreed that the partner must provide the amount of cost sharing as stipulated in the budget of the application and later include in an approved agreement. The implementing partner will be responsible for tracking and reporting on any cost share or outside funding, which is subjected to audit per 2 CFR 200. Cost sharing may be in the form of allowable direct or indirect costs.

Please follow all instructions below carefully. Proposals that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or fail to comply with the stated requirements will be ineligible.

CONTENT OF APPLICATION

Please ensure:

  • The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity
  • All documents are in English
  • All budgets are in U.S. dollars
  • All pages are numbered
  • All documents are formatted to 8 ½ x 11 paper, and
  • All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12 point Calibri font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins

FULL APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

A). Please use the AWE 2024 proposal template to describe project activities and timeframe that present the project tasks in chronological order and list the major milestones with target dates for achieving them.

B). Implementer Public Awareness Plan describing how the applicant intends to highlight and amplify USG-supported activities through print, electronic, social media, and other means.

C). Résumés or CVs of the proposed project director and key project participants.

D). Please use AWE 2024 Budget Template. Detailed Project Budget that lists all costs in separate categories; and give a justification for any anticipated international travel costs.

E). Budget narrative explaining how the costs were estimated (quantity x unit cost, annual salary x percentage of time spent on project, etc.) and any large budget line items.

F). Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424), including Budget Information for Non-Construction Programs (SF-424A), Assurances for Non-Construction Programs (SF-424B), and, if applicable, Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (SF-LLL).

G). Relevant supporting documentation compiled in preparation for the proposed project.

H). Strategic Outreach Plan describing how the applicant intends to highlight and amplify USG-supported activities. The U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh welcome innovative ideas on how applicants plan to use mobile and online technologies to amplify U.S. support in AWE locally and to share compelling project-related content with both targeted and broad audiences.

MANDATORY APPLICATION FORMS

  • AWE 2024 Proposal
  • AWE 2024 Budget Proposal
  • SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations)
  • SF-424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
  • SF-424B (Assurances for Non-Construction programs) (note: the SF-424B is only required for individuals and for organizations not registered in SAM.gov)

 GUIDELINES FOR PROPOSAL

The proposal should clearly describe how each item below will be addressed:

  • Identify facilitation team and class meeting locations
  • Create AWE 2023 application form/process
  • Advertise and recruit target audience (see description below)
  • Hold information session for applicants
  • Train facilitators
  • Create class schedule/timeline
  • Collect/organize applications for scoring
  • Score applications and identify cohort participants (in consultation with U.S. Embassy)
  • Inform applicants – send congratulations and regret letters
  • Hold program launch event – Introduce facilitation team / Introduce DreamBuilder/ provide signup instructions
  • Administer pre-survey (supplied by ECA)
  • Arrange for weekly guest speakers, practice activities, or other engaging ways to augment the 13 DreamBuilder modules
  • Plan at least two to five additional Cambodian-specific modules covering topics such as:
    • Fine Tuning the Business Plan
    • General Pitch Class
    • Digital Marketing
    • Grand Cambodian Authority Business Requirements
    • Opportunities for International Trade and Investment / U.S. Export Opportunities
    • Alumni networks and exchanges, amplification of AWE businesses, etc. – in collaboration with U.S. Embassy in Cambodia
  • Administer post-survey (provided by ECA)
  • Hold a Pitch Competition
  • Plan logistics of graduation event
  • Award prizes to AWEsome Award winners (identified by each facilitator)
  • Hold information session and oversee the dissemination of seed funding grants and other prizes for Pitch Competition winners
  • Inform AWE graduates of loan and other opportunities available to them from partner organizations

Note: U.S. Embassy branding must be prominently featured on all promotional materials, gifts and official documents.

The U.S. Embassy Public Diplomacy team will be actively involved in the award implementation. U.S. Embassy staff will:

  • Provide standardized logos/branding guidelines for AWE promotional materials
  • Initiate and participate in promotional activities, including promotion of AWE through the U.S. Mission in Cambodia’s social media platforms and media engagements.
  • Assist in identifying possible institute venues. Approve the selection of the venue.
  • Approve participant, facilitator and expert speaker recruitment and selection plans.
  • Assist the implementing partner in developing a multistage review process for applicants, including an initial technical review of applications, review, and creation of a shortlist, and process for interviews, which will include a panel of reviewers with Embassy representation.
  • Assist in identifying and contacting alumni of U.S. government exchange programs, representatives of U.S. companies, and U.S. Mission personnel as potential speakers or trainers.

 GUIDELINES FOR BUDGET JUSTIFICATION

  • Personnel: Describe the wages, salaries, and benefits of temporary or permanent staff who will be working directly for the applicant on the program, and the percentage of their time that will be spent on the program.
  • Travel: Estimate the costs of travel and per diem for this program. If the program involves international travel, include a brief statement of justification for that travel.
  • Equipment: Equipment cannot account for more than 10% of the total project cost.
  • Supplies: List and describe all the items and materials, including any computer devices, that are needed for the program.
  • Contractual: Describe goods and services that the applicant plans to acquire through a contract with a vendor. Also describe any sub-awards to non-profit partners that will help carry out the program activities.
  • Other Direct Costs: Describe other costs directly associated with the program, which do not fit in the other categories. For example, shipping costs for materials and equipment or applicable taxes. All “Other” or “Miscellaneous” expenses must be itemized and explained.
  • Indirect Costs: These are costs that cannot be linked directly to the program activities, such as overhead costs needed to help keep the organization operating.
  • “Cost Sharing” refers to contributions from the organization or other entities other than the U.S. Embassy. It also includes in-kind contributions such as volunteers’ time and donated venues.
  • Alcoholic Beverages: Please note that award funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.

 Attachments

  • 1-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the program
  • Letters of support from program partners describing the roles and responsibilities of each partner.
  • A copy of the final registration papers for the organization.
  • If other partners are willing to support the proposed activity, please list them as well as their contributions.
  • Program Monitoring and Evaluation Plan
  • Program Methods and Design

The complete set of proposal documents must be submitted to: PASPhnomPenh@state.gov no later than December 18, 2023.
For any questions, please contact: PASPhnomPenh@state.gov

SAM Registration

All organizations, whether based in the United States or in another country, must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) and an active registration with the SAM.gov. A UEI is one of the data elements mandated by Public Law 109-282, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), for all Federal awards.

Note:  As of April 2022, a DUNS number is no longer required for federal assistance applications.

The 2 CFR 200 requires that sub-grantees obtain a UEI number.  Please note the UEI for sub-grantees is not required at the time of application but will be required before an award is processed and/or directed to a sub-grantee.

Note:  The process of obtaining or renewing a SAM.gov registration may take anywhere from 4-8 weeks.  Please begin your registration as early as possible.

Organizations based in the United States or that pay employees within the United States will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and a Eligible UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.

Organizations based outside of the United States and that do not pay employees within the United States do not need an EIN from the IRS but do need a UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.

Please note that as of November 2022 and February 2022 respectively, organizations based outside of the United States that do not intend to apply for U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) awards are no longer required to have a NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) code or CAGE code to apply for non-DoD foreign assistance funding opportunities.  If an applicant organization is mid-registration and wishes to remove a CAGE or NCAGE code from their SAM.gov registration, the applicant should submit a help desk ticket (“incident”) with the Federal Service Desk (FSD) online at www.fsd.gov using the following language: “I do not intend to seek financial assistance from the Department of Defense. I do not wish to obtain a CAGE or NCAGE code. I understand that I will need to submit my registration after this incident is resolved in order to have my registration activated.”

 Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO NOT plan to do business with the DoD should follow the below instructions: 

Step 1:  Proceed to SAM.gov to obtain a UEI and complete the SAM.gov registration process.  SAM.gov registration must be renewed annually.

Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO plan to do business with the DoD in addition to Department of State should follow the below instructions:

 Step 1:  Apply for an NCAGE code by following the instructions on the NSPA NATO website linked below:

NCAGE Homepage:

https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/sc/CageList.aspx

NCAGE Code Request Tool (NCRT):

Exemptions

An exemption from the UEI and sam.gov registration requirements may be permitted on a case-by-case basis if:

  • An applicant’s identity must be protected due to potential endangerment of their mission, their organization’s status, their employees, or individuals being served by the applicant.
  • For an applicant, if the Federal awarding agency makes a determination that there are exigent circumstances that prohibit the applicant from receiving a unique entity identifier and completing SAM registration prior to receiving a Federal award. In these instances, Federal awarding agencies must require the recipient to obtain a unique entity identifier and complete SAM registration within 30 days of the Federal award date.

Organizations requesting exemption from UEI or SAM.gov requirements must email the point of contact listed in the NOFO at least two weeks prior to the deadline in the NOFO providing a justification of their request. Approval for a SAM.gov exemption must come from the warranted Grants Officer before the application can be deemed eligible for review.

Submission Dates and Times

All proposals must be submitted by December 18, 2023; no late proposals will be considered.

Funding Restrictions

    • Equipment cannot account for more than 10% of the total project cost.
    • Award funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.

Other Submission Requirements

All application materials must be submitted by email to PASPhnomPenh@state.gov.

APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

  1. Criteria

Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below.

Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea – 20 points:  The program idea is well developed, with detail about how program activities will be carried out. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.

Organizational Capacity and Record on Previous Grants – 15 points: The organization has expertise in its stated field and has the internal controls in place to manage federal funds.  This includes a financial management system and a bank account.

Program Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives – 20 points: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.

Budget – 15 points: The budget justification is detailed. Costs are reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results. The budget is realistic, accounting for all necessary expenses to achieve proposed activities.

Monitoring and evaluation plan – 15 points: Applicant demonstrates it is able to measure program success against key indicators and provides milestones to indicate progress toward goals outlined in the proposal. The program includes output and outcome indicators and shows how and when those will be measured.

Sustainability – 10 points: Program activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the program.

Support of Equity and Underserved Communities – 5 points:  Proposals should clearly demonstrate how the program will support and advance equity and engage underserved communities in program administration, design, and implementation.

  1. Review and Selection Process

An Embassy Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications monthly. Successful applicants will be notified in writing.

  1. Responsibility/Qualification Information in SAM.gov (formerly, FAPIIS)

For any Federal award under a notice of funding opportunity, if the Federal awarding agency anticipates that the total Federal share will be greater than the simplified acquisition threshold over the period of performance (see §200.01 Simplified Acquisition Threshold), this section must also inform applicants that:

  1. The Federal awarding agency, prior to making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share greater than the simplified acquisition threshold, is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the U.S. government designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM.gov (see 41 U.S.C. 2313);
  2. An applicant, at its option, may review and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered. Currently, federal agencies create integrity records in the integrity module of the Contractor Performance Assessment and Reporting System (CPARS) and these records are visible as responsibility/qualification records in SAM.gov;

iii. The Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in §200.206 Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.

FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

  1. Federal Award Notices

The grant award or cooperative agreement will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and it will be provided to the recipient for review and signature by email. The recipient may only start incurring program expenses beginning on the start date shown on the grant award document signed by the Grants Officer.

If a proposal is selected for funding, the Department of State has no obligation to provide any additional future funding. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the discretion of the Department of State.

Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government, nor does it commit the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals. Further, the U.S. government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.

  1. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Before submitting an application, applicants should review all the terms and conditions and required certifications which will apply to this award, to ensure that they will be able to comply.

These include:

In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget’s guidance located at 2 CFR part 200, all applicable Federal laws, and relevant Executive guidance, the Department of State will review and consider applications for funding, as applicable to specific programs, pursuant to this notice of funding opportunity in accordance with the following:  NOTE:

  • Guidance for Grants and Agreements in Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations (2 CFR), as updated in the Federal Register’s 85 FR 49506 on August 13, 2020, particularly on:
    • Selecting recipients most likely to be successful in delivering results based on the program objectives through an objective process of evaluating Federal award applications (2 CFR part 200.205),
    • Prohibiting the purchase of certain telecommunication and video surveillance services or equipment in alignment with section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 (Pub. L. No. 115—232) (2 CFR part 200.216),
    • Promoting the freedom of speech and religious liberty in alignment with Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty (E.O. 13798) and Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities (E.O. 13864) (§§ 200.300, 200.303, 200.339, and 200.341),
    • Providing a preference, to the extent permitted by law, to maximize use of goods, products, and materials produced in the United States (2 CFR part 200.322), and
    • Terminating agreements in whole or in part to the greatest extent authorized by law, if an award no longer effectuates the program goals or agency priorities (2 CFR part 200.340).
  1. Reporting

Reporting Requirements: Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and program reports.  The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted. Applicants should be aware of the post award reporting requirements reflected in 2 CFR 200 Appendix XII—Award Term and Condition for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters.

  1. Foreign Assistance Data Review: As required by Congress, the Department of State must make progress in its efforts to improve tracking and reporting of foreign assistance data through the Foreign Assistance Data Review (FADR). The FADR requires tracking of foreign assistance activity data from budgeting, planning, and allocation through obligation and disbursement. Successful applicants will be required to report and draw down federal funding based on the appropriate FADR Data Elements, indicated within their award documentation. In cases of more than one FADR Data Element, typically program or sector and/or regions or country, the successful applicant will be required to maintain separate accounting records.

FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact: PASPhnomPenh@state.gov.

Note: We do not provide pre-consultation for application-related questions that are addressed in the Notice of Funding Opportunity. Once an application has been submitted, U.S. Embassy Cambodia staff may not discuss this competition.