US Agency for International Development and Western Union Launch African Diaspora Business Program

Hargeisa, 20 June 2009 – The United States Agency for International Development and Western Union have launched the African Diaspora Marketplace, a business-development program that will support the U.S.-based African diaspora in creating plans for sustainable start-up and established businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa. The program will also provide grant funding to between ten and twenty small and medium businesses with the strongest proposals for boosting economic opportunity and job creation in Sub-Saharan Africa through diaspora-driven development.

The initiative, which includes a research component, is designed to demonstrate the impact that entrepreneurs from the world’s diaspora or migrant communities can have on development in their home countries.

Proposals must be implemented in one of the following Sub-Saharan African countries where USAID has both on-the-ground presence and potential technical assistance programs for entrepreneurs: Angola, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. To participate, candidates must be a member (or members) of the Sub-Saharan African diaspora living in the United States as a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and must have a local partner in the country of implementation.

A selection committee will review initial proposals and identify qualifying applicants who will be requested to submit a comprehensive business plan for evaluation. Program finalists will be provided with guidance and technical assistance in developing their business plans. The grant selection panel will evaluate final business plans and select grant recipients based on criteria that include the business idea and management framework, prospects for sustainability, capacity to leverage diaspora resources, and results orientation.

Grants will range from $50,000 to $100,000 each.

For complete program information, including the full list of eligibility criteria, visit the African Diaspora Marketplace Web site http://www.diasporamarketplace.org

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