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September 21, 2022

Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO): Academy for Women Entrepreneurs 2023

U.S. Embassy Zimbabwe

Notice of Funding Opportunity


Funding Opportunity Title: Academy for Women Entrepreneurs 2023

Funding Opportunity Number: AF-HAR-FY23-01

Deadline for Applications: November 1, 2022

CFDA/Assistance Listing Number: 19.040            

Total Amount Available: $10,000-30,000

NOFO Document: 2022-09-23 Updated AWE Notice of Funding Opportunity Final



The U.S. Embassy Zimbabwe under the U.S. Department of State announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications to carry out a new cohort of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE).  The Public Diplomacy Section invites proposals from non-profit organizations, civil society organizations, and U.S. government alumni organizations to design and implement an entrepreneurship program that equips women entrepreneurs with skills and knowledge to grow their businesses and adapt to adverse economic situations while growing a local network of women-led businesses.  The intended program should empower women entrepreneurs to realize their full economic potential.

Participants of the AWE program will take part in facilitated in-person and virtual sessions with established Zimbabwean and American women entrepreneurs, alumni of U.S.-funded exchange programs, and other experts from different fields that enrich the AWE experience.  Applicants must include the online interactive DreamBuilder course as part of the proposal.  The DreamBuilder curriculum teaches the skills and knowledge needed to start and grow a business.  Additionally, proposals should provide a detailed program and timelines for AWE participants.

The program may be held in several locations running cohorts of up to 30 participants and should have a strong American component – including American experts as guest teachers or coaches – articulated in the proposed activities syllabus.

Please follow all instructions below.

 Program Objectives:

 The proposals should meet the following objectives:

  • Increase participants understanding of business planning, and scaling up operations,
  • Connect participants with U.S. based business experts and share U.S. models of running enterprises,
  • Build a network of female entrepreneurs that is committed to supporting and promoting relationships that help grow businesses and drive local partnerships, and
  • Equip participants with skills and knowledge to build sustainable businesses.

Proposals submitted should clearly address program implementation showing the proposed activities and suggested local and American speakers.  Applicants should give a detailed recruitment strategy for the target population, clearly specifying how the Embassy would be involved.  The proposal should include ideas for follow-up activities after program implementation to assess the impact of the program.  Proposals with sustainability and/or cost sharing built in are preferred.

Applicant should submit a proposal with sufficient travel budget funds if beneficiaries are traveling to a workshop and a data plan if they are to participate in virtual sessions.  Budget should also include costs for any ceremonies or enrichment activities.

Participants and Audiences:

 The AWE program targets current or future women business owners in Zimbabwe.  AWE participants should commit to complete the program, have proven computer skills, and have access to the Internet or a reliable data connection.

Applicants are encouraged to develop programs for underrepresented populations, niche business sectors, or areas of potential growth.


Length of performance period: 8-12 months from date of award.

Number of awards anticipated: One award

Total available funding: $10,000-30,000

Anticipated program start date: January 2023

Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 12 months or less.


Funding Instrument Type: Cooperative agreement.

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

  • Providing standardized branding materials and guidelines for AWE promotional content.
  • Participate in AWE promotional activities on U.S. Embassy Zimbabwe social media platforms.
  • Approve participants, facilitator and expert speakers’ recruitment strategy.
  • Assist the awardee in identifying and contacting alumni of U.S. government exchange programs and other networks for potential speakers and trainers.
  • Review and approve suggested program speaker schedule, topics, and scenarios.
  • Collaborating with the awardee to assess the impact of the program through designing follow-up activity.
  • Approve social media content and any other outreach promotional material to promote the AWE program to wider audiences.



  1. Eligible Applicants

The following organizations are eligible to apply:

  • Not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks, civil society, and non-governmental organizations
  • Business development organizations registered as non-profits
  • United States government alumni organizations
  1. Other Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number issued via www.SAM.gov as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov.  Please see Section D.3 for more information.

Individuals are not required to have a UEI or be registered in SAM.gov.

Other eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • Adequately skilled and experienced staff to implement the program.
  • Well-equipped office space with adequate ICT equipment required to implement the program including reliable internet connection.



To Request Application Package

Email PublicDiplomacyGrants-ZIM@state.gov; an automatic reply with the Application forms will be sent.

Application forms are also available at www.Grants.gov.


Content and Form of Application Submission

 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 and,

All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.

The following documents are required:

  1. Mandatory application forms

Forms below can be found at the www.GRANTS.gov website or the auto response on email address PublicDiplomacyGrants-ZIM@state.gov

  • SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations) or SF-424-I (Application for Federal Assistance -individuals)
  • 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)

  1. Summary Page: Cover sheet stating the applicant’s name and organization, proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the program.
  2. Proposal (10 pages maximum): The proposal should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what the applicant wants to do. You may use your own proposal format, but it must include all the items below.
  • Proposal Summary: Short narrative that outlines the proposed program, including program objectives and anticipated impact.
  • Introduction to the Organization or Individual applying: A description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the program, including information on all previous grants from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies.
  • Problem Statement: Clear, concise, and well-supported statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed program is needed
  • Program Goals and Objectives: The “goals” describe what the program is intended to achieve.  The “objectives” refer to the intermediate accomplishments on the way to the goals. These should be achievable and measurable.
  • Program Activities: Describe the program activities and how they will help achieve the objectives.
  • Program Methods and Design: A description of how the program is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal. Include a logic model as appropriate.
  • Proposed Program Schedule and Timeline: The proposed timeline for the program activities.  Include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events.
  • Key Personnel: Names, titles, roles and experience/qualifications of key personnel involved in the program. What proportion of their time will be used in support of this program?
  • Program Partners: List the names and type of involvement of key partner organizations and sub-awardees.
  • Program Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: This is an important part of successful grants. Throughout the time-frame of the grant, how will the activities be monitored to ensure they are happening in a timely manner, and how will the program be evaluated to make sure it is meeting the goals of the grant?
  • Future Funding or Sustainability: Applicant’s plan for continuing the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.
  1. Budget Justification Narrative: After filling out the SF-424A Budget (above) and the AWE budget form, use a separate sheet of paper to describe each of the budget expenses in detail.


Guidelines for Budget Justification

Personnel and Fringe Benefits: 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, for program staff, consultants or speakers, and participants/beneficiaries. If the program involves international travel, include a brief statement of justification for that travel.

Equipment: Describe any machinery, furniture, or other personal property that is required for the program, which has a useful life of more than one year (or a life longer than the duration of the program), and costs at least $5,000 per unit.

Supplies: List and describe all the items and materials, including any computer devices, that are needed for the program. If an item costs more than $5,000 per unit, then put it in the budget under Equipment.

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.  If your organization has a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate (NICRA) and includes NICRA charges in the budget, attach a copy of your latest NICRA. Organizations that have never had a NICRA may request indirect costs of 10% of the modified total direct costs as defined in 2 CFR 200.68.

“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.

  1. Required Registrations:

Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov)

All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these registrations.  All are free of charge:

  • SAM.gov registration which will generate a UEI
  • NCAGE/CAGE code

Any applicant with an exclusion in the System for Award Management (SAM) is not eligible to apply for an assistance award in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR, 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR, 1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension.”

The Unique Entity Identifier (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.  SAM.gov is the Federal government’s primary database for complying with FFATA reporting requirements.  OMB designated SAM.gov as the central repository to facilitate applicant and recipient use of a single public website that consolidates data on all federal financial assistance.  Under the law, it is mandatory to register in SAM.gov.

The UEI will be assigned when an organization registers or renews it’s registration in SAM.gov at www.SAM.gov.  To access SAM.gov an organization is required to have a Login.gov account. Organization can create an account at https://login.gov/.   As a reminder, organizations need to renew its sam.gov registration annually.

US-based organizations: A CAGE code will be automatically assigned when the U.S. organizations registers in www.sam.gov.  CAGE must be renewed every 5 years.  Site for CAGE: https://cage.dla.mil/Home/UsageAgree. Grantees may be asked for more information to finalized and must comply.

Foreign-based organizations: Must apply for a NCAGE code before registering in SAM.gov. Go to: https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/CageTool/home to apply for a NCAGE code.  NCAGE codes must be renewed every 5 years.

It is in the organization’s best interest to check if their CAGE/or NCAGE codes are active.  Organizations are required to register/or renew their CAGE or NCAGE codes prior to registering or renewing www.sam.gov .  Both registration and renewals for both CAGE and NCAGE can take up to 10 days.  Organization’s legal address in NCAGE/CAGE must mirror www. sam.gov.

www.sam.gov requires all entities to renew their registration once a year in order to maintain an active registration status in SAM.gov.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure it has an active registration in SAM.gov.

If an organization plans to issue a sub-contract or sub-award, those sub-awardees must also have a unique entity identifier (UEI number).  Those entities can register for a UEI only at SAM.gov.

If an organization does not have an active registration in SAM.gov prior to submitting an application, the application will be deemed ineligible.  All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these registrations, the latter are free of charge.

Note:  As of April 2022, a DUNS number is no longer required.

  1. Submission Dates and Times

Applications are due no later than November 1, 2022

  1. Funding Restrictions
  • Please note that federal funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.
  • Equipment purchase should not exceed ten percent (10%) of the total budget.
  1. Other Submission Requirements

All application materials must be submitted by email to PublicDiplomacyGrants-Zim@state.gov



  1. Criteria: Each application will be evaluated and rated based on the evaluation criteria outlined below.

Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea: 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, Experience of working entrepreneurship programs implementation and Record on Previous Grants: 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 and understanding of the Zimbabwean entrepreneurship ecosystem and experience in implementing complex programs.

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

American Component: A clear and strong participation of facilitators/expert speakers with a connection to the United States and application of U.S. business systems.

Budget: 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: 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: Program activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the program.

Support of Equity and Underserved Communities:  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

A review committee will appraise all the eligible applications. The first review process is a technical review to ensure proposals and organizations meet the criteria set forth above. The second review involves a Grant Review Committee evaluating eligible proposals based on the criteria identified above.


  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:

  • 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.


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

The Embassy will host a virtual bidding conference on a date to be advised to answer questions from all potential applicants.