Are you an African based in Diaspora? Do you have a burning passion or interest to start up a venture in Africa? Then you might be interested in the African Diaspora Marketplace! Check it out:
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Western Unionhave launched a second African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM). The ADM encourages sustainable economic growth and employment by supporting U.S.-based African Diaspora entrepreneurs with innovative and high-impact ideas for start-up and established businesses in Africa.
The new Marketplace will incorporate key learning from the first African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM), by focusing grants toward priority, high-impact sectors in Africa, including agribusiness, renewable energy, and information and communication technology (ICT). To expand upon their previous success, Western Union and USAID will invite small business investment funds and technical assistance mentors to participate in the effort to engage Diaspora entrepreneurs.
ADM will award 15-30 winning businesses with matching partnership grants of up to but not exceeding USD 50,000 with accompanying technical assistant.
The Selection process:
Africa Diaspora Marketplace (ADM) implementation team will review the pool of applicants and will narrow the group to approximately one hundred applicants by March 2012. These applicants will be invited to submit full business plans.
ADM II will select the top fifty from this pool as finalist.
The finalists will be invited to Washington, D.C., where an “ADM II Marketplace” will be held in June 2012. The marketplace will allow them to showcase their business ideas/concept directly to the judges who will select the winners.
The final fifty will be reviewed by an international panel of twelve judges.
A major distinguishing factor of ADM II will be a follow on financing round for winners. This Year’s ADM will feature a follow on social investor forum hosted by the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) in Lagos, Nigeria.
The forum will be reserved for ADM winners who have successfully met their grant milestones. The Forum will serve as a transition point for them to move from soft funding to hard funding. It will be a true test of the commercial viability of their venture. It will be in many instances be first live pitch to investors. The funding from the forum would be an actual investment that would range from USD 150,000 and USD 300,000.
“Through lessons learned from over two decades of building successful businesses in Africa, I firmly believe that Africa’s economic transformation can be driven from within by the continent’s own entrepreneurs,” says Tony O. Elumelu, MFR, Founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation. “As an African foundation, we are pleased to participate in this innovative effort with Western Union and USAID as a way to bring African talent and innovation back home”
If you are applying, best of luck!