United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Western Union Company and the Western Union Foundation have collaborated with agribusiness, renewable energy, and information and communications technology companies in Nigeria, Congo, Cote D'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Uganda, and Zambia.
A statement made available to Journalists by the United States department said that approximately 40 entrepreneurs are going to compete for an investment of up to $70,000 in their business at the African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM) II.
According to the statement, the marketplace competition which will be finalized on Saturday, will showcase promising and innovative ideas for businesses that can create employment and strengthen trade in emerging markets in sub-Saharan Africa. The program also supports U.S.-based African diaspora members in giving back to their home communities.
The ADM II which is a collaboration of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Western Union Company and the Western Union Foundation, is one of the few public-private initiatives to harness the knowledge and resources of U.S-based African diaspora and other entrepreneurs to address poverty through small-medium sized business (SMEs).
Winners receive up to $50,000 in matching grants and/or technical assistance valued at up to $20,000 ($70,000 total investment per awardee).
The ADM II is jointly funded by USAID, the Western Union Company, and the Western Union Foundation. Other contributing partners include Ecobank, George Washington University Center for International Business Education and Research, the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the U.S. Department of State and Irv Barr Management.
Nearly 500 business proposals in the Agribusiness, Information and Communications Technology, Alternative Energy and other productive sectors, were submitted by U.S-based African diaspora and other entrepreneurs with a demonstrated and relevant connection to, or experience in, Africa.
In accordance with the program rules, proposals were evaluated by independent panels established by George Washington University, the Enterprise Development Network and other small business experts.
The panel identified 71 semi-finalists, and 15 to 20 winners will be selected and awarded small business grants to help fund their innovative plans.