The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). Its mission is to advance food and nutritional security, increase prosperity and encourage sound natural resource management in ACP countries. It provides access to information and knowledge, facilitates policy dialogue and strengthens the capacity of agricultural and rural development institutions and communities. CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is funded by the EU.
2. Project background and objectives (VALUE4HER)
Women are actors in numerous agricultural value chains, offering huge potential for their participation in markets, but few are involved in higher value businesses in agricultural value chains. Women often lack access to competitive markets; they lack the technical, leadership and management capacities to lead agribusiness for growth and are often limited in accessing business intelligence necessary to prosper in a marketplace. Women also experience other gender-related barriers, including insufficient access to finance, to help grow their businesses and enable them to compete more effectively in the market.
CTA, in collaboration with its regional partners in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries has designed the programme VALUE4HER, to respond to these constraints, in order to increase incomes and employment for women in agribusinesses. VALUE4HER is an ACP-wide programme aimed at increasing value for women in agribusinesses through market access, improving knowledge, skills and networks and global advocacy aimed at addressing some of the key barriers for women's empowerment in agriculture. Specific objectives are to:
- Support women agribusinesses to access competitive regional and global markets;
- Strengthen women business leaders with skills and capacity to lead agribusinesses for higher returns;
- Facilitate advocacy and knowledge networking on key barriers to women's entrepreneurship.
3. Objective of the #VALUE4HER innovation grant
The VALUE4HER project was designed among other activities to spur innovations within women-owned agri-businesses through a competitive grant scheme. This grant scheme is aimed at enabling women’s agribusinesses to try out new ideas, to take on the risk of new suppliers who would be women. In this regard, applications are invited from agribusinesses led by women, that would be interested to participate in innovative business linkages with small and micro level women agripreneurs and producers to facilitate women-to-women supply chains.
The call is also seeking applicants who would not only include women in their supply chains but demonstrate doing that in a sustainable way.
4. Eligibility and criteria
This Innovation Grant (IG) is open to women-led agribusinesses (at least 60% of the shares held by a woman or groups of women) that are incorporated in an African country and have been in existence for at least three (3) years. The detailed eligibility criteria are below. The woman-led agribusiness (hereafter called ‘The Applicant) must meet the following criteria:
- The Applicant is a legal entity (sole proprietorship; partnerships, corporation or limited liability company), incorporated in an African country, fully or majority owned by women citizens of Africa (minimum 60% shareholding).
- The Applicant is in agribusiness – either in bulking, processing or trading in agricultural commodities or products.
- The Applicant must have been in operation for a minimum of 3 years, with an annual turnover of USD 30,000 – USD 50,000.
- The Applicant must demonstrate the capacity to contribute at least 10% of the total project budget (in cash or in-kind).
- The Applicant must not be a previous recipient of a CTA award / grant.
- Qualifying members of #VALUE4HERConnect Platform are particularly encouraged to apply.
5. Innovation grant supported activities
The Applicant can use the #VALUE4HER grant to fund a range of services, alone or in combination, for example as per the following:
- Costs relating to the identification and mobilisation of women agripreneurs and producers of lower business segment for produce offtake;
- Costs relating to identification of capacity gaps of women suppliers, cost of at least one training on product quality, standards, product flow schedules, logistics, packaging, etc.);
- Costs relating to drafting of partnerships/ supplier agreements/contracts;
- Costs relating to new supply chains and linkages (to meet at least 20 new women suppliers);
- Costs in lieu of small equipment purchases, not exceeding Euro 2,000
- Costs relating to personnel supporting the initiative, not exceeding Euro 1,500
6. Use of VALUE4HER innovation grant (IG)
The maximum available grant per qualifying agribusiness is Euro 9,000. This is to cover up to a maximum of 90% of the total budget for approved activities (inclusive of fees for training, logistics costs, equipment, etc.). The balance of 10% (Euro 1,000 in-cash or in-kind contribution from participating business) is the Applicant’s own contribution to the project.
The successful agribusiness will be required to sign a grant contract with CTA, which will include a cash advance payment of up to 70% of CTA’s contribution to the agribusiness. The balance (30%) will be paid after the approved activities have been completed; verification done, and signed completion certificate(s) received; and upon receipt of original supporting documents, including a 2-page summary report on experiences, achievements and lessons learnt.
N.B. The VALUE4HER grant can only be used for activities eligible as per criteria laid out in this call and as per the contract signed with CTA;
N.B. The IG cannot be used to acquire land, property or other real estate, or large capital expenditure items (e.g. equipment costing more than Euro 2,000 ) or registering or buying patents.
N.B. Ownership of any intellectual property or profits generated through this funding facility will reside with the agribusiness.
N.B. Grant beneficiaries will be invited to provide a one-page impact statement based on the VALUE4HER grant six (6) months afterwards.
7. Operationalising the VALUE4HER innovation grant
i. All applicants will be required to complete and submit the official #VALUE4HER-Grant Application form available both on #VALUE4HERConnect platform https://value4her.hivebrite.com/ or using this link before the deadline.
ii. Applications will be evaluated based on the technical and administrative criteria that is herein included (cf. section 9).
iii. All activities are to be completed within 6 months.
8. Submission of grant applications
Eligible African woman-led agribusinesses are required to submit their grant applications using the official template and by providing required supporting documents. Submissions should be sent as attachments to the email provided below. The email subject should be clearly stipulated as follows <NAME OF COMPANY> followed by <APPLICATION FOR VALUE4HER GRANT>. Documents should be scanned and organised as follows:
(i) One file with - Administrative Documents
a) Grant Application Form (Annex 1)
b) Signed declaration (Annex 2)
c) Company registration certificate
d) Proof of nationality and gender of owner(s) (e.g. scan copy of passport page)
e) Certified bank statements for 2018 (01 January to 31 December 2018) or recent bank certificate showing the financial situation of the Applicant (dated less than 90 days prior the submission date).
(ii) One file with - Technical Documents and Budget
a) Technical Proposal (Annex 3) detailing:
i. Justification for women to women supply chain and why your company is best placed to implement this scheme (adding 20 new women suppliers into your company supply chain)
ii. Innovative women to women supply chains activities for which the innovation grant will be used
iii. The implementation plan
iv. The expected impact – short- and medium-term
v. The budget summary (clearly showing own contribution of 10%)
b) Detailed Budget form (Annex 4)
Email Address - The complete set of documents (scanned copies) - the application form including annexes and supporting documents (PDF, Word and Excel format) must be sent to the following email address – email@example.com on /or before 15 September 2019 at 00:00 (CET).
Deadline - All documents (as indicated above) must be received before the deadline. Deadline for receipt of applications is 15 September 2019 at 00:00 (CET)
Questions – Any questions and requests for clarification regarding the #VALUE4HER INNOVATION GRANT call should be submitted in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org up to 21 calendar days before the deadline for submission of proposals. A reply to all questions will be provided up to 11 calendar days prior to the deadline of submission of proposals. The questions and answers will be posted online and made available for all other applicants.
9. Evaluation of the #VALUE4HER- innovation grant applications
Only applications received within the deadline in response to the VALUE4HER-Innovation Grant call for applications and submitted using the approved official IG grant application form and templates will be considered. Applications will be evaluated using a two-step process:
a. 1st Stage: Conformance with administrative requirements (cf. section 8.1 above) – All proposals will be screened to ensure compliance with the administrative requirements. Applications that do not meet the administrative requirements will be rejected.
b. 2nd Stage – An inter-disciplinary team of experts (3) drawn from #VALUE4HER implementing partners in Africa and supported by staff members of CTA will undertake the technical evaluation of all eligible applications using the established evaluation scorecard (see below).
Evaluation Score Card
|Criteria||Weighting Factor||Maximum score|
|Justification/why your company||1||10|
|Implementation plan & schedule||1||20|
Minimum score required: 70 points.
Finalists - A maximum of 21 - 25 qualifying SMEs will be selected from among those with the highest scores (>70), ranked from highest to lowest. The top 20 will be selected and the extra five to ten (nos. 21-25) will be placed on the list of reserves.
c. N.B. 3rd Stage: The partners reserve the right to include a third stage in the evaluation process. If deemed necessary, in-country representative(s) of the project partners will be requested to make a site visit to validate key data of any finalists prior to the final announcement of the top twenty (20) winners.
10. Award of grants
The top twenty (20) successful applicants will be officially informed of their success in winning an innovation grant by email. A grant contract will then be signed with CTA to access the funding.
11. Monitoring, evaluation and advocacy
The partners will monitor the implementation of the Grant award and evaluate the outputs, outcome and impact, through a verification visit by local partners of VALUE4HER. This approach to funding innovation for women-led agribusiness in Africa to ‘grow their business’ is novel and the partners will use the lessons learned to lobby for additional resources to scale-up interventions in support of women-to-women supply chains development.