Notice of Funding Opportunity: Women’s Economic Empowerment Mentorship Program

  1. Annual Program Statement
  2. Grant Application Forms
  3. Notice of Funding Opportunity: Women’s Economic Empowerment Mentorship Program

Funding Opportunity Title: Women’s Economic Empowerment Mentorship Program

Funding Opportunity Number:  PASCNB-NOFO-FY21-03

Deadline for Applications: February 26, 2021, 5pm AEDT

CFDA Number:  19.040 – Public Diplomacy Programs

Total Amount Available: $35,000

The U.S. Embassy in Australia announces an open competition for organizations to submit applications to carry out a mentorship program designed to empower, inspire, and upskill up-and-coming Australian women entrepreneurs and improve understanding about the U.S.-Australia economic relationship.

A.1 Background

Women’s economic participation is crucial to establishing stable, peaceful, and prosperous communities and economies.  The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many existing crises, and the disproportionate global and regional economic impact of the pandemic on women has been substantial.  The economic links established between the United States and Australia have been a key source of stability, growth, and productivity for the Australian economy.  According to a recent Deloitte report, the United States is the single largest source of foreign investment in Australia, and much of that investment is underpinned by entrepreneurship on both sides of the Pacific.  Australian innovators and entrepreneurs have long looked to the United States for funding, insight, and inspiration, but a growing cadre of Australian entrepreneurs increasingly see bright futures for them and their ideas here in Australia.  As the United States and Australia look to grow their economies out of the COVID-19 economic slowdown, a vibrant culture of entrepreneurship will play an increasingly critical role in creating new, high-paying jobs, improving productivity, and generating economic growth.  Empowering women to fully participate in their economies will be an essential part of long-term economic recovery in both countries.

A.2 Program Goals

This program seeks to facilitate a mentorship program between budding Australian women entrepreneurs aged 20-30 and established American women business leaders.  The program will enable a diverse cohort of emerging Australian women entrepreneurs to develop skills and professional networks needed to support future business ventures.  The program will also raise awareness about the U.S.-Australia economic relationship and opportunities for increased economic partnership between Australian and American businesses, business associations, and NGOs.

A.3 Expected Results

This program is expected to result in increased ability of emerging Australian women entrepreneurs to participate fully in the economy.  Following the program, participants will be better equipped to develop new business ventures through enhanced skills and professional networks.  Participants will also have a better understanding of the U.S.-Australia economic relationship and opportunities for collaboration between American and Australian enterprises.

A.4 Main Activities

This program seeks to facilitate upskilling for careers in entrepreneurship, professional networking, and increased understanding of the U.S.-Australia economic relationship through mentoring, training, and networking sessions with emerging Australian women entrepreneurs and established American women business leaders.  Program duration and delivery format are flexible; however, the program should not center on international travel considering ongoing restrictions relating to COVID-19.

A.5 Performance Indicators

Performance indicators can include, but are not limited to:

  • Number of Australian participants
  • Number of connections facilitated between Australian participants and American mentors
  • Number and duration of mentoring, training, and/or networking sessions
  • Participants’ attitudes of their skills to engage in entrepreneurial activities
  • Participants’ attitudes of the U.S.-Australia economic relationship

A.6 Audiences

This program seeks to engage a cohort of budding Australian women entrepreneurs between the ages of 20-30.  All applications must identify the target audience of the program and estimate audience reach through direct contact, and if possible, through indirect contact via social or traditional media.

Length of performance period: 6-12 months

Number of awards anticipated: Multiple

Award amounts: Up to $35,000

Total available funding: Subject to availability

Type of Funding:  FY21 Public Diplomacy Funding

Anticipated program start date: March 15, 2021

Funding Instrument Type:  Grant or Cooperative Agreement

Eligibility

The following organizations are eligible to apply:  

  • U.S. and foreign not for profit entities
  • U.S. and foreign universities
  • Foreign public entities

The following types of projects are not eligible for funding:

  • Projects relating to partisan political activity
  • For profit activities
  • Charitable or development activities
  • Construction projects
  • Projects that support specific religious activities
  • Fundraising campaigns
  • Lobbying for specific legislation or projects
  • Academic and scientific research
  • Individual exchange programs

Cost Sharing or Matching

Cost sharing is not required.

Other Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a unique entity identifier, as well as a valid registration on SAM.gov. Please see Section D for information on how to obtain these registrations.  Individuals are not required to have a unique entity identifier or be registered in SAM.gov.

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.

Address to Request Application Package

Application forms required below are available at https://au.usembassy.gov/education-culture/grants-programs/.

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
  • All documents are formatted to 8 ½ x 11 paper, and
  • All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.

Mandatory Application Forms

  • Application
  • SF-424
  • SF-424A

All mandatory forms are available at: https://au.usembassy.gov/education-culture/grants-programs/.

The U.S. Mission to Australia Grant Application Form includes the following elements:

  • Proposal Summary: Short narrative that outlines the proposed program, including program objectives and anticipated impact.
  • Introduction to the Organization: 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.
  • Proposed Program Schedule and Timeline:  The proposed timeline for the program activities.  Include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events.
  • 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?
  • Budget Justification Narrative:  After filling out the SF-424A Budget (above), use a separate sheet of paper to describe each of the budget expenses in detail.  See Section H below for further information.
  • Attachments (Optional)
  • One-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the program
  • Letters of support from program partners describing the roles and responsibilities of each partner
  • If your organization has a NICRA and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a PDF file
  • Official permission letters, if required for program activities
  • Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management Registration

Required Registrations:

Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) 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.” Additionally, no entity listed on the EPLS can participate in any activities under an award.  All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the EPLS in SAM to ensure that no ineligible entity is included.

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

  • Unique entity identifier from Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS number)
  • NCAGE/CAGE code
  • www.SAM.gov registration

Step 1: Apply for a DUNS number and an NCAGE number (these can be completed simultaneously)

DUNS application

Organizations must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet. If your organization does not have one already, you may obtain one by calling 1-866-705-5711 or visiting www.dnb.com.

NCAGE application

Application page here: https://www.fsd.gov/fsd-gov/answer.do?sysparm_number=kb0011119

For NCAGE help from within the U.S., call 1-888-227-2423

For NCAGE help from outside the U.S., call 1-269-961-7766

Email NCAGE@dlis.dla.mil for any problems in getting an NCAGE code.

Step 2: After receiving the NCAGE Code, proceed to register in SAM.gov by logging onto: www.sam.gov.  SAM registration must be renewed annually.

Submission Dates and Times

Applications are due by 5pm AEDT on February 19, 2021.

Other Submission Requirements

All application materials must be submitted by email to PASGrantsAustralia@state.gov.

Criteria

Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below.

  • Quality of Project Idea: The program idea is well developed, with detail about how activities will be carried out.  The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.  The program goals closely align with those outlined in the project description.
  • Project Planning/ability to adhere to objectives: Applicant demonstrates that the project plan is realistic, timely, and that it will meet the proposed objectives.
  • Institution’s Capacity: Applicant demonstrates that they have the resources, organizational infrastructure and staffing to meet the project objectives.  The applicant’s past record on similar projects or lack thereof will be taken under consideration.
  • Project 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.
  • Cost Effectiveness: 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.

Review and Selection Process

A Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications based on the previously-identified criteria.

Federal Awardee Performance & Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)

For any Federal award under a notice of funding opportunity, if the Federal awarding agency anticipates that the total Federal share will be greater than the simplified acquisition threshold on any Federal award under a notice of funding opportunity may include, over the period of performance (see §200.88 Simplified Acquisition Threshold), this section must also inform applicants:

  • That the Federal awarding agency, prior to making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share greater than the simplified acquisition threshold, is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS) (see 41 U.S.C. 2313);
  • That an applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered and is currently in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM;
  • That the Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in §200.205 Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.

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.

Payment Method

Payments will be made in at least two installments as needed to carry out project activities.

Terms and Conditions

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:

2 CFR 200, 2 CFR 600, Certifications and Assurances, and the Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions.

Note the U.S Flag branding and marking requirements in the Standard Terms and Conditions.

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.

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

  • 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. (eg: Director $100/hour x 10 hours = $1,000)
  • Travel: Estimate the costs of economy class air 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: 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.

Helpful Hints for International Registrants (PDF 123KB)

Quick Guide for International Entity Registration (PDF 200KB)

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