USAID Feed the Future Accelerating Women Entrepreneurs Prize 2018

USAID Feed the Future Accelerating Women Entrepreneurs Prize 2018

Deadline: April 25, 2018

Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation is accepting applications for the Accelerating Women Entrepreneurs prize! This prize will help women take their businesses to the next level by providing winners with acceleration services including investment readiness consulting, investor matchmaking support, and business analysis. The AgTechXChange is the premier community for advancing agricultural technologies for smallholder farmers.

This competitive request for applications (RFA) is for women owned or operated agribusinesses in sub-Saharan African countries where USAID operates. Businesses with women in leadership positions including founder, CEO, president, or managing director that meet the eligibility criteria may apply to receive technical assistance that will help prepare businesses to access external investment.


The selected finalists will receive investment readiness consulting services and investor matchmaking support. Up to two companies will be awarded a package of technical assistance valued at $50,000.

The technical assistance package will include:

  • An assessment of investment readiness, including a review of the enterprise’s corporate systems and a summary of key challenges and overall readiness for external investment
  • Co-development of a five-year business strategy and financial projections, preparation of an investor overview document and outreach materials including a pitch deck, a landscape review of potential investors, and initial introductions to principals of the funds


  • Applicants must be a woman-owned or operated (i.e. women in leadership positions including founder, CEO, president, or managing director) commercial enterprise that is selling products or services in smallholder agricultural or livestock markets. Companies must be headquartered in a sub-Saharan African country where USAID currently operates (see country list here).
  • Companies should have viable business models and incorporate and ultimately benefit smallholder farmers in at least one the following areas:
    • Increased access to agricultural inputs (e.g. seeds, fertilizer, crop protection products, equipment), technology (e.g. information and communication technology, cold chain logistics, mechanization, irrigation), financial and/or risk management services, and/or better agricultural practices.
    • Expansion of market access through improved services by offtakers or processors.
  • Applicants must demonstrate that the company is in a position to take on external investment and sustainably scale significant development impacts for smallholder farmers, such as productivity increases, increased income, reduction in postharvest losses, and/or expanded market access
  • All applicant businesses must be legally recognized entities in the country of operation and able to provide documented proof of legal status.
  • Applicant businesses should have been in operation for more than one year with demonstrated potential for commercial viability and seeking external investment.
  • Businesses currently or previously supported by Partnering for Innovation will not be considered.

Selection Criteria

Partnering for Innovation will evaluate applications based on the responses to the questions in the application. Qualifying agribusiness applicants must be owned or operated by a woman who has been in the position for at least one year (i.e. women in leadership positions including, founder, CEO, president, or managing director). Questions are listed in descending order of importance and include the following:

  • Business Model: Applicants will be evaluated on the viability of the business model and products and services offered to smallholder farmers.
  • Smallholder Impact: Applicants will be evaluated on the potential impact on smallholder farmers. Applicants should demonstrate how the product or service will benefit smallholder farmers with regard to one or more of the following areas: improved productivity and improved yields, increased sales revenue and profitability, increased resilience, improved business practices, reduced postharvest loss, improved agricultural practices, increased access to financing, and/or access to new technologies. Where possible, applicants should also demonstrate how the product or service impacts women farmers in particular.
  • Market Opportunity: Applicants will be evaluated on current and potential market share and strategies for growth.
  • Investment Strategy: Applicants will be evaluated on perceived readiness for external investment.
  • Sustainability: Applicants will be evaluated on long-term strategy to scale products or services in smallholder farmer markets. Applicants are asked to provide five-year projections for sales and revenue.
  • Organizational Capacity: Applicants will be evaluated on perceived ability to sustain and grow the business based on capacity, experience, and years of operation.


All applications must be submitted via e-mail to [email protected] with the name of your organization and “Accelerating Women Entrepreneurs” in the subject line. Receipt of submitted application will be confirmed. Only documents in Microsoft Word or PDF format will be accepted.

Download the application form.

For more information, visit Accelerating Women Entrepreneurs Prize.