USAID and Western Union Launch African Diaspora Marketplace II with Small Business Workshops in Seven Cities

Tour Kicks Off Second Phase of Successful Initiative Designed to Create Entrepreneurial Solutions to Economic and Social Challenges

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, November 22, 2011
USAID Press Office
202-712-4320

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and The Western Union Company, a leader in global payment services today launched the second African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM II). The marketplace promotes 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 sub-Saharan Africa. The launch of ADM II coincides with the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week in Washington, D.C., and kicks off a month-long series of small business workshops in six other U.S. cities.

In 2010, the ADM awarded more than a dozen matching grants of $100,000 each to winning business entries in seven countries, and the resulting gains are already being seen by those businesses and their communities. Past grantees have been at the forefront of innovative business enterprises, including the first mobile anti-counterfeiting service for pharmaceutical drugs in Nigeria, the first GPS tracking system to prevent product loss in Ethiopia, and a high-speed ferry system powered by locally-produced sunflower oil in East Africa, which is now connecting local economies in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The second round of the ADM will focus grants toward high priority, high-impact sectors in Africa, including agribusiness, renewable energy, and information and communication technology (ICT).

"Small and medium enterprises provide the majority of employment opportunities globally," said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. "By working with Western Union to launch ADM-II, we are strengthening the ability of entrepreneurs to fuel broad-based economic development, build local capacity and expand the reach of key services."

"Our support for innovative diaspora entrepreneurs is an investment in the long-term economic health of Africa, and part of our enduring community commitment." said Hikmet Ersek, president and CEO of Western Union. "Through this collaboration, Western Union and USAID are helping to tap the economic potential of the 1.4 million Africans living in the U.S., bringing more direct investment to the continent. The African Diaspora Marketplace will strengthen and help satisfy demand for locally-produced products and services by leveraging diaspora capital and resources."

Joining the Western Union Company, the Western Union Foundation and USAID in the partnership are George Washington University's Center for International Business Education and Research. They will provide research expertise and also evaluate the initial phase of business proposals. Coinciding with the launch, The Tony Elumelu Foundation, an African-funded foundation that promotes the competitiveness of the African private sector, is joining the ADM II partnership.

Proposals are due by February 3, 2012 and will target the following eligible countries: Angola, Benin, Cote D'Ivoire, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. An estimated 15 to 30 businesses will benefit from the grants, though the final number of grants awarded will be determined based on grant pool and program need. The matching grant size is expected to be approximately US $50,000, with an additional supplement of US $25-50,000 in technical assistance.

Additional stops on the small business workshop tour will visit Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia, before returning to Washington, D.C. on December 16.

Information about ADM, past winners, and the schedule for the small business workshops in the seven cities, can be found at www.diasporamarketplace.org.

For more information about Western Union and its Foundation, visit www.westernunion.com and foundation.westernunion.com.

For more information about The Tony Elumelu Foundation, visit www.tonyelumelufoundation.org

Last updated: July 16, 2014

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