U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. EMBASSY SINGAPORE
Notice of Funding Opportunity
Funding Opportunity Title: “Academy for Women Entrepreneurs” Open Cooperative Agreement 2023”
Funding Opportunity Number: PAS-SINGAPORE-FY23-002
Deadline for Applications: Tuesday, May 30, 2023
CFDA Number: 19.040
Total Amount Available: $25,000
Award Ceiling: $25,000
A. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
The U.S. Embassy in Singapore is pleased to announce the open competition to award a cooperative agreement for a recently launched program, the “Academy for Women Entrepreneurs” (or “AWE”). The Public Affairs Section invites proposals from established Singaporean associations, committed, and organized civil-society organizations, and academic institutions, to design and implement a six-month entrepreneurship program in partnership with the Embassy that would provide approximately 30 emerging female entrepreneurs with knowledge, networks, and access they need to launch and scale successful businesses. U.S. and third-country organizations or nationals are not eligible for cooperative agreements under this program unless in partnership with a Singaporean entity.
It is the Embassy’s intent to award one cooperative agreement up to $25,000. Pending the availability of funds, the agreement should begin on or around September 1, 2023 and should expire on March 31, 2024. The authority for this funding opportunity is the U.S. Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948, commonly referred to as the Smith-Mundt Act.
Through this entrepreneurship program, participants will take part in facilitated training sessions featuring an online curriculum on business fundamentals (“DreamBuilder” and/or “100 Million Learners”) that will be provided by the State Department through the University of Arizona. These sessions should be highly interactive, extend learning beyond the virtual course material, and add value in a local context. The program should enhance local entrepreneurs’ business acumen as well as their capacity to expand. Coursework should be supplemented by engaging and educational in-person talks and workshops, including from successful Singaporean entrepreneurs and alumni of U.S. government exchange programs. Awardees must facilitate all the virtual and in-person sessions or work with facilitators with a background in education, entrepreneurship, and training.
One key focus of the program will be enhancing the technology capabilities of female entrepreneurs when feasible. In close coordination with Embassy staff, the awardee will recruit participants, plan the program schedule (taking into account participants’ schedules), and coordinate supplemental site visits, guest speakers, and other networking sessions and events that enhance the technical capabilities of the entrepreneurs.
The AWE program will target Singaporean women ages 23-45 who are ready to launch their business or have done so within the past 5 years and are looking to scale up or grow. It will particularly benefit business owners who need to increase their technical capabilities through exposure to American tech experts and companies. Participants should be recruited via a competitive application process from across Singapore. The awardee will develop the recruitment and selection plan with clear guidelines for participant eligibility.
The program will be held at a variety of locations across Singapore, selected by the awardee in consultation with U.S. Embassy Singapore. In addition to facilitation, talks, and workshops, the awardee will be responsible for communications with program participants, coordinating and paying for venues, equipment, and other particulars linked to virtual and in-person components of the program. The awardee is also in charge of monitoring and evaluation of the program, to include designing and implementing pre and post surveys, monitoring the program, and post program evaluation.
All AWE activities should have a strong American focus. To supplement the facilitated “Dreambuilder” and “100 Million Learners” online sessions, the Embassy will work with the awardee to identify and recruit relevant local American business experts and professors in Singapore and/or business experts from the Singaporean branches of American companies to provide complementary lectures and workshops. The Embassy will seek to include a substantial proportion of female role models among these experts. The Awardee will integrate these experts into the program based on the best fit with course content.
Program Objectives: Each proposal should meet the following objectives, in addition to strengthening understanding of U.S. values, institutions, and precepts:
- Expand participant’s understanding of the fundamentals of launching and scaling up a business.
- Expose participants to U.S. models for business development and connect them with American entrepreneurship experts.
- Incorporate a mentorship program and facilitate the development of an ongoing network of female entrepreneurs who can offer support and ongoing best practices while sustaining their relationship with the U.S. Embassy, to include utilizing the alumni from the AWE Singapore 2022 pilot program.
Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals that use a variety of interactive activities, workshops, and other quality learning experiences to help participants significantly develop their entrepreneurship skills. All proposals should contain a proposed syllabus briefly describing how in-person speakers and other activities would supplement the online sessions in the Dreambuilder (Home Page – DreamBuilder The Women’s Business Creator) and/or 100 Million Learners (Global Entrepreneurship & Innovation Bootcamp | Thunderbird (asu.edu)) courses, and how these activities would relate to overall program objectives. Proposals should also include a detailed explanation of how applicants will be recruited and a description of how program activities will bring about the intended results. Proposals should include ideas for at least 1-2 activities per month that would allow all or select participants to deepen their entrepreneurship skills.
- Awardees will work closely with the Embassy’s Public Affairs Office to design and execute an intensive, six-month facilitated program for 30 Singaporean female entrepreneurs. Activities should include workshops, mentoring, and other interactive sessions. The activities should be innovative, hands-on, and support participant’s growth in the local business environment.
- Awardees should recruit participants from across Singapore. A clear methodology of participant recruitment and selection should be detailed in the proposal, including efforts to ensure geographic and socio-economic inclusion. Embassy staff will help select participants.
- The cooperative agreement should cover the costs of venues, facilitators, expert speakers, any necessary supplies, etc.
- The cooperative agreement should cover funding for any materials necessary for the promotion of the AWE program/recruiting participants and other materials for use in program activities.
- Awardees should be prepared to design and implement surveys, polls, or other methods for evaluating the institute’s effectiveness before, during and after the program’s completion. The plan for monitoring and evaluating the program should be included in the proposal.
- The proposal should include information about how the awardee will identify and recruit facilitators and experts.
- The proposal should contain a detailed sample agenda of sessions and activities.
- Awardees should be available to participate in weekly planning calls with the Embassy from 3 months before the program’s launch until program completion.
- Equipment cannot account for more than 10% of the total project cost.
- The cooperative agreement will be only awarded to Singaporean associations, committed and organized civil-society organizations and academic institutions that already have a final registration receipt and an established bank account at the time that they apply.
- Singaporean associations, civil-society organizations and academic institutions applying to this program should have experience both in organizing large-scale programs as well as demonstrated knowledge of the entrepreneurship and business environment in Singapore.
- U.S. and third-country organizations or nationals are not eligible for awards under this program unless in partnership with a Singaporean organization.
- All proposals must be submitted to the U.S. Embassy by May 30, 2023. No late proposals will be considered.
- All applicants will be notified of funding decisions by mid-June 2023, subject to the availability of funds.
C. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION
- Length of performance period: June 2023 to March 2024
- Number of awards anticipated: 1 award
- Award amounts: Awards may range up to $25,000
- Total available funding: $25,000
- Type of Funding: FY23 Smith-Mundt Public Diplomacy Funds
- Anticipated program start date: September 2023. The awardee should plan to recruit participants starting in June/July 2023, launch the program by September 2023, and end the program no later than March 2024 with dates to be set in coordination with the Embassy.
- Funding Instrument Type: Cooperative Agreement. Cooperative agreements are different from grants in that Embassy staff are more actively involved in the grant implementation. The Public Affairs Office will be actively involved in the award implementation. U.S. Embassy staff will:
- Provide standardized logos/branding guidelines for AWE promotional materials.
- Initiate and participate in promotional activities, to include promotion of the AWE through the U.S. Mission to Singapore’s social media platforms and media engagements.
- Assist in identifying possible institute venues. Approve the selection of the venue.
- Approve participant, facilitator, and expert speaker recruitment and selection plans.
- Assist the implementing partner in developing a multistage review process for applicants, including an initial technical review of applications, review and creation of a short list, and process for interviews, which will include a panel of reviewers with Embassy representation.
- Assist in identifying and contacting alumni of U.S. government exchange program, representatives of U.S. companies, and U.S. Mission personnel as potential speakers, trainers, or mentors.
- Review and approve proposed speaker and trainer rosters and activity/workshop/site visit topics and formats.
- During the program, use social media and outreach to print and television networks, as well as engagement by senior Mission officials, to showcase AWE for a wider Singaporean audience.
- Collaborate with the awardee in assessing participant needs throughout the program, as well as assessing any post program data or feedback to inform future programs.
- Program Performance Period: Awardee will be notified in June 2024. Proposed programs should launch by September and be completed by March of 2024.
The U.S. government may make award(s) on the basis of initial applications received, without discussions or negotiations. Therefore, each initial application should contain the applicant’s best terms from a cost and technical standpoint. The U.S. government reserves the right (though it is not under obligation to do so), however, to enter into discussions with one or more applicants in order to obtain clarifications, additional detail, or to suggest refinements in the project description, budget, or other aspects of an application.
The Department of State will entertain applications for continuation grants funded under these awards beyond the initial budget period on a non-competitive basis subject to availability of funds, satisfactory progress of the program, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the U.S. Department of State.
This notice is subject to availability of funding.
D. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION
- Eligible Applicants:
- Not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations
- Public and private educational institutions
- For-profit organizations (only if allowed by appropriation – not for PD funds)
- Public International Organizations and Governmental institutions
- Cost Sharing or Matching
There is no minimum or maximum percentage of cost share required for this competition. However, we encourage applicants to provide maximum levels of cost sharing in support of its proposal. Please note that in the event of a tie among applications with equivalent scores after evaluation against all other factors, cost-share amounts will be used to break the tie.
When cost sharing is offered, it is understood and agreed that the applicant must provide the amount of cost sharing as stipulated in its proposal and later included in an approved agreement. Cost sharing may be in the form of allowable direct or indirect costs. For accountability, the grantee must maintain written records to support all costs which are claimed as cost share contribution, as well as costs to be paid by the Federal Government. Such records are subject to audit. The basis for determining the value of cash and in-kind contributions must be in accordance with the E CFR §200.306, Office of Management and Budget’s Circular 2 CFR Part 200, entitled the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. In the event the grantee does not provide the minimum amount of cost sharing as stipulated in the approved budget, grant funding will be reduced in like proportion.
- Other Eligibility Requirements
In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number issued via www.SAM.gov as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Please see Section D.3 for more information. Individuals are not required to have a UEI or be registered in SAM.gov.
Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System in the System for Award Management (SAM)(www.sam.gov) 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 Excluded Parties List System in SAM can participate in any activities under an award. All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the Excluded Parties List System in SAM to ensure that no ineligible entity is included.
Applicants are only allowed to submit one proposal per organization. If more than one proposal is submitted from an organization, all proposals from that institution will be considered ineligible for funding.
E. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION
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.
Content of Application
- 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 Calibri font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.
- Mandatory Application Forms
- SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – Organizations) or SF-424-I (Application for Federal Assistance – Individuals)
- SF-424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction Programs)
- SF-424B (Assurances for Non-Construction Programs)
** Note: Form templates can be downloaded here. For organizations, download forms from SF-424 Family. For individuals, download forms from SF-424 Individual Family.
2. Summary Cover Sheet
A cover sheet stating the information:
- Organization’s name/Individual’s name
- Applicant’s name
- Applicant’s contact number
- Proposal date
- Proposal/program title
- Program period proposed start and end date
- Total budget requested
- Brief description of program, objectives, and outcomes (100 words)
- Brief description of the target audience (demographic/profile and estimated number)
- Status of www.SAM.gov Registration (see section 6 below): Active (please indicate expiration date or pending activation)
- Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number (12-character alphanumeric ID issued via www.SAM.gov)
3. Proposal Narrative
Proposals must include the following:
- Proposal summary: A short narrative outlining the key elements of the program, including objectives and anticipated impact. This is the elevator pitch; when read out loud, the proposal summary should not take longer than 45 seconds to read;
- Introduction to the organization or individual applying: A description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the program; if applicable, list previous projects with U.S. Embassy Singapore or other U.S. government entities;
- Problem statement: A clear and concise statement of the problem being addressed and why the proposed program is needed to address the problem;
- Program goals and objectives: A brief outline of the proposed program goals (what the project aims to achieve at its completion) and objectives (measurable interim outcomes), and an explanation of how the program will improve relations between Singapore and the United States;
- Program activities, methods, and design: A description of the program activities, how the activities will be executed, and how the activities will achieve the goal.
- Proposed program schedule: The proposed timeline for undertaking and completing the specific program activities; include the dates, times if applicable, and locations for the various activities.
- Program partners: List the name and types of involvement of key partner organizations.
- Key personnel: Names, titles, roles, and experience/qualifications of key personnel involved in the program. What proportion of their time will be used in support of this program?
- Program monitoring and evaluation plan: This is an important part of successful grants. Throughout the timeframe 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?
- Program sustainability: A summary of plans designed to help the value of the program live beyond the period of performance.
4. Budget Narrative
After filling out the SF-424A Budget (above), use a separate sheet of paper to present each of the budget expenses in detail in a clear table.
A list of relevant project expenses in U.S. dollars, consistent with the proposal narrative, broken down into the following categories and cost per item and quantities.
- 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.
- Travel: Estimate the costs of 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.
Cost Sharing: PAS strongly encourages, but does not mandate, that applicants include cost-sharing elements from additional sources in support of their proposals. “Cost Sharing” refers to contributions from the organization or other entities other than U.S. Embassy Singapore. It also includes in-kind contributions such as volunteers’ time and donated venues.
Note: Award funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages and typically cannot be used to fund food and beverage costs. Please also note that programs supported by U.S. Embassy Singapore grants cannot be profit-earning programs. Income earned or derived from ticket sales or other sources related to the program must contribute to program costs not covered by U.S. Embassy Singapore grants.
In addition to the Mandatory Application Forms, Summary Cover Sheet, Proposal Narrative, and Budget Narrative, applicants are encouraged to submit:
- CV/Resume: A one-page document for each of the key personnel working on the program.
- Letters of support: If other partners have already committed to supporting the program, applicants should submit letters from them acknowledging their support and their understanding that support is also being requested from U.S. Embassy Singapore.
- Official permission letters: If required for program activities.
Submission Dates and Times
Applications are due no later than May 30, 2023
All application materials must be submitted to SingaporePASCultural@state.gov with “PAS AWE Application” and the applicant organization’s name in the subject line.
All organizations, whether based in the United States or in another country, must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) and an active registration with the SAM.gov. A UEI is one of the data elements mandated by Public Law 109-282, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), for all Federal awards.
Note: As of April 2022, a DUNS number is no longer required for federal assistance applications.
The 2 CFR 200 requires that sub-grantees obtain a UEI number. Please note the UEI for sub-grantees is not required at the time of application but will be required before an award is processed and/or directed to a sub-grantee.
Note: The process of obtaining or renewing a SAM.gov registration may take anywhere from 4-8 weeks. Please begin your registration as early as possible.
- Organizations based in the United States or that pay employees within the United States will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and a UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.
- Organizations based outside of the United States and that do not pay employees within the United States do not need an EIN from the IRS but do need a UEI number prior to registering in SAM.gov.
- Please note that as of November 2022 and February 2022 respectively, organizations based outside of the United States that do not intend to apply for U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) awards are no longer required to have a NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) code or CAGE code to apply for non-DoD foreign assistance funding opportunities. If an applicant organization is mid-registration and wishes to remove a CAGE or NCAGE code from their SAM.gov registration, the applicant should submit a help desk ticket (“incident”) with the Federal Service Desk (FSD) online at www.fsd.gov using the following language: “I do not intend to seek financial assistance from the Department of Defense. I do not wish to obtain a CAGE or NCAGE code. I understand that I will need to submit my registration after this incident is resolved in order to have my registration activated.”
Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO NOT plan to do business with the DoD should follow the below instructions:
Step 1: Proceed to SAM.gov to obtain a UEI and complete the SAM.gov registration process. SAM.gov registration must be renewed annually.
Organizations based outside of the United States and that DO plan to do business with the DoD in addition to Department of State should follow the below instructions:
Step 1: Apply for an NCAGE code by following the instructions on the NSPA NATO website linked below:
NCAGE Code Request Tool (NCRT):
An exemption from the UEI and sam.gov registration requirements may be permitted on a case-by-case basis if:
- An applicant’s identity must be protected due to potential endangerment of their mission, their organization’s status, their employees, or individuals being served by the applicant.
- For an applicant, if the Federal awarding agency makes a determination that there are exigent circumstances that prohibit the applicant from receiving a unique entity identifier and completing SAM registration prior to receiving a Federal award. In these instances, Federal awarding agencies must require the recipient to obtain a unique entity identifier and complete SAM registration within 30 days of the Federal award date.
Organizations requesting exemption from UEI or SAM.gov requirements must email the point of contact listed in the NOFO at least two weeks prior to the deadline in the NOFO providing a justification of their request. Approval for a SAM.gov exemption must come from the warranted Grants Officer before the application can be deemed eligible for review.
F. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION
Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below.
Quality and Feasibility of the Proposed Institute Program: The program idea is well developed, with details about how program activities will be carried out. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline, including for recruitment of participants, facilitators and expert speakers. Goals and objectives are clearly stated, and program outline is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.
Organizational Capacity, Entrepreneurship Experience, and Record on Previous Grants/Program Implementation: The organization has expertise in the Singaporean entrepreneurship ecosystem, has experience managing complex projects, and has the internal controls in place to manage federal funds. This includes a financial management system and a bank account. Facilitators have experience in training and/or educational programming.
U.S. Component: There is strong participation of facilitators/expert speakers with a connection to the United States and application of U.S. business models. Opportunities are identified where the U.S. Embassy can work in partnership with the awardee to involve local alumni of U.S. government programs.
Program Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives: The organization has a strong, strategic, and feasible program plan, along with evidence of the organization’s ability to execute the plan to achieve the objectives of the program.
Budget: 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.
Monitoring and evaluation plan: Applicant demonstrates the ability 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.
2. Review and Selection Process
The Public Affairs Section will evaluate all eligible applications. The evaluation process will consist of two stages. First, a technical review will be completed to ensure that proposals and organizations meet the criteria set forth above. Second, a Grant Review Committee comprised of personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Singapore will evaluate eligible proposals on the basis of the criteria identified above.
G. FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
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.
Administrative and National Policy Requirements
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.
- 2 CFR 25 – UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER AND SYSTEM FOR AWARD MANAGEMENT
- 2 CFR 170 – REPORTING SUBAWARD AND EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION INFORMATION
- 2 CFR 175 – AWARD TERM FOR TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
- 2 CFR 182 – GOVERNMENTWIDE REQUIREMENTS FOR DRUG-FREE WORKPLACE (FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE)
- 2 CFR 183 – NEVER CONTRACT WITH THE ENEMY
- 2 CFR 600 – DEPARTMENT OF STATE REQUIREMENTS
- U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE STANDARD TERMS AND CONDITIONS
In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget’s guidance located at 2 CFR part 200, all applicable Federal laws, and relevant Executive guidance, the Department of State will review and consider applications for funding, as applicable to specific programs, pursuant to this notice of funding opportunity in accordance with the following:
- Guidance for Grants and Agreements in Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations (2 CFR), as updated in the Federal Register’s 85 FR 49506 on August 13, 2020, particularly on:
- Selecting recipients most likely to be successful in delivering results based on the program objectives through an objective process of evaluating Federal award applications (2 CFR part 200.205),
- Prohibiting the purchase of certain telecommunication and video surveillance services or equipment in alignment with section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 (Pub. L. No. 115—232) (2 CFR part 200.216),
- Promoting the freedom of speech and religious liberty in alignment with Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty (E.O. 13798) and Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities (E.O. 13864) (§§ 200.300, 200.303, 200.339, and 200.341),
- Providing a preference, to the extent permitted by law, to maximize use of goods, products, and materials produced in the United States (2 CFR part 200.322), and
- Terminating agreements in whole or in part to the greatest extent authorized by law, if an award no longer effectuates the program goals or agency priorities (2 CFR part 200.340).
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. Awardees should anticipate weekly planning and check-in calls with the Embassy for the duration of the program, as well as a mid-year and final program report and a final financial report.
H. OTHER INFORMATION
Questions? Questions about the grant application process should be directed to SingaporePASCultural@state.gov.