ESCAP Women Enterprise Impact Investment Fund

Request for Applications - Women Enterprise Impact Investment Fund: Partnering to Unlock Investment Capital for Women Enterprises

As part of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s “Catalyzing Women’s Entrepreneurship” project, ESCAP has launched a Request for Applications. 

Funding Goal
ESCAP seeks to partner and provide grant funding for 1) the establishment of a women enterprise impact investment fund; or 2) to expand an existing impact investment fund to specifically focus on women enterprises in the Asia-Pacific Region.

ESCAP’s call for applications asks applicants to take a gender lens investing approach, meaning investing with the specific intent to create a positive impact on women. The impact investment fund should specifically focus on supporting women enterprises. This can be in the form of investing in enterprises which are majority owned by women (51%), managed by a woman, majority of the board members are women, and/or supporting enterprises which support, empower and develop the capacities of women.

Applicant Benefits
Successful applications will receive:
  • Up to US$ 1.3 million in grant funding
  • Technical assistance
  • Support for applicants requiring regulatory approval
Selected applicants will receive up to US$ 1.3 million in grant funding to support the Impact Investment Fund’s operational development/expansion costs, legal fees, identification/building an investor network, market research, identification of investable women enterprises, portfolio management, capacity building and monitoring of impact.

ESCAP will work closely with the grantee to ensure strong project delivery and results. This will include where required, expertise and technical assistance, and coordination and support for regulatory approvals that may be required.

Applications are open to all organizations which hold a not-for-profit status. A proof of the organization’s not-for-profit status will be required as part of the application process. While for-profit institutions are not eligible to apply as a lead applicant (meaning the institution in which ESCAP would sign the grant agreement), if a for-profit institution would like to partner with a not-for-profit institution who is applying as the lead applicant, this is acceptable. Therefore, private sector institutions who are interested in this project, are encouraged to seek partnership with a not-for-profit institution which is applying as the lead institution in the application.

Applications are also open to other UN, government and multilateral entities, who have the skills and expertise in developing similar initiatives. 

Target Countries
The applicant can be based anywhere globally, however the Women Enterprise Impact Fund must invest in women enterprises in one or all of the below target countries:
  • Pacific: Fiji, Samoa,
  • South Asia: Bangladesh, Nepal
  • South-East Asia: Cambodia, Viet Nam
It is highly desired that applicants strive to launch the fund in all 6 of the target countries, or in target countries covering all 3 regions.

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