Tour kicks off second phase of successful initiative designed to create entrepreneurial solutions to economic and social challenges
Submitted by: Western Union
Posted: Nov 22, 2011 – 11:12 AM EST
The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) a leader in global payment services, the Western Union Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) today launched the second African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM), an initiative which encourages sustainable economic growth and employment by supporting U.S.-based African diaspora entrepreneurs with ideas for start-up and established businesses in sub-Saharan Africa.
ADM II is launching with a small business workshop tour kicking off November 30 in Atlanta, followed by stops in Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia, before ending in Washington, DC on December 16.
The second phase of ADM will incorporate key lessons from the first African Diaspora Marketplace, targeting grants toward high priority, high-impact sectors in Africa, including agribusiness, renewable energy, and information and communication technology (ICT).
To expand upon previous successes, Western Union and USAID are inviting small business investment funds and technical assistance mentors to participate in the effort to engage diaspora entrepreneurs. 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. In 2010, the African Diaspora Marketplace awarded more than a dozen matching grants of $100,000 each to winning business entries in seven countries.
“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.”
“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.”
George Washington University’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) will provide research expertise and also evaluate the initial phase of business proposals.
Proposals, to be submitted by February 3, 2012, will be implemented in the following participating countries including Angola, Benin, Cote D’Ivoire, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
The number of grants awarded will be determined based on grant pool and program need, and is likely to be in the range of 15 to 30 businesses. The matching grant size is expected to be up to US $50,000, with an additional supplement of US $25,000-$50,000 in technical assistance.
Last year’s ADM grantees have been at the forefront of innovative business enterprises, including the first mobile anti-counterfeiting service for pharmaceutical drugs in Nigeria, the first launched 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 connecting local economies in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
Western Union is committed to positive social impact through reliable products, responsible operations and innovative community programs such as the African Diaspora Marketplace.
Information about the ADM and past winners, and the schedule for the small business workshops in the seven cities, can be found at www.diasporamarketplace.org.
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of September 30, 2011, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of approximately 485,000 Agent locations in 200 countries and territories. In 2010, The Western Union Company completed 214 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $76 billion of principal between consumers, and 405 million business payments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.
About the Western Union Foundation
Through Western Union's Our World, Our Family® signature program, the Western Union Foundation supports initiatives to empower people through access to economic opportunity. Recognized by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy in 2009, the program is a five-year, $50 million commitment reflecting efforts made by Western Union employees, Agents and partners around the world. Since 2001, the Western Union Foundation has awarded more than $73.4 million in grants to more than 2010 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in 104 countries and territories. To learn more, visit http://foundation.westernunion.com.
USAID is the lead government agency providing development and humanitarian assistance to people around the world. The agency's Global Development Alliance (GDA) links U.S. foreign assistance with the resources, expertise and creativity of the private sector as well as nongovernmental organizations. Since its launch in 2001, the Global Development Alliance has changed the way U.S. international development projects are financed and implemented. By cultivating more than 900 public-private alliances with over 1,700 individual partners, it has allowed USAID to leverage an additional $9.6 billion in resources for development. For more information about USAID and its programs around the world, visit www.usaid.gov. For more information on Global Development Alliances, visit www.usaid.gov/gda/index.html.
About The Tony Elumelu Foundation
The Tony Elumelu Foundation is an Africa-based and African-funded not-for-profit institution dedicated to the promotion and celebration of excellence in business leadership and entrepreneurship across Africa. As a 21st century catalytic philanthropy, the Foundation is committed to the economic transformation of Africa by enhancing the competitiveness and growth of the African private sector. Founded in 2010 by Tony O. Elumelu, MFR, the Foundation identifies and addresses systemic challenges that inhibit African entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.tonyelumelufoundation.org.