Please note that We-Fi is designed to accept funding proposals only from accredited implementing partners, currently consisting of the following multilateral development banks (MDBs): the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank, IDB Invest, the International Finance Corporation, the Islamic Development Bank, and the World Bank (the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association. The information on this page is to assist these MDBs with their funding applications. Neither We-Fi nor its accredited partners are able to receive applications from businesses, non-profits, or other organizations at this time.
We-Fi’s second call for proposals closed on February 4, 2019. A third call for proposals is anticipated and will be announced in due course.
We-Fi aims to address financial and non-financial constraints faced by women-owned/led small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries.
We-Fi funding is mobilizing billions of dollars in additional financing from commercial and international financial institutions to provide women entrepreneurs with access to debt, equity, venture capital, insurance products, capacity building, networks and mentors, opportunities to link with domestic and global markets, and for governments to improve the business environment for women-owned/led SMEs. We-Fi has a strategic goal of allocating 50 percent of its resources to activities in IDA countries and/or fragile and conflict affected countries/territories.
Types of Activities
Under the first and second rounds of funding, We-Fi sought proposals that demonstrated comprehensive and strategic approaches to supporting the growth and impact of women’s entrepreneurship. We-Fi is a platform to align country-level reforms and private investment, build on and implement lessons learned about what works for starting and growing women owned/led firms, collect key data from the public and private sectors on women entrepreneurs and their firms, and support innovation and learning for scaling results. Successful proposals for We-Fi funding have addressed barriers to financial access; provided complementary services such as capacity building, access to networks and mentors, and opportunities to link with domestic and global markets; and have included activities to improve the business environment for women-owned or women-led SMEs in supply chains across the developing world. Special consideration has been given to proposals that have focused on women entrepreneurs operating in rural settings.
We-Fi’s portfolio of programs and projects demonstrate:
mobilization of significant additional funding from other sources;
a focus on low-income countries, IDA and/or fragile and conflict-affected countries/territories, and/or underserved women entrepreneurs in middle-income countries;
effective use of grant financing or blended finance;
complementarity between public and private sector activities and coordination with existing or planned activities of other development partners or initiatives;
partnerships with organizations that have a strong track record for developing innovative approaches and delivering results.
We-Fi finances programs or projects in countries and territories that are eligible for Official Development Assistance (ODA) and also eligible to receive funding from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and/or the International Development Association (IDA), including through trust funds administered by the World Bank. Please refer to the full list of eligible countries. Special consideration has been given to funding proposals with activities in G-20 Compact Countries within Africa.
Implementing Partner Eligibility
The following accredited multilateral development banks (MDBs) were eligible to apply for We-Fi funding under the first and second calls for proposals: the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank, IDB Invest, the International Finance Corporation, the Islamic Development Bank Group, and the World Bank (the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association).
MDBs are encouraged to partner with UN agencies, international financial institutions, civil society organizations, the private sector, business groups, and other entities currently working at the country or regional level.
Calls for Proposals
We-Fi opened for business and announced its first call for proposals on October 12, 2018. The first round of funding was allocated on April 19, 2018, with $120 million for projects implemented by the Islamic Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the World Bank Group.
We-Fi issued its second call for proposals on October 12, 2018, which closed to application on February 4, 2019. Funding decisions will be announced shortly. A third call for proposals is anticipated and will be announced in due course. For more information on activities funded under We-Fi’s first round, please refer to the Programs & Projects page.