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 (including IDB Invest), the Islamic Development Bank, and the World Bank Group (World Bank and IFC). We-Fi nor its accredited partners are able to directly receive applications from businesses, non-profits, or other organizations at this time.

We-Fi has approved financing for programs through two allocation rounds; one in April 2018 for $120 million and one in April 2019 for $129 million. A third call for proposals is likely to be announced before the end of 2019.

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 address barriers to financial access; provide complementary services such as capacity building, access to networks and mentors, and opportunities to link with domestic and global markets; and include 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.

Funding Principles

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.

Country Eligibility

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 (including IDB Invest), the Islamic Development Bank Group, and the World Bank Group (the World Bank and International Finance Corporation).

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.