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November 17, 2023

Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE2024)


Funding Opportunity Title:        U.S. Embassy Baku PAS Notice of Funding Opportunity

Deadline for Applications:          December 19, 2023

CFDA Number:                            19.022 — Educational and Cultural Exchange Programs      Appropriation Overseas Awards

Total Amount Available:             $40,000


Program Performance Period:   Proposed programs should be completed in 12 months or less.


The US Embassy in Azerbaijan is pleased to announce the call for FY2024 proposals to implement the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) program in Azerbaijan in 2024.


Alumni interested in submitting applications should read this notice in its entirety and submit all required documents to BakuPASAlumni@state.gov by December 19, 2023, 23:59 (Baku time).


AWE is a global competition that provides selected alumni with resources to promote women’s social and economic empowerment.  By ensuring that women have the skills, capabilities, and resources to fully participate in the economy, AWE directly supports the National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality.  


The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) established AWE in 2019 to provide women with the knowledge, networks, and access to launch or scale successful businesses.  Cohorts of approximately 30 women meet online and in-person to learn core business skills such as strategic planning, marketing, and finance, then discuss the material with local facilitators, business leaders, and U.S. exchange alumni mentors.  


Through its partnership with Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School for Global Management and the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation, AWE utilizes no-cost, online learning platforms.  Used by AWE since 2019, DreamBuilder teaches participants the fundamentals of starting or growing a small business from a U.S. perspective, offering modules on marketing, pricing, and bookkeeping, and includes a built-in business plan generator.  It is available only in English and Spanish, though selected applicants may conduct mentoring and facilitation in local languages.  This year, selected applicants may also use a new online curriculum, in whole or in part – the Najafi 100 Million Learners Global Initiative – alongside or instead of DreamBuilder. 100 Million Learners is currently offered in 20 languages and will add up to 20 more in the future.  Proposals to establish new AWE cohorts must use either DreamBuilder or 100 Million Learners for their curriculum.


Eligibility and Proposal Requirements: 

Special consideration will be given to proposals that:

          have an active involvement of alumni of U.S. exchange programs and demonstrate strong engagement of alumni in AWE program design;

          focus on the participation of disadvantaged or marginalized persons or communities;

          are willing to collaborate with private and public-sector partners on cost-sharing arrangements;

          commit to begin programming by June 1, 2023.

The intended beneficiaries are women from regions, with a minimum intermediate knowledge of English, and the capital looking for ways to improve their economic opportunities as entrepreneurs or finding quality jobs through building skills, knowledge, and networks. Selected candidates must be available for both online and in-person programming.

Program Format:

The program is held for 2-4 months (on average).  Cohorts of approximately 30 women meet online and in-person to learn core business skills such as strategic planning, marketing, and finance, then discuss the material with local facilitators, business leaders, and U.S.exchange alumni mentors. (Note: DreamBuilder is available only in English and Spanish, although the implementing team may conduct mentoring and facilitation in local languages.)

The Embassy will accept proposals to support the implementation of AWE to strengthen business skills among women entrepreneurs and stimulate greater alumni engagement.


Proposals should generally be no more than six (6) pages in length and include requests for up to $40,000 that support initiatives such as opening new AWE cohorts, offering follow-on entrepreneurship programming to AWE alumni, and conducting AWE alumni engagement activities.  All proposals must carefully and clearly justify the budget amounts requested;


To maximize budgets, applicants are also encouraged to seek cost-share and in-kind support for AWE from local organizations, host government partners, and private sector businesses.  


Proposal Submission:  Applicants must submit completed proposals including the budget line items tab and budget narrative tab via the FY24 application templates.  


Application Deadline:  The deadline is December 19, 2023, for all applicants seeking to implement an AWE program. Late proposals will not be accepted.  Pending the availability of funds, the U.S. Embassy in Baku intends to announce approved proposals in April 2024.


Review Process:  In coordination with regional bureau PD offices, the AWE team will use the AWE scoring criteria as listed below:

  •         Executive Summary (an Executive Summary is required but will not be given a numeric score);
  •         Strength and feasibility of program design (20 points);
  •         Degree of ECA exchange alumni engagement in AWE programming (20 points);
  •         Strength of communication, media, and outreach plans (20 points);
  •         Structure of monitoring and evaluation strategy (20 points); and,
  •         Budget feasibility and budget narrative (20 points)


The highest scoring proposals will be recommended for ECA funding, funds permitting.


Info Session and Follow-Up:  The U.S.Embassy Baku will host a Q&A session in mid November to discuss the FY24 application process, program components including the differences between DreamBuilder and 100 Million Learners, and fund-raising.

Virtual Info Session (Teams): November 22, 2023, at 11:00

Click here to join the meeting

Meeting ID: 231 522 510 746

Passcode: grQ8Y7


Application Closing Date:

Deadline: December 19, 2024 23:59

Competition results announcement: April 2024

AWE implementation start date: the earliest by June 1, 2024


Content of Application

Please ensure:

  • 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 Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins.

The following documents are required:

(available from BakuPASAlumni@state.gov)


    1. Proposal (6 pages maximum) (word): The proposal should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what the applicant proposes to do. 
    2. Budget form (excel): Each budget item, should have a budget narrative
  • Federal forms:

SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations)or SF-424-I (Application for Federal Assistance –individuals)

SF424A(Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)

SF424B (Assurances-Non-Construction Companies)

  • Attachments:
  • 1-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the program
  • Letters of support from program partners describing the roles and responsibilities of each partner
  • If your organization has a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a PDF file.
  • Official permission letters, if required for program activities



Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov) (NOTE: This section is required and not optional, except for NOFOs targeting applications from individuals instead of organizations)


If you are interested in applying to the AWE2023, please request a proposal, budget template and relevant Federal forms from BakuPASalumni@state.gov


Applications should be emailed to BakuPASalumni@state.gov until December 19, 2023, by 23:59.  Please be sure to send all attachments in one email message and include your first name, last name, and program name in the subject line of the email. 



  1. Required Registrations:

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 Homepage:


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 U.S. Embassy Officer before the application can be deemed eligible for review.


NOTE:  SAM.gov is not a State Department website and the U.S. Embassy Baku is not involved in its operations. Please forward all questions related to registration process to the SAM.gov helpdesk.


  1. Submission Dates and Times


Applications are due by December 19, 2023, 5:00 p.m. Baku time.


  1. Other Submission Requirements


All application materials must be submitted by email to BakuPASAlumni@state.gov.





The recipient may only start incurring program expenses beginning on the start date shown on the award document signed by the U.S. Embassy 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.




If you have any questions about the award application process, please contact: BakuPASAlumni@state.gov.



Guidelines for Budget Justification


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.  If your organization has a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate (NICRA) and includes NICRA charges in the budget, attach a copy of your latest NICRA. Organizations that have never had a NICRA may request indirect costs of 10% of the modified total direct costs as defined in 2 CFR 200.68.

“Cost Sharing” refers to contributions from the organization or other entities other than the U.S. Embassy.   It also includes in-kind contributions such as volunteers’ time and donated venues.

Alcoholic Beverages:  Please note that award funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.