United States Agency for International Development
March 4, 2022
The African Small Business Catalyst, a collaboration within the U.S. government, is open for applications from innovative small businesses focused on development in select countries in Africa
WASHINGTON – U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) today jointly announced the launch of the African Small Business Catalyst (ASBC), a business accelerator for early growth-stage small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in sub-Saharan Africa. ASBC seeks to support SMEs in these countries focused in key sectors including agriculture and food security, education, healthcare, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). Special consideration will be given for companies that also tackle the climate crisis and address gender equity considerations through their work. During its first year, ASBC will accept applications from four eligible countries: Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Senegal, and Uganda.
“The African Small Business Catalyst is a landmark U.S. government collaboration designed to bring together DFC’s and USADF’s unique and complementary investment tools to boost private sector-led development in sub-Saharan Africa,” said DFC CEO Scott Nathan. “By partnering with USADF, DFC will be able to reach smaller companies in an earlier stage, accelerating development in industries key to Africa’s overall economic growth.”
“USADF has a growing list of partners such as the DFC that are expanding our resources and results in strengthening African SMEs and improving the availability and affordability of the financing they need to scale and make greater impact in their communities,” said USADF President and CEO Travis Adkins. “We’re excited to serve as the DFC’s preferred partner on the African Small Business Catalyst and to employ USADF’s tried and tested model of localized, African-led development that grows incomes, employment opportunities, and African SMEs into future trading partners for the United States and engines of economic growth for their nations.”
ASBC seeks to provide loans in amounts ranging from $100,000 to $1 million complemented by both technical assistance and grants up to $100,000. The grants, mentoring, training, and technical assistance available to clients will help companies develop their business models, build up management skills, expand market reach, and deepen their impact among underserved populations. Interested, qualified businesses are encouraged to apply through the ASBC application portal between March 4 and April 15, 2022.
The launch of ASBC was marked by a virtual signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between DFC CEO Nathan and USADF President and CEO Adkins. The MOU details the roles and responsibilities of the two agencies, sets this innovative collaboration up for success, and creates a new model for U.S. interagency cooperation in support of American development finance goals. ASBC also advances the Prosper Africa initiative to increase two-way trade and investment between African countries and the United States.1141