FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO THIRD PARTIES: START-UP SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP GRANT CALL

CALL 4: START-UP SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP GRANT


This Start-up social entrepreneurship grant call (hereinafter referred to as Start-up SEG) launched by the Bridge for CSOs Programme implemented by Armenian General Benevolent Union in partnership with Eurasia Partnership Foundation and funded by the European Union. The global objective of the action is to strengthen and build the capacity of Armenian civil society to effectively contribute to decision making processes in Armenia. The specific objective is to improve organisational capacities of CSOs to better respond to citizen’s needs.

WHAT IS THE BRIDGE for CSOs PROGRAMME PURPOSE?


To better serve citizens, Armenian CSOs need to overcome various challenges in terms of their professional/technical expertise, internal governance and financial sustainability. The programme interventions will help to improve quality of services, increase financial sustainability and public trust of Armenian CSOs. Organisational Needs Assessment conducted in the frames of Bridge for CSOs Programme has revealed willingness of CSOs for organisational theory of change and need to improve their capacities in working with public, information technologies, social entrepreneurship, service provision, etc. To address these needs and further contribute to the sustainable development of the CSO sector, Bridge for CSOs Programme will organize trainings and consultations, support CSO visibility activities, engage Diaspora professionals to provide thematic support, as well as provide small grants to improve services to beneficiaries and financial diversification through establishment or expansion of social enterprises.

WHY START-UP SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP GRANT?


The purpose of Start-up SEG is to improve financial sustainability of Armenian CSOs through supporting newly established or emerging social enterprises for alternative income generation and greater social impact. Funding diversification will decrease donor dependence and allow CSO to provide sustainable and better-quality services to their beneficiaries. In addition, implementation of Start-up SEG will allow organisations to gain hands on experience and knowledge of managing such enterprises. Special mentors (local or Diaspora-based) assigned to each grantee will help to achieve this objective. Lastly, Start-up SEG can help CSOs to utilise new opportunities of direct entrepreneurship provided by RA Law on Public Organisations for funding diversification and social impact. Start-up SEG is designed to support financial diversification efforts of new or nascent CSOs, as well as non-registered initiatives or groups (with significant track record) to achieve greater social impact and diversify their funding base irrespective of the sector of intervention. Therefore, project activities of the Start-up SEG should be defined by the applicant CSOs based on identified needs of their target groups.

WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR?


We are looking for CSOs or non-registered initiative groups that serve the public good, are responsive to the needs of people and communities, address the need of vulnerable population, reduce inequalities and promote social inclusion, encourage volunteerism and mobilization, tolerance and peaceful coexistence, ensure sustainable model and community participation through empowering youth, engaging women and girls. There are no restrictions in terms of sectors of project implementation, but at least half of the grants supported shall be implemented outside of Yerevan. All projects must be implemented in Armenia. While the Start-up SEG does not discriminate proposals on a geographical basis within Armenia, a balance among awarded beneficiaries is pursued to cover different regions. Please consider, that re-granting to other parties within this grant call is not acceptable. Organizations or informal groups that do not have current activities or a track record of completed activities (programs or services to their beneficiaries to advance their mission) and only have an idea for a project will be considered but will NOT be given preference.

WHO ARE WE LOOKING FOR?


The call is open to CSOs* and initiative groups with no mandatory legal registration**. It is important to note that initiative groups should also have track record of implementing projects and carrying out certain initiatives in order to be eligible for this grant call. Initiative groups that do not have significant track record and experience in dealing with the proposed idea/project should not apply as these projects will not be considered for funding.

We also look for original and creative partnerships - and particularly those, which bring people from different organisations, sectors, backgrounds and communities together, and which show the power of collaboration and teamwork. We are also interested to hear from organisations who have never received a grant of this kind before or currently are not involved in managing EU grants. Those organisations that have difficulty accessing funding or have previously been rejected to receive funding due to organisational capacities but have good ideas are encouraged to apply.

WHAT DO WE OFFER?


Bridge for CSOs Programme will support 8-14 grant projects with funding ranging from AMD 3,000,000 to AMD 9,000,000. Organisations with little grant management experience are encouraged to apply for minimal funding. Projects should be designed to run up to 12 (twelve) months. All projects should be finalised before September 2019.
Applicants are required to provide own contribution (both monetary and non-monetary is acceptable) in the amount of at least 5% of the total requested funding. Proposals not meeting the match funding requirement will not be considered.
In addition to financial support, selected project teams will have access to Organisational Capacity Building Assistance. From the first day of programme implementation, each of the sub grantees will be granted support and guidance of hand-picked diaspora mentors from selected fields. In addition, sub grantees will have opportunities to participate in the Non-profit management certificate program implemented by the American University of Armenia, various capacity building trainings to address the capacity gaps and needs required for smooth implementation of the selected projects.

HOW TO APPLY?


Applying for Start-up SEG is a three-stage process.
Stage 1: As a first step, applicants will be invited to submit ideas, summarizing problem statement and overall project objectives and outcomes, reflecting on the social impact and innovation that the project offers. Initiative groups will also be required to provide brief description of previous experience.
Stage 2: Up to 30 pre-selected applicants will be invited to participate in the Business Plan Development and Idea Validation training. This training will enable the applicants to develop business plans and learn the key cycles in business management. Upon successful completion of the training course, applicants will be invited to submit full proposals (business plans). Guidance and explanations on submitting the full proposal will be provided during the training.
Stage 3:
The preselected applicants will be invited to develop and submit full proposals. After submitting the proposals, individual meetings will be scheduled with each applicant to pitch their ideas to the Selection Committee.

APPLY TO START-UP SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP GRANT


Think you are a match? Then fill in our Idea Competition Template HERE
Applications must be submitted online, in English or Armenian. Each applicant is only permitted to submit one application. The deadline for submission of ideas is 14:00, 29 June, 2018. Application portal will close after this deadline.

Please, follow social media pages of Bridge for CSOs, Armenian General Benevolent Union and Eurasia Partnership Foundation to be informed about the upcoming orientation sessions in Yerevan and the regions.

SELECTION PROCESS


Final selection of the sub grant recipients is done by the selection committee comprised from 5-7 experienced professionals from various relevant sectors (including the non-profit sector, business sector, legal, etc.) covering various fields of expertise. Selection Committee members review and score the applications by using the 0-4 scale, where:

0- not meeting requirements
1- poor
2- satisfactory
3- good
4- outstanding

Proposed ideas in the first stage of selection process will be evaluated based on the following criteria. Please, note that equal weight is given to all the four criteria. The quality and sustainability of the business model will be an important selection criterion. 

 Evaluation Criteria for Idea Selection  Maximum Score
 1. Problem statement
How well is the problem framed (based on statistics, other evidence and factual arguments)? 
 4
 2. Project description
How feasible is the implementation of the business idea? How interconnected is the proposed solution of the business idea with the identified problem?
 4
 3. Innovation
To what extent is the proposed business idea ensuring innovative approach of solving respective problem in the community?
 4
 4. Social impact
To what extent is the proposed business idea ensuring social impact in the community?
 4
 5. Risks management
How well are the potential hindrances taken into account?
 4
 6. Sustainability
How sustainable are the expected results of the proposed action?
 4
 7. Profits
To what extent will the expected profits address the financial sustainability of the organisation? 
 4
 Maximum Total Score                

Evaluation criteria of the full proposals will be provided to the shortlisted candidates before submitting the full proposal.

Important Note:Evaluation criteria of the full proposals will be provided to the shortlisted candidates before submitting the full proposal.

Selection Committee Members have the task to identify the best proposals based on the criteria provided above. No committee member has the task to provide individual consultancy to the applicants regarding the received scores, reasons for rejection or ways to improve project proposals for future funding opportunities.

! Bridge for CSOs team is not involved in the evaluation and selection process of the proposals and cannot provide any feedback regarding the selection outcome.

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* Civil Society Organisation includes non-governmental non-profit organisations and independent foundations, think tanks and networks at local and national level

** Initiative group will be required to register a formal CSO upon successful selection of the proposed project

   
 
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