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Notification of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)- Empowering Saudi Women through Entrepreneurship
February 25, 2021


Notification of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)


Empowering Saudi Women through Entrepreneurship


Announcement Type:                        Grant

Funding opportunity number:          SAU-JED-2021-1

Closing Date and Time for Submission of Application:               April 30, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. (Jeddah time)

Eligibility Category:                            Western Saudi-based civil-society organizations, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions or similar U.S.-based organizations with a partner organization based in Western Saudi Arabia.

Award Ceiling:                                    U.S. $125,000

Award Floor:                                       U.S. $25,000

Electronic Requirement:                    Proposals must be submitted by email to the email   address listed below.

Announcement Type:                        New Announcement

Federal Agency Contact:                   Dale Lawton, Grants Officer

Email:                                                  PASJeddah@state.gov  

  1. Funding Opportunity Description

The U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce that limited funding is available through the Consulate’s Public Affairs grants program to support activities that promote U.S.-Saudi bilateral relations in the following priority area:

  • Empowering women in Western Saudi Arabia through entrepreneurship.

This is a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) outlining our funding priorities, the strategic themes we focus on, and the procedures for submitting requests for funding.

Please follow all instructions below carefully:

Eligibility is limited to those who qualify to receive U.S. grants and have the ability to develop and implement their proposed programs in western Saudi Arabia within the timeframe indicated on their applications. The U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah and the Department of State encourage organizations that have not previously received international program funding from the U.S. government to apply. Applicants must have demonstrated expertise in one or more of the following subject areas: business or academic programming, startup organizations and accelerators, organization of entrepreneurship training, and institution-to-institution partnerships.

      2.        Purpose of Grant

The U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah requests proposals for projects aimed at empowering women in Western Saudi Arabia through entrepreneurship. While a wide range of project proposals will be considered, successful projects will incorporate many of the following elements:

  • A clearly defined project objective, with specific supporting goals and quantifiable project milestones.
  • A focus on entrepreneurship/accelerator programming that complements, rather than competes with, programs already active in Western Saudi Arabia by reaching currently underserved populations, working in areas where little training is currently offered, or addressing important topics underrepresented in current programs. For example, priority will be given to proposals that include participants from outside of major cities like Jeddah, Medina, and Mecca and/or that focus on fields such as (but not limited to) logistics, construction and real estate, technology, the culinary arts, and entertainment, where Saudi women are traditionally underrepresented.
  • The creation, strengthening, or expansion of a women’s entrepreneurship network that encourages and facilitates the transfer of skills and sharing of resources between members.
  • A mentorship program that aims to accelerate initial success in women-owned Saudi businesses by pairing them with related, successful businesses in the United States in an organized and sustainable fashion.
  • A sustainable strategic plan to provide program participants with knowledge or skills of lasting value and application beyond the term of the project.
  • Use of traditional and innovative educational programs and networking tools in the pursuit of broader goals such as empowering women, economic development, job creation, understanding the value of diversity, business development, acquisition of leadership skills, etc.
  • An integrated project messaging/media plan designed to amplify the reach of key program messages to Saudi participants who do not participate in the program.
  • An innovative approach that highlights American expertise or U.S.-Saudi partnerships and creates/strengthens networks between Americans and Saudis.

All project proposals must carefully follow the instructions in the following sections.                        

  • Award Information

The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah reserves the right to determine award amounts for the projects described in the proposals based on the Consulate’s determination of the best interest of the U.S. government.

Eligible organizations interested in submitting a project proposal are encouraged to thoroughly read this Notification of Funding Opportunity to understand the type of project of interest, the proposal submission requirements, and the evaluation process.

The U.S. government may make the award on the basis of initial applications received. Therefore, each initial application should contain the applicant’s best terms from a cost and technical standpoint. The U.S. government reserves the right, however, to enter into discussions with one or more applicants in order to obtain clarifications, additional detail, or refinements in the program description, budget, or other aspects of a proposal.

3.        Eligibility Information:

The U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah Public Affairs Section (PAS) encourages proposals from registered not-for-profit Western Saudi-based civil-society organizations, including think tanks, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions or similar U.S.-based organizations with a partner organization based in Western Saudi Arabia with programming experience.

To be eligible for a federal assistance award, in addition to other conditions of this request for proposals, organizations must have a commitment to non-discrimination with respect to beneficiaries and adherence to equal opportunity employment practices. Non-discrimination includes equal treatment without regard to race, religion, ethnicity, gender and political affiliation.  By law, commercial firms are ineligible to receive funding through this award mechanism.

For-profit and/or commercial entities are not eligible to apply.  

Cost Sharing or Matching:

  1. Cost Sharing or Matching – There is no minimum or maximum percentage required for this competition. However, PAS Jeddah encourage applicants to provide maximum levels of cost sharing or in-kind funding in support of its programs.

When cost sharing is offered, it is understood and agreed that the applicant must provide the amount of cost sharing as stipulated in its proposal and later included in an approved agreement.  Cost sharing may be in the form of allowable direct or indirect costs.  For accountability, the Recipient must maintain written records to support all costs which are claimed as the Recipient’s contribution, as well as costs to be paid by the Federal government.  Such records are subject to audit.

The basis for determining the value of cash and in-kind contributions must be in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget Circular 2 CFR Pars 200 and 600 entitled the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.  In the event the Recipient does not provide the amount of cost sharing as stipulated in the approved budget, PAS Jeddah contribution will be reduced in like proportion.

  1. Other Eligibility Requirements

Applicants are only allowed to submit one proposal per organization. If more than one proposal is submitted from an organization, all proposals from that institution will be considered ineligible for funding.

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet, as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Please see Section VIII “Award Administration” for information on how to obtain these registrations.  Individuals are not required to have a DUNS number or be registered in SAM.gov.

4.        Proposal Submission 

How to Apply

Proposals will be accepted until April 30, 2021, at 5:00 pm Jeddah time. Please submit proposals 3-6 months before the beginning of project activities. All applicants are typically contacted 2-4 weeks after their proposal submission and are informed whether or not their proposal was selected for further review.

Proposals should follow the guidelines described in Section VI Proposal Documents.

Proposals should be submitted online to the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah at the following email address:  PASJeddah@state.gov.  Applications must be submitted in English, and final grant agreements will be concluded in English. Applicants will receive a confirmation e-mail from the Consulate to indicate that we have received your proposal.

5.         Proposal Documents

In the proposal, applicants must submit a full project description in accordance with the following instructions and the specified evaluation criteria.  The instructions give a broad overview of what the project description should include, while the evaluation criteria provide details of more program-specific information needed. Cover Sheet:  Please provide a brief summary of the project with reference to the amount, duration of the funding request, and the number of beneficiaries. Narrative:  In the narrative section of the proposal, outline a plan of action that describes the scope and detail of how the proposed work will be accomplished.  Account for all activities for which you are seeking funding and a general timeline for each phase (ex: two weeks from notification, after six months, etc.). If appropriate, cite factors that might accelerate or decelerate the work and state reasons for taking the proposed approach rather than alternatives.  Note if an urgency exists and why, citing relevant commemorative events or dates. Describe any unusual features of the project, such as design or technological innovations, reductions in cost or time, or extraordinary social and community involvement. Provide projections of overall accomplishments to be achieved as well as important project milestones and/or activities.  In addition to basic information about expected outputs for each activity or function (i.e. number of people trained, the quantity of a publication to be produced), please also describe expected outcomes for the overall project, as well as for primary activities or functions, showing how each relates to overall project goals.  Outcomes should be described in terms of expected changes in the participants because of the program (for example, an increase in knowledge, skill, or awareness, or a change in behavior or practice) and should include a brief discussion of how change in key indicators will be measured and reported.       List organizations, cooperating entities, consultants, or other key individuals who will work on the project, along with a short description of the nature of their effort or contribution. Note the extent to which those listed were involved in creation of the proposal.

Applicants must complete and submit a detailed line-item budget noting any cost-share by non-U.S. Consulate General partners and a corresponding narrative explanation for each line item.

Grant funds generally may not be used for the following:

  • Long-term infrastructure needs and construction projects.
  • Materials and equipment (unless purchased for the purpose of providing training to the participants and contingent on a maintenance plan)
  • Expenses incurred outside of the territory of Saudi Arabia, such as travel to international conferences, or the purchase of goods or payment of services in other countries.
  • Provision of direct social services to a population (i.e. food or housing assistance, etc.)
  • Partisan political activity (Note: non-partisan election education and public information activities are allowable.)
  • Funding of charitable activity and humanitarian aid, commercial projects, or fund-raising campaigns
  • Individual scholarships
  • Personal development
  • Programs that support specific religious activities
  • Salaries
  • For profit endeavors
  • Programs intended primarily for the growth or institutional development of the organization

Completeness of Proposal:  Proposals should include all of the information requested in the application guidelines. Proposals will not be considered until all information is received in electronic form.  Budget numbers must be provided in U.S. dollars. Questions should be addressed to PASJeddah@state.gov.

Technical Format Requirements: All pages must be numbered including budgets and attachments. All documents are formatted to 8.5 x 11 paper and all Microsoft Word documents, 12-point Times New Roman font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins. Proposals should be kept to a maximum of 10 pages. Curriculum vitae (CVs) of the principles submitting the proposal should be included and photos, if appropriate.

6.             Review and Selection Process

Each application submitted under this announcement will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the following evaluation criteria. The criteria are designed to assess the quality of the proposed project, and to determine the likelihood of its success.  The criteria are closely related and are considered as a whole in judging the overall quality of an application.  Points are awarded only to applications that are responsive within the context of this program announcement.

Proposal Evaluation Criteria:

Goals and Objectives – The project is likely to provide maximum impact meeting the proposed overall objective of developing leadership potential among Saudi women through educational and networking programs.  Applicant demonstrates he/she is able to measure program success against key indicators and provide timely milestones to indicate progress toward U.S. Consulate General goals.  (30 points)

Strengths and Innovation – Applicant clearly describes how his/her proposal will address the requested program within the proposed time frame and articulates an innovative strategy or plan.  The project builds leadership and capacity and demonstrates sustainability beyond the term of the project.  (25 points)

Organizational Capacity – The organization has expertise in one or more of U.S. Consulate General Jeddah’s thematic priorities and demonstrates the ability to perform the proposed activities.  Where partners are described, the applicant details each partner’s respective role and provides curriculum vitae for persons responsible for the project and financial administration.  Each key person responsible for the proposed project and its financial administration is listed and CVs for these persons are provided.  (25 points)

Budget and Budget Justification – The budget and narrative justification are reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results, and the plan for services is realistic and allowable. (20 points)

Personnel: 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. 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 and administration 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: 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.

Risk Analysis –  All programs inherently contain both internal and external risks. However, with proper identification and management, risks can be prepared for, minimized or mitigated. The purpose of a risk analysis is to identify the internal and external risks associated with the proposed program in the application, rate the likelihood of the risks, rate the potential impact of the risks on the program, and identify actions that could help mitigate the risks. Applicants should include all assumptions and external factors identified in the logic model in the risk analysis. Applicants should rate the likelihood of a risk and potential impact of the risk as “High,” “Medium,” or “Low.” Note: PAS Jeddah require organizations to conduct adequate risk analysis and remediation throughout the life of a program and provide revisions to risk analysis documents and processes as necessary.

Review and Selection Process

A Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications.


For any Federal award under a notice of funding opportunity, if the Federal awarding agency anticipates that the total Federal share will be greater than the simplified acquisition threshold on any Federal award under a notice of funding opportunity may include, over the period of performance (see §200.88 Simplified Acquisition Threshold), this section must also inform applicants:

  1. That the Federal awarding agency, prior to making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share greater than the simplified acquisition threshold, is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS -CPARS) (see 41 U.S.C. 2313);
  2. That an applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered and is currently in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM;

iii. That the Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in §200.205 Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.

7.       Award Administration

Award Notices:  A U.S. government Grants Officer will award, sign, and administer the grant award or cooperative agreement. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document, and it will be provided to the recipient for review and signature by email. The recipient may only start incurring program expenses beginning on the start date shown on the grant award document signed by the Grants Officer. No actions or costs can be incurred before the grant is approved and signed by the Grants 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.

Anticipated Time to Award:  Within four to six weeks after submission of a proposal, applicants should expect to be notified whether their proposal will proceed beyond the initial review stage.

Reporting Requirements:  All awards issued under this announcement will require both program and financial reports on a frequency specified in the award agreement.  A final grant report and budget/accounting in English is due 90 days after completion of the award end date. All other details related to award administration will be specified in the award agreement.

Payment Method: Payments will be made in at least two installments, as needed to carry out the program activities.

Upon Selection of Your Proposal

If your project is selected, to receive your award funds, your organization must:

  • Have a DUNS Number and SAM Registration: Applicants must have a Dun & Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, a NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) code, and be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) prior to submitting full applications. It is mandatory for applicants to have a DUNS and SAM.gov registration unless they meet one of the exemptions specified in the Federal Assistance Directive (http://a.m.state.sbu/sites/OPE/FA/SitePages/Policy.aspx). The DUNS/NCAGE/SAM.gov process can take weeks/months, especially for non-U.S. applicants. Applicants may acquire DUNs numbers at no cost by calling the dedicated tollfree DUNs number request line at 1-866-705-5711 or by requesting a number online at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform. Non-U.S. based applicants may request a NCAGE code at https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx. SAM is the official, free on-line registration database for the U.S. government. SAM.gov replaced the Central Contractor Registration (CCR), the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA), and the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) in July 2012. SAM.gov collects, validates, stores, and disseminates data in support of federal agency acquisition and grant award mission. Registration in SAM is free: http://sam.gov.


  • Complete form SF-424 Application for Federal Assistance (to be provided).


Upon Receipt of a Federal Assistance Award


Recipients of a U.S. Consulate General Public Affairs grant are required to submit a final certified Federal Financial Report (SF-425) and a Narrative Report (SF-PPR) within 90 calendar days of the end of the period of performance delineated in the award. Some grants may also require quarterly reports. Grantees will be informed of their reporting responsibilities upon the grant award. Failure to comply with the reporting requirements may jeopardize eligibility for future awards or will result in suspension of any future payments under this award until such time as this deficiency has been corrected. The required forms include:

  • Project basics, including title, project dates, and focus area.
  • Narrative Report SF-PPR
  • Federal Financial Report SF-425 [PDF, 575 kB]
  • Instructions for the Federal Financial Report [PDF, 160 kB]
  • Request for Advance or Reimbursement SF-270 [PDF, 192KB]

Terms and Conditions: Before submitting an application, applicants should review all the terms and conditions and required certifications that will apply to this award, to ensure that they will be able to comply. These include: 2 CFR 200, 2 CFR 600, Certifications and Assurances, and the Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions, all of which are available at: https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/U.S.-Department-of-State-Standard-Terms-and-Conditions-10-21-2020-508.pdf.  Note the U.S Flag branding and marking requirements in the Standard Terms and Conditions.

Reporting Requirements: Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and program reports. The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted.


Explanatory information provided by the PAS Jeddah that contradicts published language is not binding. Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. Government. The PAS Jeddah reserves the right to waive program formalities and to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the program and the availability of funds.  Awards made will be subject to periodic reporting and evaluation requirements as specified above and in the Notice of Award.