ENTERPRISE CHALLENGE FUND TO ASSIST PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT IN VISAYAS
Interested businesses from the Visayas region are strongly encouraged to bid for Australian Government-funded grants through the Enterprise Challenge Fund (ECF) for the Pacific and South East Asia.
The fund, managed by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), aims to provide grant financing to innovative business ideas which improve people’s livelihoods, incomes, and access to vital goods and services. Grants ranging from Php3.8 million to Php57 million (A$100 000 to A$1.5 million) are available through an open competitive process.
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Rod Smith said, “Australia would like to see the private sector in the Philippines taking advantage of new and emerging opportunities – which can create lasting jobs, improve incomes, increase access to vital goods and services and stimulate the local economy.”
“For this reason Australia has established the Enterprise Challenge Fund – to assist the private sector overcome external obstacles to otherwise commercially viable projects which benefit a wide range of people especially the poor.”
ECF is an innovative means of assisting businesses overcome barriers to market access. Grant financing is provided to support sound business ideas translate into successful ventures and that can also have a positive impact on poverty reduction. The funding can for example off-set risks and other viability concerns that have prevented the business gaining market entry or accessing other commercial financing.
ECF Philippines Country Manager, Jason Magnaye said, “Visayas is the home of many of the Philippines’ leading businesses and it is very important that they are aware of the opportunities that ECF can bring. By promoting ECF to the business community we hope to encourage organizations to bid for the fund and help reduce poverty in the area.”
To be awarded a grant, businesses complete a two stage application process. Stage one is the submission of a brief concept note which is reviewed by a panel primarily made up of private sector representatives. Business projects that best satisfy the assessment criteria will be invited to submit a full application and the best applications are awarded a grant after further assessment by a panel.
Aside from the Philippines, ECF also operates in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Cambodia, Lao PDR, East Timor and selected provinces of Indonesia. Several bidding rounds will occur in each country. Concept notes for all countries are now being accepted. All concept notes need to be submitted by 30 June 2008.
Interested bidders may get more information by logging into the ECF website at www.enterprisechallengefund.org.