Notice of Funding Opportunity: American Entrepreneurial Challenge 2022

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S. Embassy Finland
Notice of Funding Opportunity

Funding Opportunity Title: American Entrepreneurial Challenge 2022
Funding Opportunity Number: PAS-FI-FY22-02
Deadline for Applications: February 7, 2022
CFDA Number: 19.040 – Public Diplomacy Programs
Total Amount Available: Up to $25,000

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The U.S. Embassy in Finland announces a notice of funding opportunity for organizations to develop entrepreneurial skills, improve English skills, and find solutions to global challenges, with a special focus on addressing environmental and climate challenges, targeted at Finnish youth ages 13 – 19.

Program Objectives:

The American Entrepreneurial Challenge (AEC) is an educational program funded by the U.S. Embassy in Finland. The goal of the program is to encourage innovation, entrepreneurial mindsets, and to improve the presentation and English skills of participants.

The program should bring together teams of 2-4 students ages 13-19 to develop new business ideas (or further develop an existing one) and pitch it. The idea does not have to be a for-profit venture. Teams submit their application by sending a short video and written description of their idea by the application deadline. Both the pitch and the application must be submitted in English. The implementation partner will select the teams to proceed to a two-day workshop. During the two-day workshop, teams will polish their ideas and pitches with the help of mentors. On the final day, the teams will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges, which will select the winners. The program will be conducted in English.

The implementation partner will:

  • Develop and implement a promotion campaign for targeted schools to promote the AEC.
  • Select teams based on their entries to participate in the two-day workshop.
  • Plan and implement a two-day in-person hackathon-style entrepreneurship program in April – May 2022 for as many participating teams as possible within the budget (minimum of 20 students). This includes planning and implementing the program, mentoring the teams, recruiting the panel of judges, and coordinating travel and accommodation for participants.

The AEC has an existing website, email address, and social media accounts. The implementation partner will be granted access to these resources.

The implementation partner will budget accordingly identifying costs related, but not limited to the following:

  • Promotion costs
  • Personnel costs (for example, project manager)
  • Venue costs
  • Teams’ travel costs to the competition site
  • Per diem (including accommodation) for the participating teams
  • A prize for the winning team to further support the team’s entrepreneurial skills or winning idea
Participants and Audiences:

This program is targeted for students ages 13 – 19 (not strict) currently attending elementary school classes 7 – 9, upper secondary schools, and vocational schools in Finland.

Indirectly, the program ideally engages with local startup and business communities and business professionals on the national level as well.

FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION
Length of performance period: 2 to 6 months
Number of awards anticipated: one (1) award
Award amounts: fixed amount award for a maximum of $25,000
Total available funding: Up to $25,000
Anticipated program start date: March 2022

This notice is subject to availability of funding.

Funding Instrument Type: Fixed amount award

Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in three months or less during the spring 2022.

ELIGILIBITY INFORMATION

Eligible Applicants

The following organizations are eligible to apply:

  • Not-for-profit organizations, including think-tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations
  • Educational institutions
  • Individuals
  • Foreign Public Entities (FPE), for example: Public International Organizations and Governmental Institutions

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

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a unique entity identifier (Data Universal Numbering System/DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet), as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Individuals are not required to have a unique entity identifier or be registered in SAM.gov.

Applicants are only allowed to submit one proposal per organization.

APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

Application forms required below are available at grants.gov under ‘Forms’ and can also be requested at HelsinkiGrants@state.gov.

Please follow all instructions below carefully. Proposals that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or fail to comply with the stated requirements will be ineligible.

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

The following documents are required:

1.Mandatory application forms

  • SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations) or SF-424-I (Application for Federal Assistance –individuals)
  • SF-424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
  • SF424B(Assurances for Non-Construction programs) for individual or organization exempted from registering in SAM.

2. Proposal (4 pages maximum): Proposal should include the following:

  • Proposal Summary: Short narrative that outlines the proposed program, including program objectives and anticipated impact.
  • Introduction to the Organization or Individual applying: A description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the program, including information on all previous grants from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies.
  • Program Activities: Describe the program activities and how they will help achieve the objectives.
  • Program Methods and Design: A description of how the program is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal.
  • Proposed Program Schedule and Timeline: The proposed timeline for the program activities. Include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events.
  • Key Personnel: Names, titles, roles and experience/qualifications of key personnel involved in the program. What proportion of their time will be used in support of this program?
  • Program Partners: List the names and type of involvement of key partner organizations and sub-awardees.
  • Program Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: This is an important part of successful grants. Throughout the time-frame of the grant, how will the activities be monitored to ensure they are happening in a timely manner, and how will the program be evaluated to make sure it is meeting the goals of the grant?

3. Budget Justification Narrative: After filling out the SF-424A Budget (above), use a separate sheet of paper to describe each of the budget expenses in detail. See section H. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.

4. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov)

Required Registrations:
Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) in the System for Award Management (SAM) is not eligible to apply for an assistance award in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR, 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR, 1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension.” Additionally, no entity listed on the EPLS can participate in any activities under an award. All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the EPLS in SAM to ensure that no ineligible entity is included.

All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these registrations. All are free of charge:

  • Unique entity identifier from Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS number)
  • NCAGE/CAGE code
  • www.SAM.gov registration

Step 1: Apply for a DUNS number and an NCAGE number (these can be completed simultaneously)

DUNS application: Organizations must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet. If your organization does not have one already, you may obtain one by calling 1-866-705-5711 or visiting http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform

NCAGE application: Application page here: https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx

Instructions for the NCAGE application process: https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/Docs/US%20Instructions%20for%20NSPA%20NCAGE.pdf (PDF, 1.3 MB)

For NCAGE help from within the U.S., call 1-888-227-2423
For NCAGE help from outside the U.S., call 1-269-961-7766
Email NCAGE@dlis.dla.mil for any problems in getting an NCAGE code.

Step 2: After receiving the NCAGE Code, proceed to register in SAM.gov by logging onto: https://www.sam.gov. SAM registration must be renewed annually.

Submission Dates and Times

Applications, including all application materials, are due no later than February 7, 2022 at 11:59 pm and must be submitted by email to HelsinkiGrants@state.gov.

APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

Criteria

Each application will be evaluated and rated based on the evaluation criteria outlined below.

Quality and Feasibility of the Program Activities: The program idea is well developed, with detail about how program activities will be carried out. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.

Organizational Capacity and Record on Previous Grants: The organization has expertise in its stated field and has the internal controls in place to manage federal funds. This includes a financial management system and a bank account.

Program Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.

Budget: The budget justification is detailed. Costs are reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results. The budget is realistic, accounting for all necessary expenses to achieve proposed activities.

Monitoring and evaluation plan: Applicant demonstrates it can measure program success against key indicators and provides milestones to indicate progress toward goals outlined in the proposal. The program includes output and outcome indicators and shows how and when those will be measured.

Sustainability: Program activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the program.

Review and Selection Process

A review committee will evaluate all eligible applications. The selected applicant will be notified no later than by February 18, 2022.

FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

The grant award or cooperative agreement will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer. 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.

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.

Payment Method: Payments are processed electronically based on SF-270 –forms provided by the applicant, and according to payment schedule determined in award provisions.

Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Before submitting an application, applicants should review all the terms and conditions and required certifications which will apply to this award, to ensure that they will be able to comply.

These include:

In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget’s guidance located at 2 CFR part 200, all applicable Federal laws, and relevant Executive guidance, the Department of State will review and consider applications for funding, as applicable to specific programs, pursuant to this notice of funding opportunity in accordance with the following: NOTE:

  • Guidance for Grants and Agreements in Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations (2 CFR), as updated in the Federal Register’s 85 FR 49506 on August 13, 2020, particularly on:
    • Selecting recipients most likely to be successful in delivering results based on the program objectives through an objective process of evaluating Federal award applications (2 CFR part 200.205),
    • Prohibiting the purchase of certain telecommunication and video surveillance services or equipment in alignment with section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 (Pub. L. No. 115—232) (2 CFR part 200.216),
    • Promoting the freedom of speech and religious liberty in alignment with Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty (E.O. 13798) and Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities (E.O. 13864) (§§ 200.300, 200.303, 200.339, and 200.341),
    • Providing a preference, to the extent permitted by law, to maximize use of goods, products, and materials produced in the United States (2 CFR part 200.322), and
    • Terminating agreements in whole or in part to the greatest extent authorized by law, if an award no longer effectuates the program goals or agency priorities (2 CFR part 200.340).
REPORTING

Reporting Requirements: Recipients will be required to submit interim performance reports and a final, written report. The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted.

FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

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

OTHER INFORMATION
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.