NOFO: Strengthening Inclusive Small Business Growth in Central America

Small businesses play a crucial role in economic development, especially in regions like Central America. To support and enhance inclusive small business growth, a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is available.

NOFO: Strengthening Inclusive Small Business Growth in Central America
NOFO: Strengthening Inclusive Small Business Growth in Central America

This article provides a comprehensive guide to the NOFO, covering its deadline, benefits, eligibility criteria, ineligibility, application process, documentation requirements, and tips for a successful application.


Submit proposals for this NOFO by [19-Apr-2024]. Timely submission is crucial for consideration in the evaluation process.

Program Goal

This project aims to fortify and sustain SBDCs in Central America, promoting local economic growth, nurturing small business development, and fostering inclusive economic stability.

Program Objectives

  • Strengthening SBDCs: Design a program to guide non-accredited or struggling SBDCs in Central America toward accreditation and self-sustainability. Identify SBDCs, assess their needs, and provide training to enhance their capacity, emphasizing inclusivity for historically marginalized communities.
  • Enhancing Trade Capacity: Connect SBDCs with AmChams and export advisors to facilitate small businesses’ entry into international markets and local supply chains. Collaborate with AmChams, member companies, and SBDCs to develop training curricula for small businesses to meet international quality standards.
  • Expanding SBDC Networks: Expand online networks to connect Central American SBDCs with successful counterparts from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and the United States. Facilitate forums (e.g., summits, webinars) for SBDCs to exchange expertise and resources, involving successful SBDCs from the mentioned countries.
  • Integrating into Supply Chains: Evaluate SBDCs to enhance support for small businesses entering local and regional supply chains, focusing on strategic economic sectors. Assist SBDCs in engaging small businesses in buyer/supplier networks to boost trade capacity.
  • Strengthening Local Economies: Provide technical assistance for fostering business-to-business partnerships across countries. Collaborate with SBDCs to enhance small businesses’ hiring capacity, with a focus on employing migrants and vulnerable populations.

Funding Amount

  • Funding Amount: $1,677,050 U.S. Dollars
  • Maximum Award: $1,677,050 U.S. Dollars
  • Projected Project Start Date: August 19, 2024
  • Projected Project End Date: August 19, 2027
  • Anticipated Number of Funded Awards: 1
  • Number of Applications: Limited to one (1) per applicant organization(s)


The NOFO for Strengthening Inclusive Small Business Growth in Central America provides the following benefits:

  • Financial Support:

Successful applicants can receive financial assistance to support their small business growth initiatives.

  • Capacity Building:

The NOFO presents opportunities for recipients to build their capacity, equipping them with the tools and knowledge necessary to strengthen and expand their businesses.

  • Access to Networks:

Awardees can access valuable networks, fostering connections with other businesses, mentors, and industry experts, promoting collaboration and knowledge-sharing.

  • Economic Empowerment:

The NOFO aims to empower businesses, particularly those advocating inclusivity, contributing to economic growth and sustainability in Central America.

  • Positive Socio-economic Impacts:

Supported projects have the potential to generate positive socio-economic impacts, benefiting local communities and contributing to overall regional development.

  • Entrepreneurial Development:

The NOFO encourages and supports entrepreneurship, fostering the development of innovative and sustainable business practices.

  • Promotion of Inclusivity:

By focusing on inclusive small business growth, the NOFO promotes diversity and inclusivity within the economic landscape, creating a more equitable business environment.

  • Enhanced Visibility and Recognition:

Awardees may receive recognition and visibility for their contributions, potentially opening doors to additional opportunities and partnerships.

  • Sustainable Business Practices:

The NOFO encourages the adoption of sustainable business practices, contributing to long-term environmental and economic sustainability.

  • Empowerment of Underrepresented Groups:

Projects concentrating on inclusivity may specifically empower underrepresented groups, promoting diversity and equal opportunities in the business sector.

Expected Results

By project completion, grantees should demonstrate the following achievements:

  • SBDC Support & Accreditation: SBDCs in targeted Central American countries are accredited and sustainable.
  • SBDC & AmCham Connections: SBDCs have utilized AmChams’ opportunities to access markets and trade where feasible.
  • SBDC Network and Partnerships: SBDCs have gained access to valuable resources, expertise, and best practices, enhancing their capacity to support SMEs. SBDCs establish sustainable partnerships, driving economic growth and development in the region.
  • Integrate Small Businesses into Regional Supply Chains: SBDCs enhance assistance to small businesses, ensuring they meet standards for integration into local and regional supply chains.
  • Business-to-Business Connections: SBDCs foster business-to-business connections, strengthening the economic landscape through increased collaboration, job creation, and improved livelihoods for marginalized communities. Contribution to sustainable economic development and social inclusion.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Geographic Requirement:

To be eligible for the NOFO, applicants must have a base of operations in Central America.

  • Applicant Type:

Individuals, non-profit organizations, and businesses actively operating within Central America are eligible to submit applications.

  • Focus on Inclusive Small Business Growth:

Proposed projects should primarily concentrate on fostering inclusive small business growth, aiming to enhance economic empowerment and sustainability.

  • Commitment to Entrepreneurship:

Applicants should showcase a proven track record or a clear dedication to fostering entrepreneurship within the region.

  • Compliance with Guidelines:

Applications must align with the specified guidelines provided in the NOFO.


  • Geographic Restriction:

Entities or individuals situated outside of Central America are not eligible to apply.

  • Lack of Inclusivity:

Proposals that do not prioritize inclusive small business growth or lack a clear strategy for promoting inclusivity may face consideration for ineligibility.

  • Non-compliance with Guidelines:

Applications failing to adhere to the provided guidelines or overlooking key aspects of inclusivity may face exclusion from consideration.

  • Mismatch with Objectives:

Proposals not aligning with the overarching objective of the NOFO to strengthen inclusive small business growth may be deemed ineligible.

  • Insufficient Track Record:

Applicants lacking a demonstrated track record or a clear commitment to fostering entrepreneurship in Central America may be considered ineligible.

  • Failure to Meet Deadline:

Submissions arriving after the specified deadline may not be considered eligible for evaluation.

Eligible Country

The NOFO for Strengthening Inclusive Small Business Growth is crafted for Central American countries. The eligible countries for this opportunity are:

  • Belize
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama

How to Apply

Follow these steps to apply for the NOFO: Strengthening Inclusive Small Business Growth in Central America:

  • Visit the Official Website:

Go to the official NOFO website for detailed information and guidelines. Conduct an online search using keywords related to the program.

  • Review Guidelines:

Read the NOFO guidelines on the official website thoroughly. Understand the requirements, objectives, and expectations.

  • Prepare Documentation:

Collect the required documentation specified in the NOFO guidelines, including:

Project proposal outlining inclusive small business growth initiatives.

Organizational details, including legal status and financial stability.

Budgetary requirements and financial statements.

Partnership agreements, if applicable.

Additional materials are mentioned in the guidelines.

  • Complete Application Form:

Fill out the application form following the instructions on the official website. Provide accurate and comprehensive information about your proposed initiatives and organization.

  • Submit Application:

Follow the submission process outlined in the NOFO guidelines. This may involve online submission or other channels. Be aware of the submission deadline.

  • Confirmation and Follow-Up:

After submitting your application, confirm its receipt. Some programs send confirmation emails or reference numbers. If not, consider following up with the contact provided in the NOFO guidelines.

Documentation requirements

The documentation requirements for the NOFO: Strengthening Inclusive Small Business Growth in Central America may encompass the following:

  • Project Proposal:

Prepare a detailed project proposal outlining initiatives for inclusive small business growth. This should encompass the project’s objectives, methodology, expected outcomes, and alignment with the NOFO’s goals.

  • Organizational Details:

Provide information about the applying organization, including its legal status, mission, and background. Include details about the organization’s financial stability and capacity to implement the proposed initiatives.

  • Budgetary Requirements:

Develop a comprehensive budget detailing the financial aspects of the proposed project. This should present a clear breakdown of expenses, funding sources, and how funds will be utilized to achieve project goals.

  • Financial Statements:

Include financial statements of the applying organization, offering an overview of its financial health. This may comprise income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.

  • Partnership Agreements:

If the project involves collaboration with other organizations or partners, include pertinent partnership agreements. These documents should outline the roles, responsibilities, and contributions of each partner.

  • Additional Materials:p

Provide any supplementary materials or documentation specified in the NOFO guidelines. This could involve letters of support, resumes of key personnel, or other documents enhancing the application.

Tips for Successful Application

  • Clearly articulate the goals and expected impact of the proposed project.
  • Align the proposal with the overarching objectives of promoting inclusive small business growth in Central America.
  • Demonstrate a feasible and sustainable approach to achieving project goals.
  • Provide evidence of past successes or a strong commitment to fostering entrepreneurship.
  • Ensure all documentation is complete, accurate, and well-organized.


The NOFO for Strengthening Inclusive Small Business Growth in Central America offers a valuable opportunity for individuals and organizations to contribute to economic empowerment in the region. As the deadline approaches, interested parties are encouraged to carefully review the eligibility criteria, prepare thorough documentation, and submit proposals through the official website. These efforts collectively work towards fostering inclusive small business growth and creating positive socio-economic impacts in Central America.

Frequently asked questions

How are partnerships and collaborations viewed in the application process?

Collaborations with other organizations may be viewed positively. If applicable, provide relevant partnership agreements and details in the application as outlined in the NOFO guidelines.

How will applicants be notified of the application outcome?

Notification processes are typically outlined in the NOFO guidelines. This may include confirmation emails, reference numbers, or specific contact information for inquiries.

Is there a mechanism for feedback on unsuccessful applications?

Check the NOFO guidelines for information on whether feedback on unsuccessful applications is provided and the process for obtaining feedback.



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