Frequently asked questions

What is BRAVE Women program?

Business Resilience Assistance for Value-Added Enterprises (BRAVE) Women Program is a 5-year multi-donor fund implemented in Yemen, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso. BRAVE Women Program focuses on developing and increasing the economic opportunities for female entrepreneurs through skills training aimed at business viability-specific value chains. It will enhance the bankability, entrepreneurial, and market development skills of female-owned/led Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) critical to sustainable local growth and job creation.

  • Which countries are currently implementing BRAVE Women Nigeria?

The BRAVE Women project is currently being implemented in Yemen, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso

  • Is BRAVE Women Programme/Project only for Women?

No. The program has as its primary target audience as women-led/owned SMEs. Under the programme, woman-owned / women-led SMEs are defined as having:

  1. ≥ 51% owned by a woman/women; or
  2. ≥ 20% owned by a woman/women, and have ≥ 1 woman as CEO/COO
  3. (President/Vice-President); and have ≥ 30% of the board of directors comprised of women, where a board exists;
  • What is a lead firm?

Lead firms are well-established formal businesses that would be potential clients for private-sector financial services. They can impact a large number of MSMEs, including producers and other lead firms, by setting industry trends.

  • What are the product offerings under BRAVE Women Nigeria?
  1. Business Resilience capacity building: train at least 600 SMEs on risk assessment and develop a Business Continuity Plan (BCP).
  2. Business Recovery support: provide matching grant support of $15,000-$50,000 for 500 SMEs and $40,000-$50,000 for Business Associations and Lead Firms.
  3. Value Chain resilience: assistance to firms with functional, process and product upgrades.
  • What is a Matching grant?

The stipulation set by a grant-providing body that the recipients of a grant raise a certain percentage of the money they require, generally a sum more or less equal to that of the sum of money being granted

  • What is a Matching Grant & how does it work?

Under the programme, a matching grant is a concept whereby 50% of the total fund is contributed by the business while BRAVE Women Nigeria contributes 50%. For example, if an entity requires $10,000 grant, it needs to deposit $5,000 into one of the Local Partner Banks while BRAVE Women Nigeria contributes the same amount.

  • What should I expect from the Capacity Building?

You can expect to get trained on how to assess risk for your business and the process of developing a Business Continuity Plan.

  • What Local Partner Banks do you work with?

Access Bank, Jaiz Bank, Wema Bank, SunTrust Bank.

  • What is the role of Business Associations on the BRAVE project?

Business associations support members in developing their production and business activities, protecting their interest, and representing them.

  • Would Business Associations also be supported with a matching grant?

Ans: Each Business Association will be supported with a matching grant of up to US $50,000, of which a portion will be directly utilised to supporting other chain actors.

  • In what States will the BRAVE Women Nigeria Programme piloted?

The BRAVE Women project will begin its pilot implementation in Gombe, Kano, and Edo States.

  • What are the qualifications to participate in SME capacity-building training?

The training is open to the following groups/entities:

-Women entrepreneurs that have at least one year of business experience in a legitimate running enterprise from different sectors in the agribusiness, health, education, clothing and textile, and energy sectors.

– Women who own an independent entity business and hold a valid

license, commercial license, or rental contract that proves their ownership.

– Women business owners that own another business investment elsewhere (mall, business incubation, or other business) and can provide an official rent contract for the business location.

– SMEs that do not have legal licenses must get a license before signing a grant agreement.

  • Does my business need to be registered before I can participate in the pieces of training?

No. You only need to have at least one year of experience legitimately running your business. However, you need to become formalised by registering at the CAC if you intend to apply for the matching grant.

  • What are the criteria for grant qualifications?

For Women-led/owned MSMEs, Lead Firms, and Business Associations, the qualification criteria differ. Below are a few of those criteria

Women-led/owned SMEs.

It is expected that all interested firms must have completed the Business Continuity Trainings (capacity building training). Additional selection criteria requires the SME to:

– Join and complete the Business Resilience Support training

– Prepare and submit their business continuity plans and commitment letters;

– Open a new bank account in one of the local partner banks.

– Provide a ‘Know Your Client’/KYC statement after opening the master accounts with the local participating  banks.

Lead Firms.

For firms considering an application under this section, the eligibility criteria require lead firms to be formal businesses that can impact many MSMEs within their value-chain. These MSMEs could be producers, distributors, etc. Additional requirements include:

  1. Lead Firms should have commercial linkages with many MSMEs, that are consistent with the programme’s target group, e.g. fishers/farmers/beekeepers/health clinics, as either a buyer or supplier of products and services.
  2. Lead Firms should have sufficient financial strength to make investments or dedicate resources to business operations that will improve and expand relations with MSMEs, not just as corporate social responsibility but as a part of plans and strategies for their business.

iii. Lead Firms should invest in improved or expanded relations with MSMEs that may only show results over a period of 2-5 years.

  1. Lead Firms should be able to influence other Lead Firms and actors in the value chain in short timeframe (0-3 years).

Criteria for Business Associations:

  1. Business Associations should invest in providing vital market and regulatory information to its members and supporting them to take advantage of opportunities or comply as needed.
  2. Business Associations should have the potential to reduce transaction costs and create economies of scale.
  • What can the grant disbursed to lead firms to be used for?

The grant can be used for any of the following:

Product upgrading – to introduce new or improve existing products.

Process upgrading – to improve the efficiency of existing production process.

Functional upgrading: to identify activities to focus on, aid outsourcing activities and acquire new functions.

  • What can the grants disbursed to Business Association be used for?

Vertical Activities: Provide information about market requirements, support member compliance, and provide training to improve production and management techniques.

Horizontal Activities: Help reduce transaction costs and create economic scale through partner grouping to increase small producers bargaining power.

  • What can the grants disbursed to Women-led/owned MSMEs be used for?

– Construction of a warehouse: The grant can be used to finance material and labour cost

– Installation of machines/equipment: The grant can be used to procure will assets as well as cover related training costs

– Quality assurance and control systems, quality certification, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) or similar certification; minor measurement and test equipment

– Packaging and labelling design and production machines.

– Introduction of information systems and telecommunication technology.

– Training activities that are related to the applied assets.

– Opening a new branch: The grant can be deployed towards procuring equipment, decoration, furniture etc.

– Re-opening a business in another city: The grant can be deployed towards procuring equipment, decoration, furniture etc. as well as finance the rent

– Storage facilities

  • What products are eligible under the BRAVE Women Programme?

Ans: This means the product are per ISDB guidelines.

– the Disbursement is not in reimbursement of, or to be used for, expenditures for

goods and services supplied by Israel;

– the Disbursement is not in reimbursement of, or to be used for, expenditures for

any of the following:

  1. Production or trade in any product or activity deemed illegal under the laws and regulations of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, international conventions and agreements, or subject to international ban/sanctions.
  2. Production or trade in weapons and ammunition.
  3. Production or trade in alcoholic beverages.
  4. Production or trade in tobacco or qat.
  5. Gambling, casinos, and equivalent enterprises.
  6. Production or activities involving harmful or exploitative forms of forced labor.