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Women Economic Empowerment Program SMART-WEE



The Small and Medium Enterprise Assistance for Recovery and Transition (SMART) Project is a four-year USAID-funded program implemented by DAI. SMART aims to support Palestinian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to rapidly recover and start on a path to revitalization following the unprecedented crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. SMART will help SMEs restart operations, regain productivity, and grow while promoting economic growth and self-reliance in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

SMART aims to offer a greater consideration to women, through a robust Women Economic Empowerment (WEE) program focused on women owned and managed businesses. The SMART-WEE program will provide grants to women-owned businesses to boost productivity, gain access to tools and resources to grow their businesses, and improve operations through technical assistance, trainings, capital expenditure, equipment, and the facilitation of market linkages.

Targeted Beneficiaries:

SMART-WEE Program targets women owned and/or managed businesses that are operating in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip and meet the following identified categories:   

  • SME: a firm that employs from 5 to 49 employees and has an annual turnover between USD 100,000 and USD 2,000,000.
  • Start-up: women owned and/or managed nascent firm (0-3 years) that has growth potential and market traction.
  • Women Owned Business: a firm in which female owners hold at least 35% equity in the business and play an active role in firm management.
  • Women Managed Business: a firm in which female holds a senior management position and hires 51% plus of female employees.
  • Women Cooperative: a cooperative that consists of women majority (51% plus) in their board of directors and public assembly and has income generating activities that serve women interests. 
  • Women NGO: a Palestinian non-governmental, not-for-profit organization whose vision, mission, activities is to support women’s economic interests, or NGO that has a significant experience in women’s economic empowerment.

Award Ceiling:

  • Up to USD 100,000 for SMEs and Cooperatives and NGOs.
  • Up to USD 50,000 for Startups.

The program support duration: up to 12 months.

Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants must meet all eligibility criteria to be considered for assistance. Eligible applicants will be further evaluated based on the selection criteria.

For Firms:

  • Based in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, or Gaza Strip
  • Meet the definition of SME or start-up (see above).
  • Meet the definition of women owned and managed business (see above).
  • Has growth potential. 
  • The firm is not operating in the following sectors: trading wholesale or retail (other than consolidators or buying offices of local professions), construction development, luxury goods, or gold trading.
  • The firm does not deal in illicit goods or services, including but not limited to gambling, tobacco, firearms, alcohol, or illicit drugs.
  • The firm is not adversely affecting the environment.

For NGOs or Cooperatives:

  • Based in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza.
  • Meet the definition of NGOs and Cooperatives (see above).
  • Focused on supporting women owned and managed businesses and other women’s economic empowerment activities such as employment, entrepreneurship, etc.
  • Has growth potential.


  • SME applicants must hold formal registration and are operational.
  • Start-up applicants should hold formal registration OR commit to register before SMART assistance can be mobilized.
  • Cooperatives and NGOs must hold formal registration and are operational .
  • Commit to have and/or have valid licence as required by law.
  • Agree to undergo an assessment, engage with the SMART Project, and commit to make changes when necessary.

Selection Criteria:

Eligible applicants will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Present a clear growth potential with clear activities, timeline, target markets and budget.
  • Demonstrate positive impact of the fund on growth, resilience, sustainability, and staff retention.
  • Ability to secure necessary cost share.
  • The actions in the proposal can be executed within the expected timeframe is less than 12 months.
  • Sound financial and accounting practices.
  • Agree to comply with USAID environmental and social regulations.
  • Have valid workmen compensations insurance or committed to obtain one.
  • The ability of the firm to accommodate staff and visitors with disability.

Additional consideration will be given to young women businesses, hires people with disabilities and those who work in un-traditional promising sectors and has no or limited previous assistance or funding through donors or other programs.


The support will be through In-Kind Grant Agreement and will be on cost-share basis as following:

  • Up to 100% for TA, start-up registration and training.
  • Up to 75% for capital expenditure and equipment.
  • Up to 100% for study tours and participation of trade fairs, other than travel costs.
  • Up to 90% of expenditures required to implement key recommendations of the environmental evaluations and studies.

For more details on the program, eligibility, selection criteria, and cost-share coverage please visit Request for Application (RFA): Click here 


Additional Information:

For additional information about the program, eligibility, selection criteria, instructions, conditions, and ways to cover the cost participation, please see the “Program Description and Grant Application” file (RFA-004) available on the application page of the project website, www.smartproject.ps.

For further inquiries please email us at: [email protected]

Application Deadline:


Webinar Session:

Info Session for Women Economic Empowerment Program SMART-WEE

Women Economic Empowerment Program SMART-WEE

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