UNESCO U40 Empowered : Women entrepreneurs powering the digital creative industries.

About U40 Empowered: Women Entrepreneurs Powering

The Digital Creative Industries “U40 Empowered” is a UNESCO initiative started in 2018 with the support of Sabrina Ho.  This initiative expands the actions of the International Fund for Cultural Diversity by supporting projects from national and international NGOs that promote young female cultural entrepreneurs working in the digital creative industries. It is designed to increase opportunities for U40 women to access funding, infrastructure, equipment and co-production opportunities in the digital creative industries. “U40 Empowered” will also support strategies that address the different needs, aspirations, capacities and contributions of women. Through support for such projects, “U40 Empowered” will unlock opportunities for young women entrepreneurs and realise their full potential in the digital creative industries. Please note that project proposals submitted to this call must comply with specific criteria, will be evaluated by an independent Panel of Experts and will be approved directly by Ms Sabrina Ho.

Deadline  All the Online Applications must be submitted at the latest by April 16th, 2018 (midnight CET). Applications submitted after this date will not be considered for the evaluation.



About Sabrina Ho

Sabrina Ho is a rising young cultural entrepreneur and philanthropist based in Macao and Hong Kong (China). Following her studies in arts at University of Hong Kong and the completion of her MBA in Switzerland, Sabrina Ho founded Chiu Yeng Culture Limited in 2015, a company dedicated to promoting young artists in Macao. She has been actively involved at community level to support the emergence of the region’s cultural scene. She is a committee member of the Youth Committee of the Macao (China) Chamber of Commerce and Committee Chairman of non-profit organisation Boao Youth Forum for Asia. In November 2017, Sabrina Ho and UNESCO signed a strategic partnership agreement to empower young women and men by investing in their creative potential.


Who can apply Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from eligible countries (developing countries Parties to the 2005 Convention): Non-governmental organizations that, according to their national regulations, are non-governmental and non-profit and that meet the definition of civil society*1 mentioned in the Operational Guidelines. International non-governmental organizations (INGOs) registered in countries Parties to the 2005 Convention: International non-governmental organizations (INGOs), which meet the definition of civil society* mentioned in the Operational Guidelines; and which present projects that have an impact in developing countries at the sub-regional, regional or inter-regional level.


Basic requirements

Beneficiary countries 


Projects must be implemented and/or benefit only eligible countries (developing countries Parties to the 2005 Convention).


Note for INGOs: Applications from INGOs must be implemented in two or more eligible countries and demonstrate that the proposed project has an impact at the sub-regional, regional or inter-regional level.


Implementation period

The project implementation period shall be between 12 and 24 months, with the projects beginning in October 2018.


Areas of intervention


“U40 Empowered” will finance projects that: • Develop and/or implement strategies that invest in women as entrepreneurs working in the digital creative industries; • Create networks and opportunities for U40 women working in the digital creative industries to innovate and collaborate; • Organise female-led creative mentorship programmes for U40 women in partnership with digital creative hubs, incubators and clusters; • Give visibility to the work and innovations of U40 women entrepreneurs working in the digital creative industries; • Strengthen the digital skills of U40 female creative industry professionals; • Collect and analyse sex-disaggregated data with a view to better understand the underlying causes of gender inequality in the digital creative industries with a view to inform policy making.



* For the purpose of this Convention, civil society means non-governmental organizations, non-profit organizations, professionals in the culture sector and associated sectors, groups that support the work of artists and cultural communities. Criteria identified in the Operational Guidelines on civil society are: civil society have interests and activities in one or more fields covered by the Convention; they have a legal status in compliance with the established rules of the jurisdiction in the country of registration; they are representative of their respective field of activity, or of the respective social or professional groups they represent.


Amount requested


The maximum amount that can be requested is 100,000 USD.  Projects that are approved for funding will receive their allocations in several instalments. Beneficiaries normally receive 50% of the total amount approved at the beginning of the project, another 30% mid-way through the project and the remaining 20% once all activities have been completed and the final reports are submitted.


Budget and Expenditure

Expenditures for project-related overhead costs are limited to a maximum of 30% of the total project budget.

Language The application and its complementary documents must be in English or French.


  1. How to apply Prepare the Application form: • Download and review the call for funding. • Download and review the Annotated Guide. • Download, save on your computer and complete the Project Framework (including the project objectives, budget, outputs/deliverables and list of team members). The Project Framework should be opened and completed in Microsoft Excel or similar applications. • Gather digital copies for all Complementary Documents that are required for your application. Complete the Application form: All the project proposals must be submitted through the online Application Form. • Create your account at https://en.unesco.org/creativity/applicant/register. • Log in at https://en.unesco.org/creativity/user/login and complete all the fields in the online Application Form. During this process, you can save your application and come back later, using your login and password. • Upload the Project Framework and Complementary Documents in the dedicated fields • Before finalizing your application, ensure that all fields have been completed and accept the Terms and Conditions • Date, sign and click on the ‘SUBMIT’ button to finalize your application.



Selection Procedure

In order to ensure a fully transparent project selection process, the application procedure to “U40 Empowered” will be as follows:

  1. Upon receiving the submitted applications for “U40 Empowered” (16 April 2018), the UNESCO Secretariat will perform a technical assessment to ensure that the applications are complete and fulfil the application criteria, and therefore are eligible.
  2. All eligible funding requests will be evaluated by an independent Panel of Experts established for the IFCD. The Panel of experts will submit a list of recommended projects, which will be submitted to Sabrina Ho for final approval.
  3. In August/September 2018, the UNESCO Secretariat shall inform the beneficiaries of the approved projects. Project implementation shall start in October 2018.


 Evaluation Criteria

Applications for funding requests to the IFCD will be evaluated on the basis of the criteria on how the funding request: • addresses the objectives, priorities and areas of intervention of “U40 Empowered”, the 2005 Convention and the IFCD;

  • meets the needs and priorities of the country where the project will be implemented and is deemed to be feasible and relevant;
  • contributes to achieving concrete, measurable, realistic and sustainable results;
  • has a potential structural impact leading to the emergence of a dynamic cultural sector;
  • promotes South-South and North-South-South cooperation;
  • ensures that the project’s impact/long-term benefits can be achieved and promotes the sustainability of the project;
  • satisfies the principle of financial accountability. In addition, the Panel of Experts will evaluate the applicants’ capacity to implement the work plan and manage the budget, ensuring that:
  • overhead costs do not exceed 30% of the total budget;
  • requested funds are to be spent principally on project activities;
  • resources are not spread too thinly or are used to support sporadic activities.


The skills and competences of key people involved in the implementation of the proposed activities, as well as the involvement of stakeholders in the design and implementation of the project will also be evaluated. Additional financial assistance, either in the form of self or co-funding, is highly advisable as a means to engage more partners in the process and to contribute to the smooth implementation and sustainability of the project.


  1. Support For more information on the application process,


Please contact the Secretariat at the email address: ifcd.convention2005@unesco.org or visit the website http://en.unesco.org/creativity/ifcd.


For more information visit https://en.unesco.org/creativity/sites/creativity/files/call_empowered_en.pdf

Original Link https://en.unesco.org/creativity/calls/unesco-launches-its-9th-ifcd-call-new-initiative

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