Challenge Fund for Youth Employment | How To Apply

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Applications are open for qualified candidates for Challenge Fund for Youth Employment 2023. The application process is ongoing.

Application Deadline: January 31st, 2023

CFYE strives to disrupt the employment status quo for Ethiopian youth. CFYE is calling for innovative private-sector-led solutions that create, improve, or match decent work for youth in Ethiopia, with a focus on women in particular. 

Eligibility Criteria

The following eligibility criteria will apply:

  • Principles: Should be able to adhere to CFYE’s guiding principles & priorities.
  • Exclusion Criteria: The project and organizations involved in delivering the project must pass the FMO exclusion criteria.
  • Local Presence: You (the lead organization), or at least one of your consortium partners, has a local operating presence in the country.
  • Legality: The Lead Organisation must be a legally registered private sector entity.
  • Total Targets: The proposed project will create, match, or improve at least 250 jobs for young men and women.
  • Women Targets: Of the total youth employment created, matched, or improved, at least 50% are women. Note, however, that the higher this percentage is, the more competitive your Concept Note will be.
  • Decency of Jobs: Any jobs or dependent self-employment should require no more than 48 hours/week of work and respect the other requirements of the Ethiopian Labour Proclamation (No. 1156/2019), and jobs created should be maintained for at least six months.
  • Private Sector: Only private companies can be lead applicants, but they may partner with other organisations such as NGOs or government institutions.
  • Leverage & CFYE Contribution: We generally provide co-funding of 10-50%. The minimum co-funding of CFYE is 100.000 EURO, meaning total project budgets equal at least 200.000 EURO without a maximum value at this stage.
  • In-kind contribution: Your co-funding consists of a maximum of 30% of in-kind contribution. The remainder should be a cash contribution.
  • Youth: The jobs created, matched, or improved would be for youth aged 18-35 years. Unless the minimum working age is otherwise stipulated by local labour laws.
  • Employment type: Initiatives in both the informal and formal sectors are eligible. However, they should focus on wage employment or semi-employment (working with agents or other semi- self-employed positions as part of a company’s business model).
  • Business Development stage: We are looking for tested concepts ready for scaling up or scaling out (meaning already scaled up but ready to diversify). Idea stage projects are not eligible. Lead applicants need to have been inactive business for at least 2 years.


In addition to the general funding criteria and eligibility criteria, we are particularly interested in the following project characteristics (not eligibility criteria):

  • Living wage: We would like to see applicants consider how to improve current wages/incomes and how they can work towards closing at least part of the gap with our living wage level of $255 per FTE in urban areas and $267 per FTE in pre-urban areas.
  • Non-financial decency: In addition to paying (closer to) a living wage or living income, the Fund is keen to see proposals with a strong strategy towards improving jobs on non-financial elements such as workplace wellness issues and non-financial benefits.
  • Sector focus: Although all sectors are eligible for this call for solutions, we specifically invite proposals covering the following sub-sectors based on their perceived high opportunities for the youth:
  1. Horticulture and poultry; textile and apparel; food and beverage processing (agro-industry); renewable energy (the green economy); the digital economy; and matching services.
  2. Training services, waste management, and scale-up of successfully-incubated projects are areas we consider to hold moderate opportunities for job creation as well.

Competitive Process

The Challenge Fund for Youth Employment will apply a competitive process to select the projects that will receive a grant. That means that only those projects that present a clear and convincing pathway to employment, lead to significant and sustainable results in terms of decent employment for youth, with a focus on young women, and can demonstrate high leverage will be selected. The Call for Solutions will be officially opened after the webinar. An eligibility check with subsequent access to the Concept Note Template will be made available on this webpage. We will send an update to all interested parties who registered to be kept up to date below.

How to Apply

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