Succeeding as an entrepreneur takes everything you’ve got. We’re here to help! As exchange alumni, you can access the many resources the U.S. government has created to support entrepreneurship and take your business idea to the next level.

From Alumni TIES grants to our annual Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) competition, we foster business development and training for entrepreneurs and innovators.

Entrepreneurship Resources and Opportunities

Entrepreneurs Resources and Opportunities
Meet Farid - a new series of animated entrepreneurship videos in Egyptian

Welcome to Meet Farid, a new series of animated entrepreneurship videos! Want to start your own business, but don’t know how to start? Then this series of quick videos in Egyptian, created by three alumni from the Meet Silicon Valley exchange program in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy Cairo, is for you!

These videos are available for free to the general public via the U.S. Embassy Cairo's Facebook page.


Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES)

Participate in the annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES). GES is the preeminent annual gathering of entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, and thought leaders from around the world, providing a unique event that is a combination of an innovation marketplace and policy forum. Since 2010, an estimated 20,000 emerging leaders having participated in GES, governments and the private sector have committed to provide over $1 billion in new capital to entrepreneurs worldwide.

Startup Smart: A Handbook for Entrepreneurs

Download the Startup Smart: A Handbook for Entrepreneurs – Handbook Series. Anyone can acquire the knowledge and skills to transform a business idea or insight into a successful business. This handbook helps aspiring entrepreneurs develop a mindset and the skills to honestly evaluate their business idea. It also helps them become comfortable with the idea of business risk and how to minimize those risks where possible. Being a successful entrepreneur takes knowledge, skills, business planning resources and mentoring relationships. It also takes time, planning, patience and flexibility. This handbook provides these tools and guidance for adventurous individuals who are “ready to ride the rocket ship” of being an entrepreneur.

Calculate Your Startup Costs

Calculate Your Startup Costs will help you answer: How much money will it take to start your small business? Calculate the startup costs for your small business so you can request funding, attract investors, and estimate when you’ll turn a profit.




Register for DreamBuilder, an online course on women’s entrepreneurship, developed through a partnership between Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and global copper mining company Freeport-McMoRan. The courses are free, interactive, and designed to teach you the skills and knowledge to start or grow your own business. The courses are available in both Spanish and English.

GIST Network

Take advantage of the GIST Network, an online innovation hub, featuring free monthly online interactive webcasts, including features on core fundamentals like building and supporting your startup, angel investments, and using setback to drive success, in addition to workshops on the latest technology like blockchains, and utilizing artificial intelligence in your startup.

GIST Innovation Hub

Join a GIST Innovation Hub, a community-led meetup group designed to build strong and vibrant networks of young science and technology entrepreneurs hosted in eight key regions across the world, or participate in a GIST Boot Camp, which empower young science and technology innovators and entrepreneurs through on-the-ground training and mentoring delivered by top U.S. mentors and in-country partners.

Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund

Apply for the Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund, a matching loan fund that delivers direct access to capital to women across 83 countries. Established in 2016 by and the Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, the fund helps provide access to capital for one million women entrepreneurs by 2021. Eligible entrepreneurs can apply for loans to start and grow their businesses.
Small Business Association Learning Center
The Small Business Association Learning Center: While concentrated on online workshops for United States businesses, many courses outline fundamentals for entrepreneurs, including evaluating your ideas, choosing among different financing options, the importance of business planning, and legal considerations when registering your business.

Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE)

To learn about USAID investments in entrepreneurial ecosystems through U.S. and global partnerships, check out the Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) webpage. USAID recently released Insights from USAID’s Support for Small and Growing Businesses, an analysis of our approach to finance that aims to help better understand how working with intermediaries supports entrepreneurs around the world.

USAID More than Money Report

Many organizations provide technical assistance or advisory support to startups and growing businesses as they require often more than just money to succeed and reach scale, but little is known about what works and what doesn’t in acceleration support. The USAID More than Money report aims to take stock of the evolving ecosystem of advisory support by mapping the current landscape, teasing out the trends, and highlighting lessons learned about what works to date.

Minority Business Development Administration (MBDA)

The Minority Business Development Administration (MBDA) works with federal, state, and local governments, as well as private organizations, to help U.S. minority businesses overcome the unique challenges they face. MBDA helps provide access to financing solutions and global supply chains, and manages the Inclusive Innovation Initiative (I-3) to increase minority business enterprises in technology transfer.

USPTO Inventors Assistance Center

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Inventors Assistance Center provides patent information and services to the public and can answer general questions about the trademark process or provide guidance on the type of information to include on a form.  The Trademark Assistance Center is the main support center for all customers, from first-time filers to legal professionals and experienced trademark applicants.

Power Africa

Power Africa is committed to working with entrepreneurs and our African partners to increase the number of people with access to power.  The Power Africa Toolbox mobilizes 160 different tools from 12 U.S. government agencies and 14 international development partners to drive deals and facilitate investment in sub-Saharan Africa. Tools include transaction assistance, finance, and legal assistance. Understanding Power Purchase Agreements is designed to help Power Africa partners master the expansive, and often confusing, universe of financing options for power project development.
Learn more about SelectUSA, a U.S. government-wide program created to facilitate investment into the United States. It helps global companies of all sizes find the information they need to make decisions, connect at the local level, and navigate the federal regulatory system.

Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE)

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE), within the Economic Development Administration (EDA), fosters innovation and the commercialization of new technologies, products, processes, and services. The Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program offers grants for supporters of the U.S. entrepreneurship ecosystem.

U.S. Embassies and Consulates

Visit your local U.S. Embassies and Consulates, which support entrepreneurs by advocating for improvements to business climates and by hosting hundreds of public events every year, including setting up mentoring connections, and workshops on angel investing, crowdfunding, or business incubation. For international exchange alumni, your local U.S. Embassy can nominate you for the annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

YALI & YLAI Online Youth Networks

Join the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Network for young leaders in Sub-Saharan Africa or the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Network for young entrepreneurs in Latin America or the Caribbean! Through these vibrant online networks, changemakers and entrepreneurs can connect with other leaders in their communities committed to sharing ideas and changing the world through action. It's free to join and Network members gain access to free online courses, comprehensive content including toolkits and blogs, as well as networking opportunities - and so much more. Join today!
+ - Take Your Business Global

Developed by international trade experts and economists, provides trusted market intelligence, practical advice and business tools to help U.S. companies expand in global markets.


U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF)

For Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) Alumni

The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) supports and invests in AWE entrepreneurs by responding to the need to further small enterprise development in underserved communities, especially as they relate to women-owned and managed enterprises in Africa. ECA and USADF’s partnership advances W-GDP efforts through a joint-U.S. government partnership to support the most promising AWE alumnae with catalytic funding for their enterprises. Through 2025, USADF will provide up to $10 million in grants to the most promising African AWE graduates in Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.


Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE)

The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) gives enterprising women the knowledge, networks and access they need to launch and scale successful businesses. By promoting women’s economic opportunities and ensuring that women have the capabilities and resources needed to participate in the economy, the AWE program directly supports the U.S. National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality. At a local level, AWE harnesses the power of public-private sponsors, local partnerships and U.S. Exchange Alumni networks to help women and their businesses grow, driving localized prosperity in communities in more than 80 countries worldwide.