Amazon Bioeconomy Small Grant Evaluation Facility

ABSGEF, the Amazon Bioeconomy Small Grant Evaluation Facility, aims to improve capillarity between Amazonian bioeconomy stakeholders and circles of capital outside the region. The primary goal of the program is to help accelerate forest-positive bioeconomies across the Amazon. The project operates as a program of the Amazon Investor Coalition with guidance from its Program Advisory Council of regionally relevant organizations. NGOs, cooperatives and startup companies are eligible to apply. No money exchanges hands directly through the program and the facility does not fundraise or regrant money. Instead, it facilitates a direct connection between financiers and potential grantees.  Proposal submissions are invited quarterly and budget requests may go up to $100,000 USD. The application form is short, yet sufficient information is gathered for prospective donors to determine if they should request additional details.

The Program

Calls for grant proposals are announced through the AIC website, email, social media and a nominator network of Amazonian entrepreneurship ecosystem partners.

Participating donors commit to reviewing the top 3 funding recommendations from the program per quarter. If donors are interested, they will have an option to either provide funding directly or to contact grantees and ask for more information. To facilitate transactions, regranters will be enrolled as appropriate.

Select funders are invited to pledge and allocate matching funds alongside the program.

A council of regional organizations advise the process.

The grant recommendations selected quarterly are approved by the Program Advisory Council, with a ratio of two grants reserved for proposals coming through a nominator network and one reserved for proposals coming from the general public.

Profiles of startups, cooperatives, and NGOs submitting into the system will be vetted and made visible online as a public directory of Amazonian bioeconomy stakeholders that may be of interest to future donors, investors, corporate buyers and other allies.

The Program Advisory Council

The benefits and responsibilities of the program advisory council include:

  1. Crafting the selection criteria of the program.
  2. Nominating up to two grantees per quarter.
  3. Reviewing and scoring proposals (optional).
  4. Sharing impact metrics.
  5. Shaping the next program cycle.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the timeline?

The first call for proposals will be published on August 1, 2023, and will stay open until September 1, 2023. The first newsletter of grantee recommendations will be sent to prospective donors by October 1, 2023.

Which donors are involved? 

The AIC is inviting its advisors, and other philanthropic members of its broader network, to participate in the program. The program will not fundraise and regrant money. Instead, it seeks to improve capillarity between financiers and potential grantees by connecting them directly. Any philanthropic funds pledged should be held by grantmakers until grant approval. As of March 31, 2023, several grantmakers have pledged to review proposals.

What size are the grant recommendations?

Up to $100,000 USD.

What are the grant selection criteria?

The draft selection criteria are outlined below.  They are subject to change until the launch of the program.

Impact Assessments:

  • Forest and Biodiversity Protection: Does the project effectively prevent deforestation and/or protect biodiversity?  Is it focused on ecologically sensitive areas at risk of deforestation? Does it foster the creation of nature reserves, legal recognition of indigenous territories, or land tenure for forest guardians?
  • Rule of Law/Good Governance: Does the project improve legal compliance? Does it improve transparency, law enforcement, investigative reporting, or awareness of corruption? Does it help journalists, government employees or lawmakers to make informed decisions? 
  • Market Infrastructure and Access: Does the project help to improve bioeconomy or carbon markets? Does it help to connect buyers and sellers?  Does it improve access to data on markets or source communities? Does it reduce transaction costs?  
  • Financial Viability: Does the project have a viable path to financial sustainability? Is it mature enough to succeed? Will it make an efficient use of funds?
  • Ecosystem Restoration: Does the project restore degraded land and/or increase biodiversity? Does it remediate soils or remove carbon from the atmosphere through plant growth? 
  • Community Wellness: Does the project have a positive impact on the health, educational, or economic needs of marginalized communities? 
  • Technology & Innovation: Does the project demonstrate a possible new way of solving problems through new technologies or some other form of innovation? 

Demographic Assessments:

  • Team and Experience: Is the team likely to succeed at executing the project? Do they have relevant experience and high integrity?
  • Gender: Are women well represented in the project leadership? Will the program support women in particular?
  • Traditional Amazonians: Are traditional Amazonians represented in the project leadership? Will the program support traditional Amazonian populations?

What kinds of support for bioeconomy entrepreneurs have been suggested to date?  

A few of the ideas proposed to date include: 1) Helping to professionalize leadership teams with training and entrepreneurial mentors/advisors, 2) Crafting of impact messaging, niche, and metrics, 3) Guiding market development strategy and innovation, 3) Aiding product design and market fit, 4) Helping financial records management, 5) Assessing business models and viability, 6) Accessing opportunities for scale, 7) Enhancing creditworthiness, 8) Planning for investor exits, and more.

Why is this program valuable for new prospective Amazon forest-friendly donors and the AIC?

Institutional partners of the AIC have strict non-solicitation policies that prohibit fundraising from their members, a common practice among philanthropic donor affinity groups that want their proceedings to be relational, not transactional. The ABSGEF program creates an opportunity for donors to opt-in to fundraising solicitations through a structured program that permits donors to pick and choose from potential partners anonymously, or otherwise. The program also enrolls locals in processes that endorse new projects and foster collaboration among leading Amazonian bioeconomy entrepreneurs and allies.

How can I learn more?

Funders who are interested in learning more about the program should write to

Which regranters can donors work with?

A wiki of Amazon-focused regranters is offered here.

What would it take for this program to scale?

We’re still in the preliminary phases of launching this program. Currently, scale is limited by the quality and quantity of funding and partners.

How do you measure impact?

Each applicant is required to indicate how impact will be measured. The selection criteria of the program will help guide grantees and their plans for impact measurement.

What about issues beyond bioeconomies?

Sustainable bioeconomic development is the focus of the program. Issues that are peripheral to economic activity, such as health and education, may be considered but their relation to bioeconomic performance must be argued convincingly in the proposal.

What are the relevant geographies?

The program will prioritize support of activities in the Amazon biome and basin. Candidates from all countries in the region are eligible.

How do I apply?

Send an email to to request an application

Who is on the program advisory council and nominator network?

Select staff from the organizations represented in the Program Advisory Council inform the program selection criteria, review the proposals submitted, and nominate projects for funding.