United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Western Union have launched the Libya Diaspora Marketplace (LDM). The LDM will award up to four winning businesses with matching grants of between $25,000 and $50,000 with accompanying technical assistance.The LDM encourages sustainable economic growth and employment by supporting entrepreneurs who are US citizens or permanent resident members of the Libyan diaspora community, as well as those who have a relevant connection to, or experience in, Libya. Grants awarded for startup or existing small and medium enterprises will focus on high-priority, high-impact sectors that meet the immediate and evolving development needs of the country.Alina Romanowski, USAID's Acting Assistant Administrator for the Middle East Bureau said: “The recent events in the region have offered USAID opportunities to adjust our approaches to assistance in the Middle East and North Africa and forge new partnerships across the region.”She went on to say: “I'm excited these new relationships also include the LDM initiative and the diaspora who want to make a difference in their homeland during a historical time.”USAID began redirecting assistance and putting new programmes into place to help the people of Libya in response to a rapidly unfolding situation across the Middle East and North Africa, laying the foundation for a democratic future and economic prosperity that engages and benefits all Libyans.The inclusion of Libyan diaspora in the LDM highlights this commitment to facilitating diaspora entrepreneurs who want to contribute to the development of their home countries. “The LDM is an innovative model for corporate, government and nonprofit collaboration to promote entrepreneurship and the employment it supports. Expanding the ADM to Libya leverages its unique benefits to help create lasting social and economic impact," said Aida Diarra, Western Union Regional Vice President for North Central and West Africa.USAID will be hosting an informational webinar on Thursday, April 18, 2013. More Information about the webinar, the LDM, how to apply and deadlines can be found at http://www.diasporamarketplace.org. Submission of proposals commenced on April 5, 2013.