You are currently viewing Request For Proposal (RFP) 2022/1

Request For Proposal (RFP) 2022/1

The current RFP is developed for the identification and selection of the potential market actor/s to implement the pilot intervention with Impact Foundation under the RECONOMY programme (hereinafter RECONOMY) – an inclusive economic development programme in Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans.

Skopje, 06/06/2022

1. Background

IMPACT FOUNDATION is a private sector development organisation, a local co-facilitator of the RECONOMY programme, guided by the market systems development (MSD) approach. The foundation was established by the local team of MSD practitioners and experts that started the first MSD project in the Republic of North Macedonia.

In the frame of RECONOMY, Impact Foundation is executingapilot intervention. The focus of this pilot idea will be on promoting and strengthening self-employment through freelancing opportunities for women and young people as well as other disadvantaged groups.

According to our findings, limited jobs are being created and already available jobs are underpaid, for example, in the tourism and hospitality sector, textile, and automotive industries. Self-employment offers huge opportunities for a landlocked country like North Macedonia by providing new avenues for job creation and fostering labour inclusion even in the most remote geographical areas. By leveraging online outsourcing platforms to perform tasks of various complexity levels, local talent can tap into labour markets without leaving their homes. The share is largest among the age cohort of 18 to 35 years old which means that millennials are looking for more creative and flexible job opportunities and shifting further away from traditional aspects of the workforce.

In North Macedonia, women and young people are less likely to start freelancing job(s) as an option for (or part of) career development. There are several reasons for this as shown in Figure 1 below. To start with, there is low awareness about opportunities or high misperception about freelancing – as a low-paid and insecure working arrangement. Freelancers are more motivated by freedom, flexibility, and autonomy than corporate benefits and job security. Vulnerable groups are especially important for the intervention, in order to benefit anyone, even the ones without a computer.

The rural population, women and other marginalised communities lack opportunities for revenue generation in comparison to other citizens of North Macedonia. Encouraging and building interest among these groups to take advantage of freelancing training and work will significantly boost economic growth within these communities. 

This pilot will focus on the improvement of skills of the target groups to enable their effective online work engagement through training from private educational centres.
The value-addition of the pilot will be addressing the constraints of the low interest of the lead training providers to work with low-paid target groups on short training; the absence of engaging ‘local freelance community’ to share the experience of working with existing platforms, and the low level of awareness among prospective women and young people about the opportunities of online platforms. 

Once the training provider is identified they will go through the set of activities that are logically grouped into three main activity groups or phases:

  • Preparation, outreach, and selection of participants
  • Training for participants
  • Mentoring and online work

The transactional model for the training and mentoring can be innovative in terms that the trainee will pay for the training and mentoring from the income created on an online platform. The training centres will be hubs that will provide basic training for the target groups trained by video lessons but also experienced freelancers. The training will include practical skills such as how to create a profile and how to find a job. Part of the training can also be on how to administer the work and declare income and tax. The mentoring/student success process can be done by opening an account on the remote working platforms and applying for jobs and execution.

The pilot intervention is a part of the SIDA’s founded, RECONOMY programme. The overarching objective of the RECONOMY programme is to enable women and men, particularly young people, and those from disadvantaged and excluded groups to benefit from economic opportunities by increasing their income and taking up decent employment/self-employment. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has a long-standing commitment to the growth and prosperity of Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans. As part of this commitment, Sida has partnered with HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation for implementing an inclusive economic development programme in 12 countries in the region. 

2. Request For Proposals

In this regard, Impact Foundation is seeking Market Actors, namely those which are privately owned training centres and coworking spaces outside of Skopje acting as intervention partners in this process and supporting the implementation of the pilot intervention. The market actor’s activities will be focused on the first workstream mentioned above for North Macedonia which is closely connected to capacity building of freelancers and enabling environment for them.

Our research has shown that the most popular freelance jobs at international networks (that we can support training for) in 2021 are:

  • Graphic design 
  • UX design
  • Digital marketing
  • Software testing
  • Web development 
  • Video creation and editing
  • Video marketing manager
  • SEO specialist
  • Data analyst
  • Mobile application developers
  • Software developer

And there is a potential for hiring freelancers from US companies, especially in the following positions:

  • Accounting, using QuickBooks
  • Dispatching for logistics 
  • 3D modeling

We are looking for partners to co-finance in designing and developing some of these training and mentoring services under their own programme and provide the training and/or mentoring.

The Reconomy project will provide technical and financial support in cost-share with the education centres and co-working hubs, and a list of freelancing mentors. We share the risk of developing the service for future freelancers. This includes technical knowledge, curriculum development, marketing campaigns and benchmarks from the region. Education Centers and Coworking Hubs cover salaries, educational platforms, scholarships, physical space and online educational platforms in order to provide the services. We give priority to courses and modules that will produce the biggest number of qualified and skilled students that are ready to sell services on the freelance market. We measure success and impact at the end of the intervention.

The Education Centres are asked to:

  • Participate in the co-design of interventions which will promote changes and improvements in the behaviour and performance of the skill development sector in self-employment through freelancing;
  • Recruit and select the candidates for the training;
  • Provide a database of the entire alumni, for joint marketing purposes, when promoting freelancing opportunities to graduates;
  • Negotiate and execute the activities proposed in the proposal/intervention; 
  • Report on progress to inform decision-making and adjustments to partnerships; 
  • Data collection to estimate intervention impact and 
  • Report for knowledge management purposes and learning from the intervention.

The Coworking Spaces are asked to:

  • Participate in the co-design of interventions which will promote changes and improvements in the behaviour and performance of the skill development sector in self-employment through freelancing;
  • Provide a place where mentors and potential freelancers can cooperate and work together;
  • Create, maintain and promote a database of mentors;
  • Promote the mentors from their database on their various platforms;
  • Provide free of charge working space for mentors during their mentoring sessions;
  • Reporting on progress to inform decision-making and adjustments to partners;
  • Collection of data to demonstrate intervention impact;
  • Reporting, as well as knowledge management and learning from the intervention.

Expected results from the intervention should focus on:

  • Outcome level: 20% of private sector enterprises (education centres, newly established companies involved in the intervention) report higher turnover and/or profit as a result of changes stimulated by the program. Additional investment is made by private sector enterprises as a result of changes stimulated by RECONOMY which will be quantified in monetary values.

Overall pilot intervention goal is to have  more than 300 women and young people improve their skills and knowledge, increase their employability as well as start their own economic/income-generating initiatives, out of which 50% have additional income or get employed with 20% satisfaction due to the relevance of skills, knowledge, and information services.

3. Application Procedure

The applicant is kindly asked to submit a short project proposal in the following structure:

3.1 Project Proposal (max. 3 pages)

The project proposal should be focused on the improvement of the skills of the target groups to enable their effective online work engagement regarding the top 10 freelance jobs. The proposal should include ideas for sustainability in providing training for future freelancers after the mandate of the RECONOMY programme. 

 COVID-19 impact on reaching the target group for training should be considered.

The project proposal should contain solutions for:

  • Training for potential freelancers in terms of hard and soft skills
  • Outreach to vulnerable groups for the training (Women and young people, in particular, disadvantaged and excluded ones)

3.2 Financial offer – budget

  • Budget submission is requested based on the proposal provided. The budget should reflect the outreach of the target group.
  • The planned financial support per applicant is in the range of 2.000 to 5.000 EUR and it is subject to negotiation.
  • The budget should be constructed on the basis of cost-sharing principles.
  • Market actors should participate with at least 50% of the budget.

3.3 Monitoring and result management

Market actors together with the proposal should send a table with proposed targets for Monitoring and result in measurement purposes.

  1. Number of people who completed the programme for freelancing
  2. % of people who express satisfaction with the relevance of skills, knowledge, and information services
  3. Number of people who started a career as freelancers
  4. % of people of the people that were trained or mentored with additional income and decent job opportunities, who express satisfaction with their situation
  5. Syllabus/ training package developed
  6. Income generated by training providers from their training offer

4. Deadline for submission

  • RFP submission date: 06 June 2022 
  • Application submission deadline: 13 June 2022 at midnight
  • Submission: Applications should be submitted to Impact Foundation 
  • Applications will be evaluated by the IMPACT FOUNDATION management team planning committee and applicants can expect to receive a decision on their proposal by 20 June 2022.

Viktorija Andonova

Viktorija Andonova is a Communications Assistant at IMPACT FOUNDATION. She believes that everyone can achieve what they set their mind to and believes that everyone is capable of overcoming any challenge, no matter how impossible it may seem.