The current RFP is developed for 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.
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 executing pilot 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, 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.
Rural population, women and other marginalized 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 on 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
- Human capacity development
- 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.
- Request for proposals
In this regard, Impact Foundation is seeking privately owned training interested in 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.
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
We are looking for partners to co-finance in designing and developing some of these curricula under their own programme and provide the training.
Reconomy project will provide technical and financial support in cost-share with the education centres. We share the risk of developing new courses for future freelancers. This includes technical knowledge, curriculum development, marketing campaigns and benchmarks from the region. Education Centers cover salaries, educational platforms, scholarships, physical space and online educational platforms in order to provide the training. 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 Centers are obliged in:
- Participating in the co-designing of interventions which will promote changes and improvements in the behaviour and performance of the skill development sector in self-employment through freelancing
- Recruitment and selection of the candidates for the training
- Provide a database of entire alumni, for marketing purposes, when promoting freelancing opportunities to graduates.
- Negotiate and execute the activities proposed in the proposal/intervention;
- Reporting on progress to inform decision-making and adjustments to partnerships;
- Data collection to demonstrate intervention impact and
- 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 the program which will be quantified in monetary values. More than 300 women and young people improve their skills and knowledge, and 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.
- 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 on 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 for vulnerable groups for the training (Women and young people, in particular, disadvantaged and excluded ones)
- Estimated Number of people trained
- Estimated number of people self-employed/freelancers
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 5.000 to 15.000 CHF 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.
- Deadline for submission
- RFP submission date: 25 August 2021
- Application submission deadline: 3 September 2021
- All necessary documentation can be found on the following link: https://we.tl/t-5gLm7db9WQ
- Submission: Applications should be submitted to Impact Foundation firstname.lastname@example.org
- Applications will be evaluated by the IMPACT FOUNDATION management team planning committee and applicants can expect to receive a decision on their proposal by 10 September 2021.