The current RFP is developed for the identification and selection of the potential market actor/s to enhance awareness of the target groups of self-employment 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 a pilot intervention. The focus of this pilot idea will be on promoting and strengthening self-employment through freelancing and entrepreneurial 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)/entrepreneurial ventures as an option for (or part of) career development. To start with, there is low awareness about opportunities or high misperception about self employment – as a low-paid and insecure working arrangement. Freelancers/entrepreneurs 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 self-employment training and work will significantly boost economic growth within these communities.
This activity will focus on the enhanced awareness of the target groups (their families) and employers to improve increased labour participation and benefits of self-employment.
The value-addition of the activities will be addressing the constraints of the low awareness of the lead organisations/companies focused on supporting entrepreneurship and self-employment, the absence of awareness for the ‘local startup/entrepreneurial community’, and the low level of awareness among prospective women and young people about the opportunities of online platforms and self-employment.
Once the market actor is identified, they will go through a set of activities logically grouped into three main activity groups or phases:
- Preparation, outreach, and selection of participants
- Training of participants/Held events
- Outreach events
The freelancing community has an ‘image’ problem and is associated with short-term employment. The growth of the sector and its contribution to better employment opportunities will stimulate more involvement from government institutions.
The activity is a part of the SIDA’s founded RECONOMY programme. The 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) is committed to the growth and prosperity of Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans. As part of this commitment, Sida has partnered with HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation to implement 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 companies and organisations 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 entrepreneurs and enabling an environment for them.
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 privately owned enterprises and organisations, and a list of mentors. We share the risk of developing the service for future freelancers and founders. This includes technical knowledge, curriculum development, marketing campaigns and benchmarks from the region. The market actors will cover salaries, educational platforms, scholarships, physical space and online educational platforms 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 market actors 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 entrepreneurship
- Recruit and select the candidates for the training/event
- Provide a database of the entire alumni/attendees, for joint marketing purposes, when promoting entrepreneurial opportunities to graduates.
- Negotiate and execute the activities proposed in the proposal/intervention;
- Report on progress to inform decision-making and adjustments to partnerships;
- Collect Data to estimate intervention impact and
- Report for knowledge management purposes and learning from the intervention.
Expected results from the intervention should focus on the overall pilot intervention goal: 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 and increase. The proposal should include ideas for sustainability in providing training for future entrepreneurs after the mandate of the RECONOMY programme.
The project proposal should contain solutions for
- Promotion and/or training for potential self-employees entrepreneurs in terms of hard and soft skills to support them to dest their ideas
- 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 120.000 to 240.000 MKD, subject to negotiation.
- The budget should be constructed based on cost-sharing principles.
3.3 Length of activities
The activities must be completed no later than 15 March 2023. A written report of the activities must be sent to email@example.com no later than 30 March 2023.
3.4 Monitoring and result measurement
Market actors, together with the proposal, should send a table with proposed targets for Monitoring and result measurement purposes.
- Number of people who completed the programme for entrepreneurship
- % of people who completed the training that was employed/self-employed or have started an entrepreneurial venture
4. Selection criteria
Technical proposal: 30 points
Outreach (assumed number of people trained/present at the events): 30 points
Scalability (potential to replicate the activity with future support): 20 points
Budget (amount of money allocated and cofinancing): 20 points
5. Deadline for submission
- RFP was opened on: 20 January 2023
- Application submission deadline: 30 January 2023
- 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 3rd February 2023