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Business Development Services Consultancy for Market Development Facilitation Funds

  • Location:
  • Salary:
  • Job type:
  • Posted:
    5 months ago
  • Category:
    Business Management
  • Deadline:
    November 24, 2023

Project/Consultancy Title: Project Location(s):

Business Development Services Consultancy for Market Development Facilitation Funds

Montserrado, Bong, Margibi, Nimba, and Grand Bassa Counties, Liberia

Positions: N/A

Timeline: December 2023 – October 2024

Application deadline: November 24, 2023

About Mercy Corps:

Mercy Corps is a leading global humanitarian agency saving and improving lives in the world’s toughest places. With a network of experienced professionals in more than 40 countries, we partner with local communities to put bold ideas into action to help people recover, overcome hardship, and build better lives now and for the future. In these places, Mercy Corps listens to local voices to prioritize people’s most urgent needs, taking a long-term view and promoting innovative solutions that drive true change. Mercy Corps Liberia has been working in Liberia since 2002, focusing on youth, agriculture, livelihoods, conflict resolution, and emergency response.


PROSPECTS IV is a 45-month, 48 million SEK programme aiming to directly reach 6,400 young people through improved employment opportunities. The programme applies an MSD approach to facilitate systemic change. It will build on previous Government of Sweden investments through PROSPECTS I – III but will move away from a direct delivery model to place systems change at the heart of the programme. Understanding young people’s structural and systemic challenges in securing employment will be crucial to the programme’s success. PROSPECTS IV will be implemented in four defined urban and peri-urban areas – Monrovia (Montserrado County), Ganta (Nimba County), Buchanan (Grand Bassa), and pilot in, Gbarnga (Bong County) – with potential expansion to secondary locations and counties contingent on the results of the first year’s inception phase activities. These expansions will be determined based on the pilots’ relevance, opportunity, feasibility, and findings from pilots.

PROSPECTS IV implements interventions that respond to the capabilities and incentives of public, private, and civil society actors within the systems to help them change their behavior and sustainably address the constraints and where there is a clear route to scale across each outcome. The programme works to help actors do things

Scope of Work: – Business Development Services Consultancy for Market Development Technical Assistance Facility (Innovation Funds)6/16/2023.

differently, to change how a supporting function or rule works to have a positive and sustained impact in the targeted systems. The guiding approach to implementation is through the application of Mercy Corps’ global approach called Market Systems Development for Employment (MSD4E), which aims to roll out systems change approaches to youth employment programming built – and in complete alignment with – traditional MSD principles.. Bringing the MSD approach to jobs requires a careful understanding of the labour market. Key elements include:

  • Willingness to boost labour demand: Programmes do not just help unemployed people get jobs but improve the quality of existing underemployed microentrepreneurs and wage employees. We do not just focus on training – if there are too few jobs, we work on building labour demand.
  • Seeking high-potential employment pathways: Rather than working across all pathways, we focus on those with significant impact potential. Sometimes sectors, in other places, scale comes from looking across sectors – often, it is a combination.
  • Focusing on the causes of un/under-employment: We investigate the systems of pathways to find the underlying problem. We seek to understand the systems around the target groups, with the different supporting functions and rules. Our analysis is often much deeper, though, involving exploring secondary and tertiary systems.


The Market Development Facilitation (Innovation) Funds provide business grants to qualified micro, small, or medium-sized enterprises that meet specific criteria. This special facility is a co-financing mechanism utilized by PROSPECTS IV and carefully applied to ensure market distortion does not happen. Funding provided to businesses is generally based on the following considerations:

  • Support through this activity is demand-driven and competitive, requiring innovative businesses to determine their own market development needs. Multiple businesses with the right capacities and incentives can submit concepts and applications for funding, as profiled during market assessments, call for-proposal workshops, or partnership scoping exercises.
  • Support is provided for one-off “soft-touch” activities to demonstrate value to the business partner, and these are activities that other market actors are likely to adopt for their own business growth Apply a quid pro quo mechanism; getting tangible contributions from the partners for activities that require financial support demonstrates commitment and ownership; cost-sharing enables actors to apply promotional tactics, test new sales/engagement mechanisms, provide training to staff etc. The business partner must be willing to continue moving forward with the initiative following any removal of financial support from PROSPECTS IV, including continuing to dedicate their financial and nonfinancial resources to implementation, should the activity show potential for market transformation.

Scope of Work: – Business Development Services Consultancy for Market Development Technical Assistance Facility (Innovation Funds)6/16/2023.

The Business Development Firm will work with businesses to develop their solution/innovation into viable business solutions, facilitate acceleration, and ensure adequate advisory support to expand, scale, and create a sustainable business model.


Mercy Corps will launch a Market Development Facilitation (Innovation) Fund to facilitate the sector’s growth by young and driven entrepreneurs (or youth-employing start-ups) with innovative and feasible ideas. These businesses will be selected through a rigorous and competitive process, and successful innovative proposals will receive grants to commercialize and/or expand their innovation.

To achieve this, Mercy Corps will partner with a Business Development Firm to facilitate the incubation and acceleration of SMEs selected through a competitive process. The firm will collaboratively work with Mercy Corps to onboard successful startups, co-design an incubation model tailored to each business, complete an incubation program that requires building business and financial models and market niche, and support businesses to go-to-market through an acceleration model. The firm will provide post-acceleration advisory and adaptive management support to businesses.

Consultant Task:

The consultant will be required to assess and develop a customized business incubator program for 80 MSMEs in three cohorts over eighteen months. Through the incubation program, the BDS Firm will work with SMEs to develop and strengthen their business and financial models, support market analysis and develop business niches, create a minimum viable product, and prepare them to compete for innovation funds through pitching. The firm will provide additional training and acceleration support to around 30 – 40 successful businesses to go-to-market and provide post-acceleration advisory support to SMEs.

The consultant is expected to develop or adapt Mercy Corps SMEs toolkit to support the businesses and use the PROSPECTS-IV MEL standards to capture learnings. The implementation of the growth accelerator program will include the below approach:

  • Design and implement a business incubator and accelerator program for 20 — 30 high performing Liberian Owned SMEs;
  • Collaboratively work with PROSPECTS Team to Assess and select proposals/applications that meet the eligibility criteria through facilitation of a pitching competition.

Scope of Work: – Business Development Services Consultancy for Market Development Technical Assistance Facility (Innovation Funds)6/16/2023.

  • Conduct Capacity building needs assessment for each business applicant to support development of a tailored incubation program for the 20 — 30 business Innovations.
  • Provide incubation support for 20 — 30 innovations based on identified business Capacity development needs for example, but not limited to developing and strengthening business and financial models, data-driven market analysis, market niche and MVP development, and preparation for pitching competition
  • Design, plan and facilitate pitching competition for all three cohorts of the Technical Facility Assistance
  • Design and execute acceleration/go-to-market for 10 – 15 successful innovations through the Technical Facility Assistance
  • Monitor, mentor and coach each of the 10-15 SMEs to accomplish specific milestone activities; Provide monthly monitoring and progress reports to Mercy Corps;
  • Conduct pre and post-business development capacity intervention assessments to ascertain progress and capture learnings.

Consultant Activities:

  • Support Mercy Corps in developing and implementing the Market Development Technical Facility Cohort one rollout (develop rollout plan, incubation and acceleration support plans)
  • Submit monthly reports on various intervention activities, including baseline surveys, one on one coaching sessions, group sessions as well as trainings;
  • Ensure MSMEs have clear, market-responsive business and financial models and minimum viable products.
  • Ensure that MSMEs successfully complete milestone activities and submit required deliverables on schedule;
  • Connect businesses with existing entrepreneur networks and industry leaders and experts across program locations;
  • Ensure that MSMEs adopt appropriate business management to suit their business needs.

Consultant Deliverables:

The consultant will deliver:

Scope of Work: – Business Development Services Consultancy for Market Development Technical Assistance Facility (Innovation Funds)6/16/2023.

  • Approved Inception Report and Delivery Plan (one-off) – (MDFA strategy, detailed implementation schedules, content development, rollout plan, training modules, monitoring plan, mentorship plan, and list of sector-specific mentors).
  • Progress Reports (Cohort-based) – (Recruitment, training/onboarding, baseline report, individual and group coaching reports, business and financial modeling sessions report).
  • Completion Reports (cohort-based) – (acceleration coaching and mentorship report, performance and monitoring report, post-acceleration advisory report, end-line and disengagement report). Detailed final report that highlights project activities, baseline, and end-line findings, accomplishments, and learnings

Required Experience:

A competent firm(s) with proven experience in business development, incubation/accelerator, or advisory support for Liberian businesses is needed to provide such service.

Requirements for Firm

  • Excellent understanding of the Liberian business environment – proven through research and market survey experience with SMEs in Liberia
  • At least three senior managers or team members with Graduate Degrees in business development and management or related area – Proof of at least 3-5 years of experience working with Liberian businesses in a business development and advisory role
  • Experience building the capacity of SMEs across different sectors, at different growth stages, and operating in different regions – proof in at least three recommendation letters from SMEs worked with.

The Consultant will report to:

  • MSD Team Lead | PROSPECTS-IV &
  • Deputy Team Leader | PROSPECTS-IV

The Consultant will work closely with:

  1. Intervention Lead and Program Team
  2. MEL Coordinator
  3. Partnership and Grants Coordinator

Timeframe / Schedule:

Scope of Work: – Business Development Services Consultancy for Market Development Technical Assistance Facility (Innovation Funds)6/16/2023.

The entire consultancy is expected to last for a maximum of 10 months, commencing from the start of December 2023 to September 2024, and the proposal to be submitted should reflect such timelines.

NOTE: Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. Mercy Corps reserves the right to contract as many Consultants as necessary to implement this project or none at all.

Document Submission:

All interested firms should kindly submit the following documents and attached annexes via email in one Portable Document Format, PDF, and with the subject line BDS Consultancy for Market Development Technical Assistance Facility” to lr-tenders@mercycorps.org and in hardcopy addressed and delivered to Mercy Corps Liberia’s office, Sophie Junction Opposite SOS Clinic, Oldest Congo Town, Monrovia, Liberia before 4:30pm Local time on November 24, 2023:

  • Cover letter outlining capacities and experience with availability and fees
  • Program concept that includes a clear and detailed strategy to be used in developing and implementing the market development technical assistance facility.
  • Detailed (proposed) work plan that includes timeline and budget
  • CV/s of key persons
  • One sample of previous work
  • Business registration and tax clearance

Evaluation and Awarding of Contract:

Evaluation of proposal will take the below approach in determining the best proposal offer to carry out the development of small business toolkit.


Technical AreasScore
Relevant Experience in Business Development advisory support; Experience with business incubator or accelerator program is a plus (evidence in reference letters submitter and incubator/accelerator report)25
Previous Performance Review of similar work done (required work sample to be submitted)20


Scope of Work: – Business Development Services Consultancy for Market Development Technical Assistance Facility (Innovation Funds)6/16/2023.

Strong Organizational capacity and technical knowhow to develop internal capacity of small and medium-sized businesses (CVs of at least three staff to work on the project)25
Reasonable Cost of developing the accelerator program that will reflect ‘value for money’. Budget should consider cost for: business development support, training, and field travel logistic.10
Technical Knowledge to framing MSD approach in business modelling and market analysis using relevance feasibility and sustainability. (sample approach to achieving this, or previous report where similar approach is used.)20
Total100 pts

Scope of Work: – Business Development Services Consultancy for Market Development Technical Assistance Facility (Innovation Funds)6/16/2023.

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