RFP - Training and coaching technical assistance for a renewable energy innovation fund to serve the agribusiness sector in the West Bank

Date of Publication: 
25 March 2021
Application Deadline: 
8 April 2021
Company: 
Cowater International
Brief Description: 

Background

The “Renewable Energy (RE) Innovation Fund to Serve the Agribusiness Sector” aims to provide a complete, sustainable, and creative environment and approach for young individuals or groups, particularly females, to innovate, test and scale up ideas related to renewable energy solutions in agribusiness in order to create concrete opportunities for a successful launch of start-ups.

Aligning with the Generating Revenue Opportunities for Women and Youth in the West Bank (GROW) project’s objectives to reduce barriers faced by female entrepreneurs, enhance opportunities for women to establish and grow businesses and support the adoption of renewable energy in the agri-food processing value chain; the design and launch of the RE Innovation Fund to serve the agribusiness sector aims to:

  • Raise awareness among young innovators and entrepreneurs, especially females about the usage and utilization of disruptive technologies through a solution-based approach.
  • Enhance male and female youth’s skills and capacity in technology and business development.
  • Raise awareness about innovation and entrepreneurial mindset.
  • Support the development of the start-up’s ecosystem.
  • Achieve nationwide awareness on RE innovation in agribusiness in the West Bank and attract strategic attention.

The RE Innovation Fund to serve the agribusiness sector consists of the following phases:

Phase 1 – Completed by Jan 2021: Identification of energy challenges and needs in the agribusiness sector in the West Bank

Sector intelligence has been captured to prioritize energy challenges and needs in the agribusiness sector (agri-food processing, sheep and goat dairy, and olive by-product value chains). This was achieved through engaging different agribusiness stakeholders, including women-led enterprises in a participatory manner to identify challenges and needs in the sector. Evidence from these consultations resulted in a Research and Development booklet of needs, which will be published during the next phase of the Fund.

Phase 2 – Completed by February 2021: Participants’ Recruitment for the Hackathon

An online application presenting the challenges requiring solutions, and different tracks of participation in the hackathon was published on partners’ websites, social media and mailing lists of universities and entrepreneurs’ community targeting youth between the ages of 18 to 29 as potential participants.

The application allowed for flexibility in adding new challenges that were not originally listed and was open for different categories of participants. These could be teams or individuals with ideas about solutions to solve a specific challenge, individuals with skills or relevant experience interested in participating in developing solutions and individuals with ideas on developing solutions for new challenges.

Phase 3- Planned on April 2021: The Hackathon

The hackathon comprises of several days of activities combining a bootcamp structure and pitching events branded as AgRE-Minds. At least 50 participants will be engaged in a series of activities followed by two pitching events based on the following mechanism:

  • Structure: The hackathon will be divided into five components; coaching, teamwork, team support, practice demo days and pitching events.
  • Coaching: The coaching component will span over five days and be targeted towards guiding participants on the requirements of submitting the required deliverables to be eligible for the pitching event and in a manner that allows sufficient time for preparation. The topics are also designed based on start-ups methodology and to foster entrepreneurship. The main topics that will be delivered through coaching sessions are: “Entrepreneurial Mindset and Conceptualization of Start-ups”, “Recent Trends in Renewable Energy”, “Business Model and Value Proposition Canvas”, “Crucial Business Plan Components”, “Pitching Content and Skills”, “Design Thinking, “Wireframe and User Journey”, “Financial Planning”, “Marketing Strategies” and “Storytelling: Market Case”.
  • Experts: Experts and mentors from the RE and start-up communities will be mobilized to deliver both the business and technical aspects of coaching. Some sessions will be remotely implemented to leverage international expertise in ideation and technology aspects.
  • Teamwork: Between coaching sessions, there will be significant timeslots for the participants to work on their solutions, ideas and deliverables with the support of specialized mentors.
  • Teams and start-up support: Renewable energy experts, start-up founders, Chief Technical Officer at start-ups, passionate entrepreneurs, specialized mentors and partners’ staff will be guiding the teams on their work and answering questions on deliverables during the teamwork slots. (30 hours each)
  • Deliverables: All participants are required to submit a pitch deck, a mock-up or a sketch, user journey, business model canvas, value proposition canvas and an initial business plan at the completion of Phase 3.
  • Pitching Event: a panel of experts including those having technical expertise in agribusiness, and renewable energy, investors, grants providers, successful start-up founders and partners’ representatives will select the top five solutions using a scoring grid based on a set evaluation criteria.

Phase 4- Planned on May 2021: Business and Prototype Development

The business and prototype development phase will last for 16 weeks and will have different core components that are concurrent and significantly interrelated. These components are structured to extensively focus on helping entrepreneurial initiatives pass through several growth stages, from having initial value adding and potentially scalable idea with a small team, to defining mission and strategy with accurate milestones, to building a core, committed team with shareholders’ agreement and developing a testable product, to business institutionalization and commercialization.

Needs assessment and road mapping prior to incubation: Each innovation/team will have their own customized roadmap for the business and prototype development phase which will be implemented and assessed and progress against it will be evaluated on a regular basis. The roadmap will define the status and objectives of the innovation, the timeline, milestones, networking and the needs to be tackled at the business, product, funding and team levels. Each plan will have its own KPIs, metrics and measures to be taken for corrective actions. Road mapping will be conducted in a two-week timeframe before the incubation and technical mentors’ support.

The Incubation: The main objective of the incubation is to assess, develop and improve a business concept and model and boost entrepreneurial competencies and skills. This would entail starting from the ideation and going through to conceptualization of a business plan to kick off as a committed start-up that can develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that is ready to sign a co-founder shareholder agreement and start attracting investors’ money. This is based on the previous assessment and set plans for each start-up. The incubation includes idea refinement, guided mentoring and coaching to make the idea bankable, and technical assistance on the concept development of the prototype. The outputs of incubation are an investment pitch deck, a prototype, an action plan and a business plan. 

The incubation for the ideation stage includes a curriculum that combines business development and entrepreneurial competencies in workshops, coaching, technical assistance and customized mentorship sessions for the purpose of shifting the idea from the formation stage (pre-start-up) to the early validation stage (lean start-up).

The curriculum will include a variety of topics in areas  of business development and entrepreneurial competencies through generic and specific customized formats.  The incubation will be heavily deliverables-based that is matched with a designed plan and roadmap for each team and innovation project. The start-up teams are expected to attend all the scheduled sessions and workshops that would cover between 8 to 10 hours per week. Some workshops will be collective for all teams.

Brief description of the Assignment

To enable the participants of the hackathon and the winners of the business and prototype development program to create innovative RE solutions and maximize their chances of success, Flow Accelerator is aiming to mobilize support in terms of RE expertise to train and coach participants and Incubates in the hackathon and the business and prototype development stage in the renewable innovation fund to serve the agribusiness sector in the West Bank. During the hackathon, experts will be supporting the participants to work on their solutions, ideas and deliverables in terms of product and opportunity, as well as conducting two generic sessions in a holistic approach to provide insights on RE innovation and prototyping.

In addition, selected experts will participate in the needs assessment exercise that precedes the business and prototype development stage where they will support the Flow Accelerator team to:

  • Customize the selected participants’ roadmaps for the incubation phase;
  • Establish milestones and KPIs for each team in a two-week timeframe prior to the incubation phase.

Furthermore, experts are required to engage regularly with the winning teams during the incubation phase.

Scope of Work

Flow Accelerator aims to work with the most equipped experts to guide the participants in their project planning and implementation. Coaching therefore means supporting and stimulating the participants’ own thinking to innovate solutions, challenge assumptions by asking relevant questions and encouraging them to make use of their strengths and experiences. The coach will ask questions and have a guided discussion with participants on how to identify the change they want to achieve with the project, how to make a realistic project plan given the context and conditions, how to decide what methods to use, who needs to be involved, how to get people on board, and how to follow up on the progress of the project.

To reach the desired program outcome, selected experts will complete the activities listed below:

Stage 1: During the hackathon experts will deliver the following activities over a one-week period:

  • Coaching participants in a generic format to cover topics on Renewable Energy Concepts & Trends and Product wireframe and user journey (2 hours coaching per session with a total of 4 working hours).
  • 16 working hours of team support to enable the participants to develop their ideas and plans.

Stage 2: During the needs assessment phase, selected experts will participate and support the Flow Accelerator team to customize a roadmap for the selected participants’ business development and prototyping, creating a proper assessment and progress evaluation criteria, as well as defining the KPIs, metrics and milestones, and timeline, in a two-week timeframe before the incubation. This would require a total of 5 working hours.

Stage 3: During the incubation phase, selected experts will follow-up with the participants on the projects’ outcomes and deliverables and provide guidance and support for the five selected teams during the incubation program to enhance their deliverables. The experts’ engagement during the incubation phase will be based on 1 working hour per month per team with a total of 20 working hours.

Desired qualifications of experts

Selected experts should have vast experience in RE relevant to start-ups and innovation with the following criteria:

  • Proven experience in the RE sector with a minimum of 10 years.
  • Experience in agribusiness is an asset.  
  • Proven experience in start-ups and lean development methodology.
  • Proven experience of providing coaching and consultancy.
  • Willingness to devote time and energy to participants.
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills

Those who find themselves capable of providing services in this project should apply using the application form given in Appendix-1 (attached) and email it along with their profile and resume to info@grow.ps by April 8, 2021.

Scope of Work

The assignment will be delivered on several stages with a total commitment of 45 hours. The first engagement is expected to start on April 20, 2021 and the full contract to be completed by September 30, 2021.


ABOUT US

With more than 35 years’ experience, Cowater International is Canada’s global leader in management consulting services specializing in international development and has managed the implementation of over 800 projects in more than 80 countries around the globe. We work with governments, partner organizations, communities and civil society to design and implement sustainable solutions that generate lasting social, financial and environmental impacts. Our adaptive approach to management has led to our award-winning work and recognition as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, Cowater International also has corporate offices in Montreal, Quebec; London, United Kingdom; Nairobi, Kenya; and Brussels, Belgium, in addition to project offices in a wide variety of other locations across Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

We thank you for your interest in building a better tomorrow with Cowater International.

Job Description: 
Location: 
Home Based & West Bank