The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund - HQ

Request for Proposal-terms of Reference for Consultancy for Business Advisory Service Investing in Women in Nigeria Programme Implementation - May 2024

Last update: May 17, 2024 Last update: May 17, 2024


Application Deadline: May 26, 2024 Deadline has passed and no more applications are accepted
Category:Consulting services
Sectors:Environment & NRM, Gender, SME & Private Sector, Agriculture
Contracting Authority Type:Development Institution
Date posted: May 17, 2024


Associated Awards

There are no awards associated to this tender.

Project cycle timeline



Request for Proposal-terms of Reference for Consultancy for Business Advisory Service Investing in Women in Nigeria Programme Implementation - May 2024

Job Title: Request For Proposal-Terms Of Reference For Consultancy For Business Advisory Service Investing In Women In Nigeria Programme Implementation – May 2024

Closing date: 26/05/2024

  1. About the African Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF)

The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) transforms lives by providing investment funding and technical assistance to commercially viable businesses that improve the lives of rural communities.  AECF mobilizes donor funding to support early and growth-stage businesses in agriculture and renewable and clean energy sectors, with a focus on improving incomes and employment for rural and marginalized groups. AECF is a non-profit organization, with headquarters in Nairobi and operational centers in Nigeria, Somalia, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Sudan, and Côte d’Ivoire.

Launched in 2008, AECF has contributed to the livelihood resilience of rural and marginalized communities by catalyzing innovative private sector business models with patient capital and growth support services across Sub-Saharan Africa. AECF has raised and deployed US$ 392 million to date, providing catalytic funding to enterprises in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa by investing in businesses that struggle to meet traditional risk-return standards for commercial investors.

2. About the Investing in Women in Nigeria (IIW-Nigeria) Programme

The IIW-Nigeria Programme seeks to transform the roles of women operating in various agricultural value chains in Kano State, Nigeria, to increase incomes, improve climate resilience and transform livelihoods. The target will be businesses and cooperatives operating in the agricultural value chains that demonstrate high impact for women.

The programme seeks to:

  1. Improved business performance of climate smart, women owned/led SMEs and Cooperatives and sustainability of investees initiatives.
  2. Increased access to economic opportunities for women in climate-smart agriculture value chains in Kano state.
  3. Improved enabling environment and reduced systemic gender inequalities that women entrepreneurs and farmers face.

The IIW-Nigeria programme consists of the following main elements:

  • Matching Grant Competition – Funding will be in the form of non-repayable grants. Funding is subject to meeting the matching fund criteria and will be milestone based, where disbursements will be made on the achievement of mutually agreed milestones provided in the contract which must be achieved/delivered before proceeding to the next milestone payment stage.
  • Key Steps
  • Launch of the competition
  • Concept note submission.
  • Concept note shortlisting.
  • Business Plan Development
  • Screening and Due Diligence
  • Business Plan Shortlisting
  • Preparation of Investment Memoranda
  • Internal and External Investment Committee Reviews
  • Grant Awarding
  • Contracting
  • Window 2: Women groups/Cooperatives, 
  • Minimum fund award CAN $ 10,000
  • Maximum fund award CAN $ 50,000
  • At least 10% matching contribution in cash or kind
  • Duration of agreement: 2 years
  • Technical Assistance – IIW-Nigeria will deliver technical assistance on gender equality, human rights advocacy, business and management, climate-smart agriculture, and GAP.  The programme will foster partnerships and close coordination with multiple stakeholders. These include Business Membership Organisations (BMOs), Community-Based Organisations (CBOs), Women’s Rights Organisations (WROs), Financial Institutions (FIs) and Government Ministries and Agencies including Ministries of Agriculture, Women Affairs, Commerce, Industry and Cooperative Development, amongst others. 

3. Background and purpose 

The African Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) is managing the Global Affairs Canada (GAC) funded – Investing in Women in Nigeria (IIW-N) Programme. IIW-Nigeria aims to improve the economic opportunities of women in agricultural value chains in Kano, Nigeria. Over a five-year period, IIW-Nigeria will use a blended approach to invest in women-owned/led SMEs and Cooperatives as well as provide technical assistance and advocacy support to women operating within agricultural value chains.

This Terms of Reference (ToR) is developed to set out the scope of work and services for the selection of a Business Advisory firm that will work with potential Investees (women cooperatives) to guide them towards shaping their business ideas into a well-articulated concepts and business plans.

4. Main Challenge of Women Cooperatives

  • Most cooperatives are not cohesive units. Cooperatives are usually made up of a group of women, each doing her own thing.
  • Most cooperatives do not have governance structures or frameworks and there is hardly any re-election of leadership. This often leads to elite capture at leadership level.
  • Most Women Cooperatives in the agricultural sector are involved in primary production or early-stage processing (e.g., cleaning and drying of produce)
  • Most cooperatives in Northern Nigeria lack administrative and financial skills.
  • It would be challenging for cooperatives, as they are currently structured, to write concept papers and undertake strategic planning without technical support. 

5. Scope of Work

Under the overall supervision of the Programme Manager and in close consultation with the        Programme Officers, the Advisory Firm will undertake the following activities:

  • Undertake an initial eligibility screening of women cooperatives interested in joining the competition based on the eligibility criteria set by AECF and create a shortlist of a maximum of 150 cooperatives
  • Provide technical support to the women cooperatives (endorsed by AECF to proceed to the concept stage) to conceptualize their ideas and develop concept notes for their ventures and upload on to the AECF online competition portal.
  • Provide technical support to shortlisted cooperatives to prepare their detailed business plans and upload the plans on to the online competition portal.
  • Assist in educating the women cooperative groups on how to institute governance structures and frameworks to make the cooperatives viable and attractive for future grants and funding.

6. Deliverables

The Advisory Firm will be required to deliver the following:

  1. Provide a list of a maximum of 150 cooperatives shortlisted after the initial screening process together with a report outlining the basis for the selection of each of the cooperatives.
  2. Provide the list of cooperatives that indicated interest to participate in the competition but did not meet the selection criteria requirements
  3. Provide technical business advisory to 150 cooperatives to develop their concept notes and support them to upload the concept notes on the online platform
  4. Delivering business plans for 50 cooperatives selected by AECF to proceed to the business plan stage and uploading the business plans on the online platform
  5. Submission of a final report outlining the activities undertaken and the lessons learnt 

7. Duration of Assignment

The Assignment will be conducted in Kano, over a period of four (4) months from the pre-screening to the business plan stage.

Activity Pre-Screening Concept Note Business Plan
Number of Cooperatives 150 100 40
Working Days 10 20 30

A total of 60 working days is required from May 2024 to August 2024.

8. Qualifications Required

The firm should have the following experience, skills, and competencies:

  1. Firm must have at least 5 years’ experience providing business development support services to MSMEs in Nigeria (Profile to be provided).
  2. Firm must have at least 5 years’ experience conducting trainings or workshops for MSMEs, providing business advisory services including the preparation of Concept notes and business plans (Profile to be provided)
  3. Firm must have a lead consultant that has a minimum of 10 years’ experience working with MSMEs in Northern Nigeria in various capacities, especially in Kano (CV to be provided)
  4. Firm must have the required number of business advisors to support the assignment with a minimum experience of 3 years working with MSMEs, especially in Kano (CV’s to be provided)
  5. Experience in delivering qualitative activity/project reports
  6. Ability of staff to communicate in local language
  7. Experience working on micro-enterprise initiatives within the Agricultural Sector is required.
  8. Firm or relevant staff of firm have experience working on Climate Smart innovations within the Agricultural Sector (Profile or CV of staff to be provided)
  9. Knowledge of market systems interventions and linkages is a plus.
  10. Experience working with NGOs and international development agencies would be an added advantage.
  11. BDSP Certification / Practicing Licence for firm or associates will be an added advantage (Certificate(s) to be provided). 

9. Evaluation Criteria

An evaluation committee will be formed by the AECF. All members will be bound by the same standards of confidentiality. The consultant should ensure that they fully respond to all criteria to be comprehensively evaluated.

The AECF may request and receive clarification from any consultant when evaluating a proposal. The evaluation committee may invite some or all the consultants to appear before the committee to clarify their proposals. In such an event, the evaluation committee may consider such clarifications in evaluating the proposals.

In deciding the final selection of a qualified bidder, the technical proposal will be given a weighting of 70% based on the evaluation criteria. Only the financial proposal of those bidders who qualify technically will be opened. The financial proposal will be allocated a weighting of 30% and the proposals will be ranked according to the total points scored.

The mandatory and desirable criteria against which proposals will be evaluated are identified in the table below.

An understanding of the terms of reference  
   1. Demonstrate understanding of the assignment and expected outcomes. 10
Methodology and work plan that will deliver the best value on the assignment  
  1. Soundness and feasibility of the proposed technical approach and methodology that provide comprehensive assessments, reviews, recommendations and implementation findings and analysis to the investee needs in line with each item in the Scope of Work. 10
  2. Realistic and well-structured timeline, clear identification of deliverables and milestones, and coherence with the intended Scope of Work. 10
Qualification and Experience  
  1. Qualification and experience of the consultant/team and evidence of relevant certification   10
 2. Demonstrated experience and relevant services are undertaken by the applicant in past engagements with evidence links to previous work done / completion certificate. The experience should be linked to the Scope of Work and Target Regions. Provide skill sets and experience in aligning specifically to the Scope of Work. Please provide details of at least three (3) similar projects completed in the last(5) years  10
 3. All the required registration and certification document and at least 3 detailed signed reference letters of similar work done. 10
B.      FINANCIAL PROPOSAL: Detailed showing level of effort of the team, Clarity, relevance, and reality to market value/ value for money of cost for the assignment (inclusive of any applicable tax, reimbursable, and travel where applicable).  
  Total Score 100

10. Proposal Submission

Qualified business advisory firms are invited to submit the following:

  1. Up to date profile of firm outlining areas of expertise/experience as outlined in the qualifications section above.
  2. Up-to-date CVs of staff /associates dedicated to the project.
  3. List of similar assignments undertaken in the past, including assignments in Kano, Nigeriawhere applicable
  4. Maximum of 2 pages outlining the proposed methodology to deliver the assignment.
  5. Copies of professional certificates for the firm or associates if applicable
  6. References from two clients served related to the outlined areas of experience.
  7. As per the Evaluation criteria
  8. Financial and Technical proposal MUST be submitted as separate documents.
  9. Finacial proposal to be submitted in USD.

 11. TAX

AECF is obliged by the Kenyan tax authorities to withhold taxes on service contract fees as well as ensure VAT, at 16%, is charged where applicable. Applicants are advised to ensure that they have a clear understanding of their tax position with regards to provisions of Kenya tax legislation when developing their proposals.


The AECF is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The AECF considers all interested candidates based on merit without regard to race, gender, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, disability, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

Interested consultants are requested to submit their technical and financial proposal to by 26th May,2024, 5pm (EAT).

All questions should be directed to the procurement email by 21st May 2024

The subject of the email should be CONSULTANCY FOR BUSINESS ADVISORY SERVICE INVESTING IN WOMEN IN NIGERIA PROGRAMME IMPLEMENTATIONThe AECF shall not be liable for not opening proposals that are submitted with a different subject or responding to questions that did not meet the deadline as indicated.

AECF reserves the right to determine the structure of the process, number of short-listed participants, the right to withdraw from the proposal process, the right to change this timetable at any time without notice and reserves the right to withdraw this tender at any time, without prior notice and without liability to compensate and/or reimburse any party.

NB: The AECF does not charge an application fee for participation in the tender process and has not appointed any agents or intermediaries to facilitate applications. Applicants are advised to reach out directly to the AECF PROCUREMENT DEPARTMENT.