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Croatia Women in Business: Technical Cooperation Programme

 | Published July 1, 2015  -  Deadline July 22, 2015
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Assignment Description: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the "EBRD" or the "Bank") is launching the Croatia Women in Business ("WiB") Programme (the "Programme") in Croatia to:
• Support women-led Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises ("Women-led SMEs") in accessing finance for their sustainable growth;
• Develop sustainable credit mechanisms targeted to Women-led SMEs through technical assistance to financial intermediaries in the country; and
• Support Women-led SMEs in accessing know-how, non-financial business development services and networking opportunities.

The EBRD’s financing package will be provided to Participating Financial Institutions ("PFIs") and will also be combined with technical cooperation ("TC") package for PFIs with links to the EBRD’s Small Business Support ("SBS") Programme specifically targeting Women-led SMEs.

The 2011 Global Partnership Financial Inclusion ("GPFI") shows a global unfunded credit gap of over USD 300 billion per annum for by Women-led SMEs to sustain and grow their businesses. The financing gap, in particular, is a major obstacle to the development of start-ups, as well as to the transition of Women-led SMEs from micro and small to medium-sized businesses. Lack of adequate finance (caused by short term financing, excessive collateralization, etc) coupled with specific behavioral attitudes and limited access to know-how, curb the growth potential of Women-led SMEs, de-facto constraining them to the micro and small segments of MSMEs and often in low value-added, low productivity sectors.

The Programme is structured to narrow the above mentioned gap and address the mismatch through an integrated approach to both credit supply side (PFIs) and credit demand side (Women-led SMEs). The Bank now wishes to engage a consultant (the "Consultant") to provide assistance to Croatian PFIs by strengthening their capacities to effectively reach out to Women-led SMEs, conducting baseline studies, ensuring synergy between the Programme components, and support general Programme management functions (the "Assignment"). The selected Consultant is expected to provide, among others, consultancy services as follows:

Component 1: Dedicated Women in Business Financing - Support Women SMEs in accessing finance for their sustainable growth:
(a) Undertake specific baselines assessments at each PFI (MSME loan portfolio, product, organisational and process reviews). Both supply and demand factors influencing women-led SME' access to finance should be analyzed aimed at providing recommendations how PFIs can improve their delivery of financial products and services to Women SMEs and fulfilling research requirements. Programme impact will be monitored and measured against the baselines;
(b) Assist with the Bank' policy dialogue activities in related areas.

Component 2: Technical Co-operation component - Develop sustainable credit mechanisms to enable PFIs to develop and deliver financial products and services tailored to Women SMEs – Institutional capacity building:
(a) Provide and implement comprehensive institutional capacity building measures tailored to the needs of PFIs taking into consideration the results of the baseline assessment and international best practices (including integration of IT/MIS elements);
(b) Provide bank staff training to specifically address the target group needs;
(c) Develop, test and deliver new products specific and tailored to the target group;
(d) Assist PFIs in marketing and outreach to the target group;
(e) Provide general Programme management and administration support functions.

It is expected that up to 4 PFIs will participate in the TC Programme.

Component 3: WiB Small Business Support ("SBS") component - Support to Women SMEs in accessing know-how, non-financial business development services and networking opportunities:
(a) Facilitate WiB activities jointly with PFIs and the Programme’s SBS component for Women SMEs during which it will provide referral services to Women SMEs and implement other measures to ensure synergies between the Programme components;
(b) Organize a number of information sharing, dissemination, marketing and outreach activities through a series of Women in Business seminars designed to improve women’s access to financial information and PFIs first-hand understanding of this segment’s client base.

The outcome of the Assignment is expected to be the promotion of women entrepreneurship by improving women entrepreneurs’ access to finance and know-how and promoting a strong women SMEs sector in the country.

Status of Selection Process: Interested firms or groups of firms are hereby invited to submit their expressions of interest.

Assignment Start Date and Duration: The Assignment is expected to start in September 2015 and has an estimated overall duration of 24 months.

Cost Estimate for the Assignment: EUR 230,000.00 (exclusive of VAT). Subject to availability of funding, the performance of the selected Consultant and the specific needs of the Bank, the Assignment may be extended beyond the current scope.
The Consultant must determine whether any VAT would be chargeable on the services and the basis for that determination, without taking into consideration the special status of the Bank as an IFI and state this to the Bank in their response to the Invitation for Expressions of Interest. To the extent that a Consultant incurs input VAT on goods and services purchased in connection with the provision of services (e.g. VAT on airline ticket) which is not otherwise recoverable by the consultant from the local tax authority, the gross cost to the consultant of such expenses shall be treated as a reimbursable expense.

Funding Source: The expected sources of funding for the Assignment are (i) EUR 100,000.00 through Taiwan Business – EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund and (ii) EUR 130,000.00 through the EBRD’s donor-funded Technical Cooperation Funds Programme (yet to be determined).

Eligibility: There are no eligibility restrictions.

Consultant Profile: Corporate services are required. The Consultant will be a firm or group of firms with:
- Substantial experience of implementing SME lending schemes at commercial banks in emerging markets and similar operating environments;
- Prior experience conducting portfolio and institutional analysis in financial institutions;
- Prior experience delivering technical assistance to commercial banks to improve their capacity to target the women SME segment;
- Ability to implement multi-faceted TC projects of similar size, complexity and duration with the structured approach to upscale and downscale the level of engagement in the field depending on the Programme needs;
- Knowledge of the banking and SME sector across the Balkans region will be advantage but not an absolute requirement;
- Demonstrable skills and abilities to work particularly with Women-led SMEs through banks and directly;
-Prior experience conducting policy dialogue activities in related areas.

The Consultant is expected to follow a tailored approach based on the needs of each PFI.

It is desirable that the Consultant has an office presence in the country. Certain tasks (e.g., surveys) may be outsourced (sub-contracted) to other firms. However, the Consultant will remain ultimately responsible for all activities and outputs under the Assignment.

It is expected that the Consultant's team of key experts will consist of the minimum following key experts:

Key Expert 1: Project Manager: Proven track record in successfully managing the implementation of SME lending schemes at commercial banks in emerging markets and similar operating environments, including in managing multi country/complex programmes; excellent communication, training, presentation and linguistic skills; Proven experience in negotiating with third parties including banks, associations, ministries, regulatory authorities and other stakeholders on behalf of International Financial Institutions; proven track record working on women entrepreneurship and women’s access to finance ; relevant language skills will constitute an advantage.

Key Expert 2: Senior Women in Business Financing Expert(s): Proven track record as a gender specialist in emerging markets and in similar operating environments, in particular in gender institutional development in the financial sector/commercial banks. It is envisaged that the gender specialist(s) will advise the Senior Banking Experts on gender analysis of banks’ portfolio, institutional strategies, business models and delivery mechanisms to reach out to women-led SMEs; Extensive knowledge on the challenges that women-led SMEs find in accessing finance in emerging markets and similar operating environments; proven skills in qualitative research and gender institutional analysis; experienced trainer in gender; ability to negotiate with a wide range of stakeholders, including associations, ministries, regulatory authorities and other stakeholders; analytical, facilitation and communications skills; relevant language skills will constitute an advantage.

Key Expert 3: Senior Communications and Marketing Manager(s) with project experience related to the implementation of marketing and sales in commercial banks to advising them on the factors contributing to successful product development or refinement based on market forces and strategic goals. It is envisaged that the expert(s) would be local with a lead expert acting as overall co-ordinator of the marketing program including to banks and liaise closely with local banking experts; analytical, facilitation and communications skills; relevant language skills will constitute an advantage.

Key Expert 4: Senior Banking Experts with proven track record in implementing SME lending schemes at commercial banks in emerging markets and similar operating environments, including in implementing multi country/complex programmes; hands-on knowledge and experience of working in commercial banks in the Eastern Partnership countries will constitute an advantage. It is envisaged that the expert(s) will be directly liaising with PFIs on an ongoing basis; analytical, facilitation and communications skills; relevant language skills will constitute an advantage.

Key Expert 5: Senior IT/MIS Specialist with practical experience in helping commercial banks in emerging markets and similar operating environments in implementing SME lending schemes, including in multi country/complex programmes; project work involving gender related tasks would constitute and advantage; analytical, facilitation and communications skills; relevant language skills will constitute an advantage.

Submission Requirements: In order to determine the capability and experience of consulting firms, the information submitted should include the following:

a) Brief overview of the firm/group of firms including company profile, organization and staffing.
b) Details of required experience of firm or group of firms and related assignments undertaken in the previous five years, including information on contract value, contracting entity/client, project location/country, duration (mm/yy to mm/yy), expert months provided, assignment budget, percentage carried out by consultant in case of association of firms or subcontracting, main activities, objectives;
c) CVs of key experts who could carry out the Assignment detailing qualifications, experience in similar assignments, particularly assignments undertaken in the previous five years, including information on contracting entity/client, project location/country, duration (mm/yy to mm/yy), expert months provided, assignment budget, main activities, objectives.
d) Completed Consultant Declaration Form and Contact Sheet, the template for which is available from the following web-link: http://www.ebrd.com/pages/workingwithus/procurement/notices/csu/contact_sheet.doc .

The above information should not exceed 20 pages, excluding CVs and Consultant Declaration Form and Contact Sheet.

The complete expression of interest (including CVs and Contact Sheet) shall be one file (pdf or Word), not exceeding 4MB, to be uploaded to eSelection. The EBRD reserves the right to reject applications of firms submitting more than one file. Only if the permissible file size is exceeded, the Consultant may split the expression of interest into further files.

Expressions of interest shall be submitted in English through eSelection and not directly to the contact person given below, to reach the Bank not later than the closing date for submissions indicated above.

Bank Contact Person:
Ms Georgia Vasiliadis
Principal Advisor, Technical Cooperation Team
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
One Exchange Square
London EC2A 2JN
Tel: +44 20 7338 7750
Fax: +44 20 7338 7451
E-mail: vasiliag@ebrd.com
(Submissions should be sent through eSelection and NOT to this email address)

Notes:
1. Following this invitation for Expression of Interest, a short list of qualified consultants will be formally invited to submit proposals. Consultant selection and contracting will be subject to availability of funding.

2. Evaluation of the Expressions of Interest will be based on the following criteria and their respective weightings:
a) Firm’s experience in successfully managing the implementation of SME lending schemes at commercial banks in emerging markets and similar operating environments, including in managing multi country/complex programmes and the development and marketing of financial products - 25%
b) Firm’s experience in emerging markets and similar operating environments of gender institutional development in the financial sector/commercial banks and product development that addresses gender inequalities in terms of women’s access to products/services – 25%
c) Firm’s experience working in the Balkans region or similar environments – 10%
d) CVs of key experts with relevant experience as per the key expert descriptions give above. Language skills from the Balkans region will constitute an advantage – 40%

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Small Contracts Award (dir,cqs,indv,sss) Small Contract Award Notice Croatia Project: P145171 - Social Protection System ModernizationProject Report Period: 03-Nov-2014 - 24-Nov-2014 Awarded Firm/Indv. : Joint Venture Ericsson Nikola Teslad.d. Craotia BBRZ Austria ? Vocational Training and Rehabilitation Centre and Infodom d.o.o. Croatia Address: Contract Signature Date:18-Nov-2014 Method ofProcurement: CQS- Selection Based On Consultant's Qualification Price: EUR 124,028.50 Duration: 3.00 Month(s) Summary Scope of Contract: Design of the business processes and the business software of theInstitute for Disability Certification, Professional Rehabilitation, and Employment of Persons with Disability (IDCPREPD)