Consultant - Innovation Center Sustainability Business Development

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Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions
into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.

Background:

Uganda is Africa’s largest refugee hosting country and one of the top five worldwide. As of January 2018, Uganda hosted 1.3 million refugees, most of whom have fled South Sudan’s conflict and unrest and settled in Uganda’s West Nile region. Cities and towns have sprung up overnight in remote communities of Bidibidi settelement. Cities and towns need stronger markets in order to support livelihoods of refugees over the long term. While livelihoods programming of development actors has focused on agriculture, it will take more than agriculture and income generating activities (IGAs) to build a diverse, sustainable economy that not only supports refugees but also integrates the host community. An Innovation Centre concept was originally fostered from the ReHope Pilot to develop alternative employment opportunities for refugee settlements. BRIDGE program aims to develop an Innovation Centre concept that improve access to employment and entrepreneurship through focus on social enterprises and technology. The project has a number of partners from the private sector to community-based organization to international NGOs that should work in strong coordination with one another. Two Innovation Centres have been built in Bidibidi refugee settlement. The first focuses on agriculture as a platform for developing farming as a business and off-farm microenterprise. The second focuses on technology and social enterprise to engage new opportunities for employment, with support around digital literacy, linkages to employment through a skills mapping and job placement platform, and engagement of existing and new social enterprise concepts that offer employment while also solving social challenges. The third innovation centre is based in Rhinocamp and focuses on agroforestry.

Purpose / Project Description:
Each Innovation Centre will support a start-up mindset engagement in agriculture, technology, environmental protection and social enterprise development through an interactive, collaborative space. Each Innovation Centre aims to develop its own revenue streams which potentially could, in the future, support the operations of the Innovation Centres over the long-term. A key activity for all three Innovation Centres is to develop a central brand and business model for the operations of the centres, responding to community needs, and defining key operational costs and potential revenues streams to support the long-term running of the centres. Each business model will sketch our revenue scenarios over a three-year operational period by the end of the BRIDGE project. The concept should stay responsive to what the surrounding communities require.

We’re looking for a consultant to work on the following objectives, activities and deliverables

Consultant(s) Objectives:

  • Develop working operational and business model that includes target clients, services offered, operational costs, revenue scenarios etc, of Technology/Social Enterprise/Agroforestry Innovation Centre for replication, taking into account work done by Innovation Village to map our potential management structures for the centers.
  • Mapping of potential partners that will contribute to each Innovation Centers branding and business strategy.
  • Define key operational costs and identify revenue scenarios over a three-year operational period of the three Innovation Centres
  • Develop an exit strategy for short term (end of January 2020) and long term (January 2023) that includes a sustainability plan.
  • Tracking key successes into a clear operational business model for Innovation Centres that can become self-sustaining to support scaling up of Innovation Centres across other geographies.
  • Work with a graphic design company to develop branding and promotional materials
  • Work with a Human Centered Design consultant and adopt learnings from the assessment that feed into sustainability planning.

Consultant Activities:

  • Feasibility research on proposed business models and management strategies with local community and business targets.
  • Identify how current project partners (Fuzu, CTEN, Innovation Village, HYT, Village Enterprise), market actors, and other Mercy Corps funded programming (STARRE + AMPERE), and potential partners could contribute towards sustainability planning.
  • Develop sustainability models to manage the Innovation Centres that draw on their areas of specialization to identify the most suitable for each Innovation Centre.
  • Identify operational costs and revenue streams to support the short and long-term running of the centres.
  • Develop a business model for the operations of the different centres. Mercy Corps’ staff members, community members (refugees and host community) should be involved in the development of this and feasibility study should be done to make sure the business model and brand will be adopted by the community. The feasibiltity studie should be conducted together with Human Centered Design consultant.
  • Develop a central brand for the Innovation Centers together with Graphic Design company.

Consultant Deliverables:

  • Presentation of initial findings for feedback from the Mercy Corps team before development of full reports
  • Business Case Analysis of different management models for each Innovation Centre including recommendations for which management model fits each centre. A sustainability plan with discrete and actionable steps toward long term viability should be included for each of the centres.
  • Marketing Strategy Report with central brand and business model for the operations of each of the centres including exit strategy for short term and long-term including recommendations to scale up the model across other geographies.
  • Feasability study of business model and brand within community of the centers

Timeframe / Schedule:

October-November

The Consultant(s) will report to:

Program Manager BRIDGE

The Consultant (s) will work closely with:

Program team, Innovation facilitators, BRIDGE Partners

Required Experience & Skills:

Mercy Corps is looking for one or multiple consultants who together meet the requirements below:

  • Minimum 8 years of experience in Business Development, including experience working in Uganda and particularly West-Nile
  • Bachelor’s degree required. M.A, M.S., M.Sc., or equivalent in International Development, Business Administration, Economics or related field is preferred
  • Demonstrated success in Business Development in a refugee setting
  • Demonstrated experience in identifying different business and management models in a complex development setting
  • Solid understanding of the current refugee situation in Uganda
  • History of working effectively and respectfully with host country government, private sector, INGO and NGO partners in complex environments.
  • Excellent analytical, research, writing and concise and compelling communication skills;
  • Fluency in written and spoken English is required.