New Request For Proposals (RFP): Consultancy Services

New Request For Proposals (RFP): Consultancy Services

RFP Number: ICTEC-2019-003
Issuance Date: 08.07.2019
Deadline for Offers: 29.07.2019
Description: Consultancy Services
For: Moldova ICT Excellence Center Project
Funded By: United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Government of Sweden, Contract No. AID-117-A-15-00002
Issued By: National Association of ICT Companies (ATIC)
Point of Contact: achirita@ict.md, contact person Ana Chirita

Please find the full RFP here.

SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION AND INSTRUCTIONS TO OFFERORS

1.1 Acronyms and Definitions

ATIC National Association of Private ICT Companies
ADS USAID Automated Directives System
CFR United States Code of Federal Regulations
Cooperating Country Moldova
FAR United States Federal Acquisition Regulation
RFP Request for Proposals
US United States
USAID United States Agency for International Development
USG United States Government
VAT Value Added Tax

1.2 Introduction

The National Association of ICT Companies (ATIC) is soliciting proposals from eligible and responsible firms to offer consulting services as described in the Annex 1. The ICTEC Project is a USAID program implemented by the National Association of ICT Companies (ATIC). The project will be implemented as a private-public partnership (though Global Development Alliances instrument (GDA)), between the Moldovan Government, private industry, academia and donors. The private partners include multinational companies, IBM and Microsoft, and also Moldovan Association of ICT Companies (ATIC) members that are local (operated) ICT companies. The private partners will bring significant new resources, ideas, software, technologies and development activities, such as trainings, practical assignments, and mentorship. The private sector partners will have the chance to use the center to communicate with the university, SMEs, startups, professionals and contribute to the curricula improvement answering the market needs, as well as the improvement of the IT and entrepreneurship ecosystem that will lead to the economic growth of the country. The Government of Moldova supports this project at the highest level of the Prime Minister, and the partners include Ministry of ICT, Ministry of Education, and E-Government Center. The space will be provided by the Technical University, as part of the Government commitment to this project. The e-Government Center will use the center as a training and capacity building resource for the public e-transformation and IT managers.

The goal of the project is to establish and operate a fully functional and sustainable ICT Excellence Center in Moldova. The activity will establish and manage a physical facility for the Center, provide for appropriate equipment and staff, and organize trainings and services to students and IT sector workers related to information and communications technology (ICT). Over 1,000 beneficiaries are expected to receive relevant training per year. As a result of the project, the skills of the Moldovan work force and the ICT industry in Moldova will be improved, as well as encourage entrepreneurship.
The overarching goal of the ITCEC is to ensure maximum impact on Moldova’s economy though enhancing the educational capacity and research potential of the higher education institutions in line with industry needs; hence achieving quantitative and qualitative increase in qualified IT professionals and ICT skills, and nurturing successful technology startups based on modern ecosystem and world-class sales and marketing force. The project will contribute to growing competitiveness of the ICT industry and of other economic sectors, overall, given the enabling role of technologies in economic and societal development.
The main vision of the IT Center of Excellence is to contribute to the economic development of Moldova by providing:

• World-class education and training facilities, with up to date curricula, lecturers and laboratories
• Associated business development assistance
• Relevant research and development capabilities
• The main project objectives are listed below:
• offering education and assistance in capacity building for teams willing to develop and grow a business in IT
• offering orientation to individuals who see themselves as future entrepreneurs
• identifying different mindsets to create teams and work together on building products
• linking people, linking ideas to people, funds, mentors, investors
• assist successful projects in exiting the market
• encourage and assist projects, products, teams to be present on the international camps, meeting with investors, etc.
• get affiliated to international hubs, innovation centers, camps (such as google camp).
• encourage women/girls to participate in entrepreneurial activities.

The Tekwill Project follows the following objectives:

 

One of the Project main directions relates to ENTREPRENEURSHIP ENCOURAGED

The purpose of this component is to ensure instigation of the entrepreneurship community and development of technology startups and products. Apart from delivering value to the ICT industry, startups have a direct impact on the cities they make their homes. Employment opportunities for youth increases and new employment patterns arise. Entrepreneurship will also give local youth new opportunities to pursue and retain the talent in the country.

As with workforce development activities, ATIC intends to start entrepreneurship events and educational programs earlier. Entrepreneurship programs will target, first of all, students and recent graduates, so that it benefits the university and the academic world. Of the Center is intended to benefit about 1,000 youth (in workforce, entrepreneurship and other capacity building programs) on an annual basis, and accelerate about 20 startups during the life of the project.

The Center will play an active role in defining and designing the proper IT entrepreneurship Ecosystem. It will serve as a meeting, idea and experience sharing platform, in order to connect ideas to people and to financing. The first set of offerings are planned to be entrepreneurial education programs and events (such as hackathons, encouraging innovative thinking and new product development), followed by business acceleration and funding programs. The Center will assist the startups in attracting additional funding and exiting the country. The potential list of tech entrepreneurship activities is presented below:

• B2B activities- these activities aim at consolidating the IT offer towards non IT users, help the SMEs understand the role of IT and identify and adopt new tools. SMEs will be invited to participate in events and B2B meetings, get acquainted with some promo zones.
• Startup Events- a continuous series of startup events, pitches and idea generation events will take place in the Center. These events will be directed towards the students, but also to IT professionals and freelancers.
• Mentorship programs- The ideas and teams with great potential will be included in specific mentorship and coaching programs. They will be supported by the Center’s staff and attracted experts to develop, market, promote, grow, sell their products and services.
• Advisory programs and activities- Businesses will be advised in terms of educational programs, trainings, marketing programs, sales programs, and other.
• Networking activities- these activities aim at consolidating the community, getting to know each other, increasing the visibility of the industry and its players. Some of the networking events will bring together the companies and students to create a stronger connection between the available specialists and potentially their future employers.
• Developing Markets program- the center will act as a connecting point between Moldovan IT entrepreneurs and angel investors, investment funds, etc. It will highly encourage and support the participation of the IT companies and startups at various international events, fairs, conferences, campuses, etc.
• Interoperability labs- the center will aim to provide space for the entrepreneurs in the first year to test their new products with various systems and products. As with the scalability and architectural review, this support will prevent delays and cost overrun.

1.3 Questions and Requests for Clarifications

Questions regarding the technical or administrative requirements of this RFP may be submitted no later than July 20, 2019, 18:00 local Chisinau time by email to achirita@ict.md. Questions must be submitted in writing; phone calls will not be accepted. Questions and requests for clarification—and the responses thereto—that ATIC believes may be of interest to other offerors will be circulated to all RFP recipients who have indicated an interest in bidding.

Only the written answers issued by ATIC will be considered official and carry weight in the RFP process and subsequent evaluation. Any verbal information received from employees of ATIC or any other entity should not be considered as an official response to any questions regarding this RFP.

1.4 Offer Deadline

Offerors shall submit their expression of interest to participate and propose offers until July 29, 2019 via e-mail to achirita@ict.md, cc cdamaschin@ict.md.
Offerors shall submit their offers in hard-copy and/or electronically.

Hard-copy offers must be received no later than July 29, 2019, 17:00 at the following address:
In attention of Mrs. Ana Chirita,
Strategic Projects Director
Str. Studentilor 9/11

Emailed offers must be received by the same time and date at the following address:
In attention of Mrs. Ana Chirita,
Strategic Projects Director
achirita@ict.md
cc Corina Damaschin, Project Assistant
cdamaschin@ict.md
Offerors are responsible for ensuring that their offers are received in accordance with the instructions stated herein. Late offers may be considered at the discretion of ATIC.

ANNEX 1: DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS

Over the past 3 years of the project, within the Tekwill project, ATIC has aimed to support startups and encourage entrepreneurship initiatives aiming at boosting and fostering the development of the startup ecosystem in Moldova as a whole. With the support of USAID and Government of Sweden, within the Tekwill project, ATIC has provided assistance to over 300 different teams, and organized over 300 initiatives in the area of entrepreneurship.

Taking into consideration the past experience, within the Project, ATIC called for an independent opinion related to further support to be provided to the startups/teams in order to maximize existing effects. ATIC subcontracted an external consultant with experience in the area of business support services/entrepreneurship development that conducted a market study that discovered the following startup needs:

1. More b2b and ecosystem events with a high focus on quality;
2. Investors matching with local startups;
3. Professional counselling;
4. Idea validation crash courses;
5. Fostering startups international participation at events;
6. Need for continuous media coverage;
7. Need for local seed funding capacity;

The full report is included in the Annex 2.

Based on the conclusions of the report, ATIC concluded that is necessary to facilitate the creation of two programs that will be fully focused on achieving the local startups needs. First, there is enough indication from startup community stakeholders that an umbrella organization should be established to foster the development of the ecosystem. Based on positive results of similar organizations in Chile, Poland, Lithuania, such organization should be called Startup Moldova. Secondly, to enable local tech entrepreneurs to resist the cashless periods of idea validation and pivoting stages, a seed fund should be structured. The role of the fund would be channel financial resources to startups in need.

Taking into account that to design both projects, Startup Moldova and Seed Fund to be both impactful and sustainable, is a complex and challenging task, ATIC seeks an independent consultant/consulting company, that will assist in designing both projects.

The assignment is expected to take place in Moldova and cover the following iterations:
1. Structure of the startup ecosystem in Moldova (number of startups, key stakeholders, other based on the consultant’s opinion)
2. Define the types and areas of tech related startups in Moldova (based on stage of development, based on industry vertical, stage of investment if applicable, other to be defined by the consultants)
3. Use the provided data by the report startups in Moldova- needs and challenges, and mapping various areas/categories of support that can be provided to the tech startups in Moldova (address main issues that the startups are facing in Moldova- human capital, business development, access to finance, knowledge, other)
4. Deliver a report on potential future startup support activities for the Moldovan market (areas of capacity development, business support, market development, and other).

Based on existing facts and findings included in Annex no.2, as well as on the completed comprehensive assignment, cover:
• Existing Startup supporting initiatives in Moldova;
• Existing Startup financing/investment mechanisms;
• Identify existing similar programs oversees and their assessment on international scene (for eg. Startup Chile, Yozma in Israel, Startup Nation, Paris and Co, TechUK, etc), including, but not limited to form of organization, stakeholders, model of operation, services provided, target groups, marketing strategies (including international exposure), other relevant for a best suitable model to be developed.
• Based on the above assumptions, develop the overall descriptive concept of Startup Moldova Program and Seed Fund
• Propose on best solution in keeping both projects separate or merging them;
• Creating a draft roadmap for both projects kickoff, including actions, budgets, and other resources involved;
• Designing the modus operandi and detailing the list of core activities for both projects (services, programs, etc);
• Developing a business plan that will secure the sustainability of the initiatives, separate or merged based on consultant’s opinion;
• Determine the main stakeholders and value-added partners;
• Design of the international marketing strategy;

Deliverables:
1. Report concluding the above
2. Current situation assessment
3. Stakeholders description and assessment
4. Partners description and assessment
5. International experience and case studies
6. Recommendations for the local startup ecosystem
7. Tentative budget of implementation
8. List of services to be provided by both projects
9. International marketing plan (suggestion)
10. Other, in case determined to reach a maximum impact

The selected organization/independent consultant is expected to prepare a final presentation report, as well as a public presentation. The assignment is expected to commence no later than 10 days after selecting the consultant/provider and end preferably no later than 60 days after it was initiated.

All interested candidates (consultants and consulting companies) are expected to have prior experience in business support activities, consultancy, market research; IT market knowledge would be considered a plus. The results of the assessment will be used to develop Startup Moldova .