Request for Proposal: Consultancy for Provision of Business Advisory Services to MSMEs under the Investing in Women in the Blue Economy in Kenya Programme.

The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund 

The AECF is a leading African-owned and led development organization supporting innovative agribusiness and renewable energy enterprises to reduce rural poverty, promote resilient communities, and create jobs. AECF has raised over US$ 400 million to provide catalytic funding and technical advisory support to enterprises that struggle to meet traditional risk-return standards for commercial investors. In just over a decade, we have supported over 375 businesses in 26 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, impacted more than 30 million lives, created over 27,000 direct jobs, and leveraged US $771 million in matching funds.

We surface and commercialize new ideas, business models, and technologies designed to increase agricultural productivity, improve farmer incomes, expand clean energy access, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve resilience to the effects of climate change while also addressing the crosscutting themes of women, youth, and fragility. AECF is committed to working in frontier markets, fragile contexts, and high-risk economies where few mainstream financing institutions dare to go. In 2021, the AECF launched a refreshed strategy with the objective of building resilience and sustainable incomes for rural and marginalized communities in Africa.

Investing in Women in the Blue Economy in Kenya

Investing In Women in the Blue Economy in Kenya (IIW-BEK) is a five-year gender equality and economic inclusion programme (February 2022, to February 2027) being implemented by AECF with the generous support of Global Affairs Canada (GAC). The programme contributes to unlocking the potential for positive socio-economic and environmental outcomes in Kenya’s blue economy in Lake Victoria and the Indian Ocean regions.

The main goal of IIW-BEK is to contribute to enhanced economic empowerment of women and young women-owned enterprises, their suppliers, and those that produce for them along key supply chains where women are discriminated against in the blue economy in Kenya.

The programme seeks to:

  • Support women’s economic participation in non-traditional sectors of the blue economy.
  • Enhance private sector engagement of women as economic actors across the blue economy value chain.
  • Increase private and public sector investment in women and young women-owned Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
  • Reduce systemic gender inequalities that hinder women’s effective economic participation in the blue economy.

3. Purpose of the assignment

AECF is seeking the services of individual consultants – titled ‘business advisory service providers (BASPs)’ to support AECF’s investee companies in the Lake Victoria and Indian Ocean regions to formulate and prepare proper financial statements for their businesses and articulation of impact data. The BASP will offer localized guidance and support in delivering identified technical assistance solutions and implementing appropriate solutions tailored to the specific needs of the investees. The assignment will support businesses seeking to enhance their record keeping, preparation of financial statements, collection of impact data, and overall performance. The services will be delivered by BASPs, who will plug into the AECF’s Advisory Studio.

These terms define the scope, responsibilities, expectations, and deliverables of the engagement between the AECF and the selected BASPs. Successful service providers must demonstrate experience and understanding of the refugee context.

3.1 Specific duties and responsibilities (the “Services”) of the consultant  

The Consultant will be expected to deliver on the following assignment scope.

  • The Consultant will collaborate with the small-scale business to help them define and/or refine their business strategy, develop actionable steps for strategy implementation, and document this further in their business plans.
  • Further, the consultant will review the current books on small-scale business accounts and generate the financial statement for the last fiscal year. Technical assistance will be provided to help the teams understand the financial documentation process, outline financial management strategies, and develop forecasts for the next 18 months.
  • The business model and strategic plans will be assessed to provide initial pre-investment assistance based on the relevant support areas identified for the business. This could include enhancing operational processes, bookkeeping management, and go-to-market strategies.
  • The consultant will work with the investee to outline the risk mitigation strategies and ensure they have the necessary business and legislative compliance requirements.
  • The Consultant will articulate the AECF impact model to the investee and develop data collection tools to be used by the business to collect and report the impact data.
  • On an ongoing basis, the Consultant will work closely with the business to provide training and post-investment support sessions with the business to review the overall performance and solutions for challenges that may arise within the implementation period.

3.2 Specific deliverables 

The Consultant will work closely with each assigned business and deliver on the following deliverables/outputs at the enterprise level as outlined below:

  • Refined business plan with tangible milestones.
  • A minimum of one year historical financial statements.
  • An established bookkeeping practice to enable the business to track its performance.
  • Budget planning and monthly financial forecasts
  • Risk assessment and mitigation plan.
  • Weekly investee support report
  • Pre-approved weekly work plan on the activities with investees.

3.3 Duration of the assignment 

The assignment is expected to commence in May 2024 and is expected to be completed in 6 months.

3.4 Reporting 

The consultant will report to the portfolio officer responsible for the specific region, with a dotted line for the IAS unit.  The consultant will be required to submit a weekly work plan for approval before proceedings to the investees.

4. Proposal Submission 

Qualified individual consultants are invited to submit a detailed curriculum vitae, which includes the following:

  • A statement detailing understanding of the local MSME environment, approach, and methodology to undertake this assignment underpinned local knowledge and dynamics.
  • Previous experience in similar assignment(s) with MSMEs.
  • An indicative monthly fee and field costs (in KES).
  • At least 2 signed reference letters from previous assignments.
  • As per the Evaluation criteria.

5. Qualifications and Experience 

The consultant should possess the following skills and/or credentials:

  • At least a bachelor’s degree qualification in accounting and finance, development finance, economics, or other relevant fields of study.
  • ICT and computer skills preferred, with access to a laptop, internet and emails.
  • Demonstrated aptitude for, knowledge of, and agility with new learning technologies in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment.
  • Minimum of 1 year of experience working with MSMEs to provide training and capacity development approaches.
  • Knowledge of the development sector and, in particular, working in the focus regions is an added advantage.
  • Solid analytical, writing skills, and communication skills.
  • Experience working in a team and proven ability to deliver in a complex environment with multiple, divergent stakeholder interests.
  • Fluency in written and oral Kiswahili and English is essential. Fluency in local languages is preferred.
  • Consultant Must be domiciled in the following counties – Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, or Lamu.
  • Must have knowledge of data collection.

6. Key Competencies: 

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Proven creativity to innovative solutions finding.
  • Strong interest in collaborating with rural poor economies.
  • Ability to have a good relationship with diverse team members courteously and professionally.
  • In-depth understanding of Focus Regions, including key challenges and needs.

7. Evaluation Criteria

An evaluation committee will be formed by the AECF and may include employees of the businesses to be supported. All members will be bound by the same standards of confidentiality. The consultant should ensure 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 clarifications when evaluating proposals.

In deciding the final selection of a qualified bidder, the technical quality of the proposal will be given a weighting of 80% 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 20% and the proposals will be ranked in terms of total points scored.

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

Key Areas for Evaluation/ Assessment Weighted Award 
i) An understanding of the consultancy requirements; 10
ii) Methodology and work plan that will deliver the best value on the assignment: 30
iii) Relevant services undertaken by the bidder in past engagements:  30
·        Demonstrate relevant experience in providing automation solutions to MSMEs in fragile/refugee economies.

·        Experience in supporting MSMEs in fragile/refugee economies.

·        Experience in training teams.

·        Fluency in written and oral English is essential. Fluence in other local languages (Swahili, Arabic, Turkana, Somali) is an advantage.





iv) Detailed reference list indicating the scope and magnitude of similar assignments and at least 2 signed Letters of reference from past customers or associates to the consultant: 10
(B)  FINANCIAL PROPOSAL (Monthly Cost) 20
·        Clarity, relevance, and reality to market value/ value for money of cost for the assignment (inclusive of any applicable tax)


8. Application Details 

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, age, marital status, disability, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

To be considered, your proposal reference “CONSULTANCY FOR BUSINESS ADVISORY SERVICE PROVIDERS (BASPs) FOR MICRO SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (MSMEs) IN AECF FOCUS REGIONS” must be addressed to by 1700Hrs (EAT), 24th May 2024. The AECF shall not be liable for not opening proposals that are submitted with a different subject.

Please send your questions to the AECF procurement e-mail by 15th May 2024

9. Tax 

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

10. Disclaimer 

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.

The AECF does not charge an application fee for participation in the tendering process and has not appointed any agents or intermediaries to facilitate applications. Applicants are advised to reach out directly to the AECF Procurement Department.





About AECF

AECF (Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund) is a leading non-profit development organisation that supports innovative enterprises in the agribusiness and renewable energy sectors with the aim of reducing rural poverty, promoting resilient communities, and creating jobs.

We catalyze the private sector by surfacing and commercializing new ideas, business models and technologies designed to increase agricultural productivity, improve farmer incomes, expand clean energy access, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve resilience to the effects of climate change. We finance high-risk businesses that struggle to access commercial funding; we are committed to working in frontier markets, fragile contexts, and high-risk economies where few mainstream financing institutions dare to go.

To date, we have supported over 400  businesses in 26 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, impacted more than 30 million lives, created over 27,000 direct jobs, and leveraged US $771 million in matching funds.