Request for Expression of Interest to Participate in a Training on SME Diagnostics and Upgrading organized by PIND Foundation

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1.         Introduction

The Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) is calling for expression of interest from Business Development Services Providers (BDSPs) based in the Niger Delta region interested in strengthening their enterprise development skills to indicate interest to participate in a training on SMEs Diagnostics and Upgrading. PIND and its partner, Development Alternative Inc. (DAI), is collaborating to strengthen the capacity of local BDSPs to assess the fundamental soundness of potential Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) partners, diagnose their support requirements and develop and implement bespoke improvement plans.


2.         Background

PIND is a non-profit Foundation established in 2010 with initial funding by Chevron to support a portfolio of socio-economic development programs for Niger Delta in order to improve standards of living of communities in the region. PIND supports projects in collaboration with a diverse range of donor partners including bilateral and multi-lateral aid agencies, federal and state government agencies in Nigeria, private companies and foundations. With an overarching goal of increasing income and employment in the region, the Foundation has four distinct but interrelated program areas. They are: an economic development program, a capacity building program, a peace building program and an analysis and advocacy program.


Under the economic development program area, PIND is promoting a Business Linkages Project (BLP), aimed at enhancing sustainable business relationships between SMEs and large companies operating in the Niger Delta region. Through the BLP, PIND hopes to ensure stronger market connections (between SMEs and Larger firms) and a better functioning private sector which will result in more participation (in corporate markets) and growth for Niger Delta SMEs through increased markets and competition. For large companies it means cheaper more competitive prices, better quality goods and services, and greater community participation in their operations and business.


Analysis undertaken by the BLP team shows that there is significant opportunities to support local SMEs to build the competency to access corporate markets, in a range of areas including catering services, marine services, cleaning of vessels and installations, environmental cleaning, transportation, construction and fabrication, etc.  However, increased participation is constrained by current low levels of technical and managerial efficiency which prevent local SMEs from meeting the quality and other procurement specifications of large companies. Findings show that these constraints are rooted, mainly, in the weak supporting market for business development services. There is an emerging business upgrading services sector in the Niger Delta, but PIND assessments have shown that the quality of providers varies significantly, and that the sector requires significant widening and deepening if it is to effectively meet the needs of SMEs.


3.         Objectives of this Activity

This Expression of Interest (EOI) aims at selecting highly qualified and experienced BDSPs to participate in a training program to build their capacity and skills in SME diagnostics and upgrading so as to better support SMEs in their quest to access corporate markets.

The training is expected to achieve the following objectives:

  • Strengthen the capacity of local business development services providers to assess the fundamental soundness of potential SME partners, diagnose their support requirements and develop and implement bespoke improvement plans
  • Specifically, build the capacity of selected BDSPs to use the Picking Sound Companies (PSC) and Company Diagnostics (CD) SMEs Diagnostics tools through classroom training  combined with practical hands-on coaching sessions
  • Build the capacity of selected local BDSPs to appropriately price their services and offer them directly to SMEs and corporate organizations, taking into cognizance, SMEs’ stage of growth, needs and ability to pay.

4.       Prospective participants


a)         Technical capability and location: interested BDSPs must have strong foundation in financial analysis and must be located in any of the Niger Delta states

b)        Detailed company profile and CVs of consultants with list of verifiable previous relevant experiences in SME development must be provided.

c)         In addition, all respondents MUST show the following which will be the basis for short-listing:

d)        Copies of registration certificates and/or business licenses,

e)         Outline of key references (proven track record related to SME development) and relevant qualification.

f)         Willingness and ability to offer the training product commercially to SMEs and corporate organizations. Applicants should show how they intend to reach other SMEs

5.         Additional Conditions for consideration:

  • Only candidates who can demonstrate their competence and willingness to provide the training product commercially in their proposal will be selected, in addition candidates should be able to identify an SME it could use for the practical sessions. Upon completion of the training, successful trainers will be certified to offer the service and provided with the diagnostics tools. PIND will assist the trained BSPs to deliver initial diagnostics and upgrading services to SMEs enrolled in its business linkages program by offering cost sharing incentives to the SMEs for certified service providers.
  • While PIND will provide training resources, facilitators and training venue, participants will be responsible for their accommodation and transportation throughout the course of the training. Full attendance at the training is mandatory.

6.         Training schedule and proposed training date

The core training will take place over one week (5 days).  Each of the trained BDSPs will then participate in assessments of SMEs that must have been shortlisted for the PSC and CD assessments. It is anticipated that the training will take place in Warri or Port Harcourt. Tentatively, the core training has been scheduled for the week starting 30th June while the practical assessment of SMEs will commence the week after.  Service providers must be available for both weeks.

7.         Application and submission

Expression of interest should be sent by email and must address justification for participation, previous and current engagements/experience, organizational affiliation (if any), how skills gained will be used and any other information viewed by an applicant to be useful in helping PIND make a decision on participation.

8.         Point of Contact; 0817 206 4605 or;

Deadline for submission: 16th June, 2014.

Only successful candidates will be contacted

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