RFP - Business Planning Assistance and Customized Business Development Services to nano/micro women enterprises in Karnataka

RFP - Business Planning Assistance and Customized Business Development Services to nano/micro women enterprises in Karnataka

Organization: UNDP

Apply By: 30 Sep 2022

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About the Organization

As the United Nations lead agency on international development, UNDP works in 170 countries and territories to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality. We help countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities, and to build resilience to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Our work is concentrated in three focus areas; sustainable development, democratic governance and peace building, and climate and disaster resilience.

About the Proposal

The programme aims to enable marginalized populations to identify and access meaningful long-term employment and local livelihood opportunities through facilitation of career guidance, transferable skills and digital skills, tailored local placement opportunities, opening-up of new job roles in traditional value chains for the educated new generation and a menu of measures including local mentorship and application of digital means for entrepreneurship. Similarly, PROGRESS plans to support robust outreach and implementation of national programmes at the district/subdistrict level through strengthening of the capacity of State Skill Missions/District Skill Committees, and capacity building of human resources.

The key planned outcomes of PROGRESS are

  • Effective implementation of national flagship policies and programmes with a focus on inclusion  
  • Youth and women make informed and aspirational vocational choices and transition into gainful employment and productive economic activities
  • Integrated model of sustainable local livelihoods promotion and resilience building

Under the aegis of programme PROGRESS, UNDP has been implementing multiple projects in partnerships with private sector, government and other foundation, bilateral and multilateral agencies.

Project Code Unnati: Empowering Youth and Women for Future Employability Skills and Entrepreneurship, is a partnership between UNDP, UNV and SAP Labs India, being implemented in three districts of Karnataka viz. Bangalore Rural, Dakshin Kannada and Raichur.

The project aims to improve access to entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for 17,000 youth and 5000 women, while also empowering them to make informed decisions. Across the two proposed target groups (youth and women), the interventions are working towards increased awareness, enhancing 21-century skills, employability, business skills capacity, facilitation of linkages to Internship/apprenticeship/job opportunities, mentorship support and nurturing the innovation potential of youth and women of rural and urban areas.

Project Pragati is a three-year partnership between UNDP & American Express to drive women economic empowerment in India. The project will enable women to make informed and aspirational vocational choices and transition into gainful employment and productive economic activities. The two key approaches are Enhancing Access to Apprenticeship and Employment Opportunities, Entrepreneurship Development and Accelerating Enterprise Growth. It is being implemented in Delhi NCR, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra/Gujarat/Madhya Pradesh with an objective to engage 31,000 women in gainful employment and productive economic activities.

 These project builds on UNDP’s experiences on youth and women empowerment globally and specifically in India, its deep engagement with the state government of Karnataka. It also incorporates the essence of SAP Labs India initiatives to make a meaningful contribution to communities, emphasising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In India, women constitute only 14 percent of the total entrepreneurs in the country (Sixth Economic Census, Government of India). Lack of awareness about opportunities, difficulty in market access and access to forward-backward business linkages, finance, lack of management skills and absence of mentorship and handholding support are some of the major challenges faced by the women who wish to start/scaleup enterprises.

 To address the above challenge, the creation of a community-based cadre of mentors for entrepreneurship promotion is a well-accepted methodology and has been included under various Government programs as local level women mentors for supporting rural women to start/scale their small businesses have proven to be highly effective. Similarly, UNDP also created ‘Biz-Sakhi’ Curriculum and training materials for certifying ‘Business Sakhis’ as Community Mentors for entrepreneurship promotion. The curriculum, jointly developed by UNDP, TISS, NIESBUD and NIRDPR, consists of two components - first, the psycho-social aspects of mentorship, that is very much needed for women to start enterprises, and second, the business support mentorship.

In addition to mentorship support, access to wide range of quality business development services (BDS) is crucial to steer women enterprises in a start-up/scale-up mode towards profitability and growth. These business development services can also support the felt need of many women entrepreneurs to scale up their enterprises by facilitating access for appropriate technology, machinery and equipment’s which will catapult their enterprises to higher growth orbit. Through multiple visits, UNDP has found that women are managing Papad, Pickle, Masala, Agarbatti, Agri trading, Oil, cereal, milk-based food products, other food products, paper cups, textiles, etc. and are able to achieve breakeven scale with their group of women workers. Most of these enterprises were started with SHG funds and support from other government programmes but they are struggling for scaling up. The business advisory support needs to be complemented with the skills to operate semi-automatic or automatic machines which can help them in increasing their productivity and package the product well to increase their marketability. The provision of equipments to the group enterprises will

  • Increase efficiencies and productivity. It will enable women to work faster and reduce manual and repetitive work.  
  • Improve safety and security. It will enable to women to work in a safer manner with less chances of injury as well as improve the hygiene during the production process.
  • Remain competitive. It will enable the women groups to compete in the market by reducing the unit cost and increasing standardization and uniformity of the product.  
  • Access to Vendor Support and Warranties. It will enable the women groups to know the vendor for better and repeat services.
  • Motivate others to purchase machines by seeing the growth of group enterprises

The basic premise behind combining the machinery installation to a few women enterprises with business development service providers is to create a demonstration effect within the different cohorts of women enterprises across the different districts. Each district will have one women group enterprise successfully operating the machinery and scaling up their enterprises which can be showcased to other enterprises.

UNDP already has a trained pool of 10 Master Trainers and a cadre of 125 Unnati Sakhis as per the Unnati Sakhi Curriculum, a customized version of the Biz-Sakhi Curriculum with respect to Karnataka state context and translated in Kannada. The ‘cadre of mentors – Unnati Sakhis’, from the local population in the project locations, encourage and mentor rural aspiring and budding women microentrepreneurs from their local communities towards entrepreneurial activities and handhold them in terms of business-related technical inputs and psycho-social support.

 The service provider is expected to leverage the Unnati Sakhi network and execute the program. UNDP team shall facilitate the discussion and on-ground connection.

UNDP in partnership with the Government of Karnataka has also developed Santhe Kaushalkar- a women self-help group and artisan profiling platform to create a digital identity for the existing women-led enterprises. Santhe Kaushalkar promotes women entrepreneurship and enables online outreach and market access to women enterprises.


 The assignment envisages to promote growth of existing women-owned micro/nano enterprises by providing targeted and tailored Business Development Services (BDS), including facilitating access to markets, finance, handholding support, technology, machinery and equipments for select enterprises. The aim is to provide need based customised expert Business Development Services (BDS) to 1,500 women entrepreneurs for improved turnover and profitability.

Expected Indicators of Success

Indicator 1: 70% or more women entrepreneurs who have been provided BDS support under the project confirm at least 1 out of the following two statements:

  • Received active BDS support and are satisfied with it
  •   Feel more confident and capable to take business decisions

Indicator 2: 20% of the women entrepreneurs who have been provided BDS support under the project report enhanced sales volume of at least 10% (to be verified against the baseline by the service provider and/ or the UNDP project team)

These will be gauged through a third-party impact evaluation study at the end of the project.


  • 2,000 women-owned nanoenterprises/ self-employed women identified, registered, oriented, baseline and business planning, BDS requirements collected
  • At least 1,500 women entrepreneurs (out of registered women enterprises) directly supported with one or more business development services
  • Supply-demand matching facilitated for at least 500 enterprises (out of 1,500 women enterprise)
  • Installation of machineries and equipment for 3 group enterprises
  • 4 communication videos (one for each enterprise) of less than 3 mins with 50 high-resolution photographs, 10 human interest stories, 2 blogs and one story of changes

Duration of the assignment

To be completed by September 31, 2023 (specific project deadlines will be decided once the service provider is onboarded).


  • A vendor should not be suspended, debarred, or otherwise identified as ineligible by any UN Organization or the World Bank Group or any other international Organization. Vendors are therefore required to disclose to UNDP whether they are subject to any sanction or temporary suspension imposed by these organizations.
  • It is the Bidder’s responsibility to ensure that its employees, joint venture members, sub-contractors, service providers, suppliers and/or their employees meet the eligibility requirements as established by UNDP.


30-Sep-22 @ 08:00 AM (New York time)

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