Many of the economies across the EBRD (the “Bank”) countries of operations see relatively young populations, with high and rising rates of youth unemployment and underemployment. As such, integrating young people into the labour market and increasing youth entrepreneurship offers social benefits: entrepreneurs create jobs, increase innovation, raise competition and are responsive to changing economic opportunities and trends.
The EBRD has recently developed the Youth in Business Programme (“YiB” Programme) with the ultimate goal of promoting youth entrepreneurship by improving youth entrepreneurs’ access to finance and know-how, thereby promoting a strong Youth micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (“MSME”) sector.
Young people show significantly higher levels of entrepreneurial initiative than do adults; however, among operational enterprises, adult participation is substantially higher than that of youth (UN New York, 2020). While access to finance is one of the greatest challenges faced by MSMEs across the globe, the barriers imposed to young people can be even higher. The lack of capital, experience and information, as well as economic and market challenges, can impede youth inclusion in preferred businesses even when there is an expressed willingness to start-up a business and create sustainable economic opportunities.
Additionally, digital approaches to financial services are particularly relevant for increasing the financial inclusion of young people, who are often more familiar with and trusting of digital technologies and seeking greater flexibility and lower cost financial service solutions, however traditional banking and microfinance institutions have to date made only limited efforts to provide digital financial service solutions, or to utilise such solutions as part of a targeted offering for young people. Similarly, as the businesses of the future, it is important to understand the engagement of youth entrepreneurs with questions of sustainability, and use of and demand for green technologies and solutions.
Availability of data around youth entrepreneurship and youth entrepreneurs’ engagement with the financial services industry is very limited and complex to aggregate given (i) often misaligned definitions of what constitutes ‘youth’ (EBRD understands a ‘youth entrepreneur’ to be under the age of 35, where UN data looks at those under 25 and other programmes set boundaries at 30 or even 40); and (ii) that youth entrepreneurs have only recently emerged as an important group to be defined separately within the SME space.
The proposed Project aims to support the Bank’s operational activities in up to sixteen potential implementation countries: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Jordan, Tunisia, West Bank & Gaza and Turkey.
As part of the preparatory phase for the YiB Programme’s deployment in a given country or geography, a Consultant is sought to provide market assessments that will provide concrete and sub-segmented information, to the degree possible, on the youth landscape in each assigned country of operation. The market assessment results will serve EBRD to gain a more nuanced understanding of the local markets within financial and nonfinancial services for youth MSMEs and will improve the Bank’s strategic approach on the Programme implementation over its lifetime.
The market assessments will also provide the crucial data on the basis of which to successfully engage potential partner financial institutions (“PFIs”) (i.e. commercial banks and microfinance institutions) for participation in any future YiB Programme. Moreover, the Project aims to improve the PFIs’ understanding of the strategic opportunities presented by youth MSMEs on different segments in terms of (i) relevance, (ii) estimated market size and (iii) key characteristics, thereby helping shape and focus any follow-up capacity-building TCs provided to PFIs under YiB programmes.
The proposed TC is a support “tool” with a significant role in shaping the subsequent delivery approach of the Youth in Business Programme, and will explore and provide a research-based view on the youth MSME market in general.
Under each Assignment of the proposed TC, a Consultant will be procured to support with the following activities:
I. Market assessment
The consultant will undertake a market overview/segmentation study in general of the market of youth entrepreneurship in a particular geography, to identify segments from a functional and a behavioural perspective. Through a combination of desk research of publicly available information and interviews with key stakeholders, statistical estimates/models or survey approaches if feasible, the Consultant will compile relevant information on the MSME and youth MSME markets.
II. Knowledge sharing
Following finalisation of the Market Assessment Report, the Consultant will prepare and deliver a presentation of the methodology and findings of the Market Assessment for the Bank staff involved in the implementation of the Youth in Business programme and provide a summary methodological note that can be shared with consultants or EBRD stakeholders subsequently making use of the data.
The Consultant is expected to present the findings of the Market Assessment to stakeholders, upon request of the EBRD. The principal audience of these presentations is expected to be senior staff from within potential or current PFIs of the EBRD’s Youth in Business programme, or interested stakeholders.
The Consultant for this project will be selected by EBRD in accordance with the Bank's Corporate Procurement Policies (“CPP”), single stage competitive selection (4.1(b)) through an international competitive procedure based on invited proposals from a shortlist of qualified firms. Implementation will be undertaken through country or region-specific assignments under the wider project. The first Assignment will cover the Western Balkans region. The proposed TC project may be extended subject to project needs, satisfactory performance of the Consultant and the availability of donor funding. The selected Consultant will undertake a handover process with the consultant(s) leading the Technical Cooperation to PFIs assignment under the Youth in Business programme, briefing as required on the methodology, data, results and statistical limitations of the Market Assessment. The Market Assessment Consultant will not be prohibited from applying for the possible subsequent capacity building TC projects with PFIs subject to relevant EBRD requirements.
Further information regarding the EBRD’s approach to measuring transition impact is available here.
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Independent Project Accountability Mechanism (IPAM)
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