Following completion of a VC/market system assessment, a program can begin reaching out to prospective Lead Firms (LFs) who have shown incentives and interest to invest in the concerned sector. Some of these LFs will have been identified during the assessment and others can be identified through a “Request for Expression of Interest.” This subfolder includes tools and documents related to soliciting ideas and initiatives from LFs that will help them to improve their competitiveness as well as the products, services, support or market access they provide to targeted producers. It includes an “Invitation for Application” (IFA) which provides guidelines to the LFs on how they can collaborate with and apply to the program, a PPT presentation for a “pre-application meeting” to introduce the IFA and collaboration program to interested firms, and other documents that can be used by a project to engage the private sector.
2.1 Invitation for Application (IFA)
The IFA is handed out during pre-application meetings with LFs or forwarded directly to targeted LFs and invites them to submit ideas/initiatives to the program for collaboration activities. Spanning no more than 5 pages, it contains sections on what the program hopes to achieve, types of LF initiatives that could be supported, instructions for completing the application, a budget format, and eligibility requirements. Two examples are provided, one for agricultural and livestock input supply firms (Input Supply Markets) and another for buyers of agricultural/livestock Products (Output Markets).
Agricultural inputs can include seeds, crop protection products, fertilizers, agricultural equipment and tools. Livestock inputs include veterinary drugs and services, feed and feed supplements, breeding animals, and livestock tools and equipment.
Buyers of Agricultural products can purchase any crop (ex: vegetables, rice, beans, maize, etc.). These buyers can include food processors, exporters, traders, etc.
2.2 Pre-Application Meeting PPTs
This is a PPT presentation that can be used to present the program and the Invitation for Applications to LFs interested in collaboration (a hard copy of the IFA can be distributed at this time). The IFA is reviewed and LF activities that the program can and cannot support are discussed. The meeting is typically 2-4 hours. This is an effective activity for launching a market development program and spreading the word among firms while dispelling any misconceptions about the project’s role as a market development facilitator. Two examples are provided.
2.3 Request for Expression of Interest (REOI)
This is a public advertisement placed in local newspapers to invite qualified Lead Firms to express their interest in collaboration with the program. The REOI is often used in market development programs to attract additional Lead Firms to engage with the program, especially those that were not interviewed during an initial assessment.
2.4 Example Review Criteria/Checklist for LF Applications
This checklist helps program staff ensure that a Lead Firm’s application fulfills all the requirements for successful submission and further engagement.
2.5 Impact Logics (Results Chains)
Taking the form of a flow chart, these are conceptual representations that place engagement with a particular Lead Firm into perspective, to ensure that the initiatives proposed by the LF will generate results in line with those of the project (i.e. generating sustainable impact for producers). The impact logic explains the expected outcomes/impact on the LF’s proposed initiatives on the target population as well as the company itself.
2.6 Lead Firm Office/Site Visit Check-List
This document is used by project staff to conduct a due diligence visit to the LF’s office and/or the geographic area where they are proposing to conduct their initiative. In this way project staff can verify if the company is legitimate and/or if the information they have presented in their application is accurate. This document can also serve to document the “remoteness” of the LF’s target area (if that is a criteria for the program taking place).
2.7 Review and Status of LF Applications
This document can be used by project staff to track the applications submitted by LFs (in response to the IFA) as well as the status of those applications.