Access to Finance (A2F) Consultancy Firm

As a part of the Traction camp program, m-Lab East Africa is seeking an experienced consultancy firm on a long term consultancy basis based in East Africa to create, build and coordinate a relationship between growth stage digital entrepreneurs and a network of investors in East Africa Region with the objective of enabling the entrepreneurs secure financial resources from the investors.

The m:lab East Africa is commencing the selection process through the release of this TOR. Qualified firms are invited to respond to this REOI. Selected firms will then be asked to submit a combined technical and financial proposal, meeting the requirements of the TOR.

Project Description

The World Bank through infoDev will support m:lab East Africa, in order to enable it to extend its capacity and service portfolio to launch globally competitive, growth-oriented, mobile and digital technology businesses and further position it as a regional hub for the advancement of digital entrepreneurship.

The project activities build upon earlier pilots of T&C’s Digital Entrepreneurship Program (formerly Mobile Innovation Program), which designed, tested and derived lessons from 13  mobile business enablers (a network of five mLabs and eight mHubs) in Asia, Africa, ECA and the Caribbean.A key output of this project will be strengthening m:lab East Africa’s ability to serve growth-oriented (GO) entrepreneurs, particularly in regards to acceleration.

Traction Camp program will help the mLab; identify GO entrepreneurs, help them build links to wider value chains, enter new markets, secure finance and build a team to reach scale.The project team will provide technical assistance on the acceleration curriculum that is designed to improve the marketability of GO startups to early-stage financiers through emphasis on strengthening business and financial models, and outlining preparations for the capital raising process through detailed coursework on entrepreneurial finance.

Other project activities include business advisory and technical assistance to startups.

Project Development Objectives

The Traction Camp program objectives are:  

  1. Support rapid refinement of business models towards scalability and expansion

  2. Facilitate human capital development among core startup team members

  3. Increasing investment readiness of entrepreneurs

  4. Enable startups to design effective monetization and customer acquisition strategies

To increase investment readiness of entrepreneurs, m:lab East Africa will also organize several A2F activities to prepare entrepreneurs for the capital raising process, including term sheet negotiations and contracts.

Scope of work

Access to finance is an acute issue for many entrepreneurs. Due to perceived risks of investing in early-stage firms, few investors in Kenya are focused on investing in this space and the spread of capital tends to be focused on seed and growth stage startups, with very little available at idea and prototype stage.

According to a 2014 GSMA report, entrepreneurs cited difficulty in accessing finance and investors cited difficulties in sourcing investible opportunities since many start-ups lacked proper team structure, traction, and managerial skills. In addition to activities focused on strengthening a start-up’s business model and sustainability strategy, there is an additional need for activities that familiarize and prepare firms for the entrepreneurial capital raising process.

The acceleration program will consist of:

  1. Two weeks of intensive mentoring and coaching before residential program

  2. One week residential (face-to-face) program hosted by m:lab East Africa

  3. Up to six months of follow up mentoring and coaching, intensity of which will be decided based on each entrepreneur’s performance and needs

The consultancy firm’s assignment is to partner with the m:lab East Africa to facilitate the regional acceleration programs. This includes:

  • Analysis of opportunities and barriers for digital technology entrepreneurs in access to finance

  • The design and development of Access to Finance workshop curriculum to match the needs of GO entrepreneurs for various regions.

  • Identification of local and regional early stage financiers in the various regions.

  • Establishment of the m-Lab network of local and regional early stage financiers to implement up to 10 A2F training workshops for the mLab entrepreneurs to be delivered by local and regional early stage financiers.

Expected Deliverables

  • Enhance m-Lab capacity to provide more effective access to finance to support their client entrepreneurs.

  • Organization of up to 10 A2F workshops for select group of at least 50 entrepreneurs.

  • The mLab links with early stage financiers strengthened to ensure access of GO entrepreneurs to early stage financiers.

  • Implementation of the advanced acceleration curriculum (A2F) for the 20 most talented entrepreneurs in each sub-region.

  • Prepare the final report with the mlab team inclusive of technical inputs, suggestions for improvements and recommendations for future actions regarding the DEP program as well as the services provided.

  • Support monitoring and evaluation of A2F sessions by filing reports  with entrepreneurs showing next steps for each session, attendance by entrepreneurs and potential gaps.
m:lab East Africa
mlab.co.ke/tractioncamp
Nairobi, KE