Disabled Tenderpreneurs Hub – enabling disability companies/entrepreneurs to successfully tender for Government contracts in Kenya
Disability Tenderpreneurs Hub - bridging the gap - preparing, skilling and financing disability companies, to access government contracts.
Entrepreneur from APT Action on Poverty project in Kenya
What problem does your idea solve?
Disability companies are unable to currently benefit from the governments affirmative action program AGPO (Access to Government Procurement Opportunities) for disability, youth and women led companies, to tender and win 30% government contracts. Only 1% of the 1500 disability companies that have mushroomed since the programme started in 2013, have been able to gain government contracts. This is a result of disability companies/entrepreneurs lack of affordable credit, skills, and experience.
Explain your idea
Kenya Union of the Blind will work with Action on Poverty (UK international development organisation with experience in livelihoods, enterprise development and disability), and DESCOS to form a 'Disabled Tenderpreneurs Hub' (DTH), a membership organisation for disability entrepreneurs/companies specifically set up to enable to them to access government contracts.
The Disabled Tenderpreneurs Hub will be the missing step to enable disabled people's companies to access government contracts under the AGPO programme. There have been no other attempts to bridge the gap between the capacity of the Disabled Companies and the Government tender process previously. The Hub will build an endowment that shall finance businesses owned by PWDs. DTH shall seek additional equity from shareholders and or development partners to strengthen its reserve base in order to benefit more Tenderprenuers with disabilities.
DTH will run an online management system that will host and link existing and newly established PWD companies to more opportunities including those in the private sector.
DTH shall extend business development and capacity building, technical and market support services to thousands of existing and new companies run by PWDs in Kenya, on a fee paying basis. It will provide shared office spaces to 30 Disabled Tenderprenuers.
DTH shall run a revolving micro finance scheme that will lend to companies run by PWDs who win government tenders, and link with other financial services.
The project will engage with the 1500 registered youth disability companies to join the hub, and make use of hub services. The hub will be based in Nairobi with outreach activities in other regions and an online management system. A typical client will be a registered business/entrepreneur who is wishing to prepare to access 30% of government tenders that are available to women, youth and PWD companies. Beneficiaries will include disabled employees of the disability enterprises.
How is your idea unique?
There are no similar services in Kenya for disability companies, and this is a unique opportunity for disability companies to develop their businesses through the AGPO programme. Youth and women run companies have fared better, in accessing this preferential programme.
We are partnering with Action on Poverty (UK) which specialises on enterprise development for disadvantaged groups.
The Access to Government Procurement Opportunities website is unlikely to provide training materials as part of their site as it exceeds their remit, and impartiality.
People with disabilities want opportunities to engage in business and enterprise, and the 30% contracts going to such groups is a fantastic opportunity which is not being capitalised on due to the barriers mentioned.
There are similar services for youth to access APGO, which have proved successful for youth.
Tell us more about you
The Kenya Union of the Blind (KUB) is a non-governmental, non-political, membership-based organisation, established in 1960 as the national organisation for visually impaired persons in Kenya. KUB will work with DESCOS to access and provide an affordable loan system for business development and credit.
Action on Poverty (UK) CEO and Programme Manager (who is a disability expert and has disabilities himself) will guide the design and implementation, and provide training.
DESCOS (Disability Employment Savings and Credit Cooperative Society Ltd) was established by Kenya Union of the Blind. It is now registered as a separate Saving and Cooperative Society, specialising in credit and savings for people with disabilities (not restricted to the visually impaired). It has one full-time staff member, with much scope to expand once loan capital is secured.
APT Action on Poverty is UK based small international development organisation with a 30 year history of building livelihood in communities where people are in extreme poverty and experience marginalisation. We have projects in Kenya, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Sri Lanka, and work through local established partners. We have a small core of experienced staff.
Kenya Union of the Blind is the national organization of the Blind and Partially Sighted established in 1960 under the Societies’ Ordinance Act of 1952 of the Colony & Protectorate of Kenya
Our Vision: A barrier free society in which persons with visual impairments enjoy full and equal opportunities.
We are present in all 47 counties in Kenya.
Economic Empowerment through SACCOs, and
Assistive Technology Training for the Blind
What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?
We know that it will take some considerable time to build business capacities of Tenderprenuers with Disabilities to be on a par with their peers (women and youth) in accessing AGPO contracts.
This is the first step towards a long journey.
We recognise that the development of quality online content will be challenging, even though we have (KUB) experience providing tender support and enterprise training, we want to make user-friendly, accessible and relevant content, prepared together with representatives of different disability groups and business types/stages.
Where will your idea be implemented?
Experience in Implementation Country(ies)
Yes, for more than one year.
Expertise in Sector
I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.
We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.
Prototyping: I have done some small tests with prospective users to continue developing my idea.
How has your idea changed based on feedback?
Disability Owned Companies have different levels of needs, some will just need some assistance with familiarisation with the tender process, whereas others will need more support in building their business before they are at the level to apply for tenders. For this reason, the first group prototype will be DOC which are close to being able to access government contracts, as this will be a powerful example and incentive for others to emulate.
Although the DTH idea is focused on accessing government tenders through AGPO, the idea can also be opened up to consider the private sector. The online hub will have the facilities to link DOC and the private sector.
To encourage sustainability of the idea moving forward, more attention will need to be paid to the financing model of service provision, in particular for creation of high quality on-line training materials.
Who will implement this idea?
KUB: Project lead; host and manage both online and physical hub; enrol and manage a databank of Tenderprenuers; manage training activities; jointly manage and run the endowment fund (with DESCOS). CEO/Finance Manager p/t, an administrator (f/t) engaged by KUB will manage hub activities. The hub is already available at KUB offices, at no additional cost.
APT role: Provide technical assistance to KUB; contribute and guide on design and structure of the DTH, and design of a training tool kit.
Using a human-centered design approach, you may uncover insights that lead to small or foundational changes to your organization’s existing strategy or processes in order to unlock the potential of your idea. How would your organization go about making such changes?
APT has a long history of working closely with community groups using participatory methods. Our role is to help partners develop their idea into a project, and support them during implementation either as a lead or technical assistance. APT is a small organisation and already has buy-in from the staff and board, and this activity fits well with our mission. Additional learning on human-centred design approach will also help us to deliver such approaches to our partners.
KUB is a creative organisation that has weathered difficult times financially over its long history. This has led to innovative working with KUB setting up DESCOS, and the Enterprises of the Blind Ltd (EBLI). The CEO is personally developing this idea, which gives it a high level of support within the organisation
What is it that most attracted you to Amplify instead of a more traditional funding model?
Creativity and innovation: Amplify provides for freedom to generate and share new ideas that have never been tested before yet have potential, unlike traditional funding models that are restricted and predetermined in scope of operations.
Sustainable: Amplify’s human-centred approach, paves the way for enhancing project sustainability. Participation of key actors during project conception, formulation, design to implementation is critical for purposes of ownership.
What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?
- Most DOCs lack technical skills and competencies to navigate the tendering process. Some seek help from KUB secretariat, those outside Nairobi engage consultants to assist, which can be expensive and ineffective.
- DOCs cannot access online tender information easily due to ICT skills gaps. Without access to ICT, DOCs rely on newspapers, which don’t publish all tenders. Many use cyber cafes and enlist the help of staff (at a cost).
- Access to finance (for LPO and LSO) is hindered by lack of physical office address.
- Marketing Services: Most DOCs lack expertise to market their good/services effectively.
- Access to Finance/Credit Facilities: LPO and LSO financing is approved by banks/micro finance institutions only with security, which many DOC lack.
Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question you need to answer to get there?
IMPACT: "By 2022, we will have build capacities and/or provided finance for 1000 Disabled Owned Companies (DOCs) in Kenya to operate under AGPO platform. We will mobilize and Scale an endowment loan capitalization of $1 Million to spur growth for additional 2000 DOCs by the year 2030"
QUESTION: "How do we design our programs to effectively strengthen capacities of Disabled Owned Companies (DOCs), to deliver services and products with dignity, reliability and sustainability?''
How long have you and your colleagues been working on this idea together?
How many of your team’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed idea live?
Under 5 paid, full-time staff
Is your organization registered in the country you intend to implement your idea in?
We are registered in all countries where we plan to implement.
My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:
Between $100,000 and $500,000 USD
If your team/idea/organization has a website, please share the URL below.
facebook: Kenya Union of the Blind