The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is home to over 85 million people, of whom 80% live without household electricity. In widespread recognition of the abundance of solar resources to meet the country’s unmet energy demands, various donors along with the local government have prioritized supporting the uptake of solar energy over the coming years.
With a mission to alleviate poverty through lasting solutions that help people build assets, create jobs, and raise their standard of living, FINCA International (FI) first launched in DRC in 2003 by establishing FINCA DRC to serve the country’s vast unbanked population. FI is now seeking to incorporate and undertake the business launch of its distributed renewable energy company, FINCA Plus LLC (doing business as BrightLife) in DRC to increase access to affordable energy to low-income households.
Expertise Areas: Off-grid energy, Social Enterprise Start-Up, Program Planning
Languages Required: English, French
Expected Starting Date: June 2022
Expected Duration of Assignment: Over a period of 6-9 months
The consultant will develop a comprehensive and detailed business plan and lead the following three distinct task areas. 1. The successful incorporation of FINCA Plus, LLC in DRC, including a 5-year business plan to identify regions of launch, products offering, staffing and customer engagement strategies. 2. Launch of a pilot project to stress-test and verify business planning assumptions, test customer uptake, and make business planning revisions, if necessary; and 3. Develop a successful technical proposal for submission to leading solar energy funder(s) by a specified deadline. Each activity will be market and demand-driven, tailored to local needs and conditions, putting BrightLife on track to become profitable over a defined period.
ACTIVITIES & KEY DELIVERABLES
The three tasks, detailed below, will culminate in the presentation of a detailed narrative, supported by market data, with proposed intervention models, action plans, basic financial projections, and risk assessments. The analysis should be comprehensive, but with a special section focused on how to engage and sell SHS (Solar Home Systems) to households and small enterprises.
Task Area 1: Incorporation of BrightLife in DRC
- Conduct a market and risk assessments of communities where BrightLife would operate, develop a detailed multi-year business plan and budget for market entry and expansion, set up a legal structure, and document importation requirements/fees of identified SHS/clean cookstove product partners
- With the support of FINCA’s legal team and administrative counterparts, lead efforts to locally register FINCA Plus LLC in-country
- Develop a business partnership with FINCA DRC and identify additional local partners for outreach
- Identify key staff and board members
Task Area 2: Design and Manage Pilot Project
- Trial of 100 SHS sales in pre-selected communities
- Setting up skeleton support systems for sales and after-sales
- Establishing a sales agent network
- Building a core team for the pilot
Task Area 3: Proposal Development
- Learning trips to Uganda to understand BrightLife’s business model and expansion plan
- Interacting with the key donors and stakeholders
- Lead author of the funding application, especially the business plan and budget sections
- Leading due diligence if BrightLife is selected for an award
- Participate in pre-bid trip from FI team for oversight of consultant’s work and to meet with partners
- Bachelor of Science in renewable energy engineering, supply chain management, business administration, international development, or related field
- At least 2 years of work experience, with preference for applicants with prior experience in design of and/or administration of renewable energy company programs, especially focused on rural distribution to low-income hh;
- Ideal candidate also has skills in business planning and entrepreneurship, strong writing, and analytical skills.
- Proven experience in researching, formulating, and implementing new initiatives in developing countries or other challenging environments; financial planning experience a plus
- Experience in SSA, preferably DRC
- Computer Skills – Microsoft Office
- Innovation – Displays original thinking and creativity; Meets challenges with resourcefulness; Generates suggestions for achieving results; Develops innovative approaches and ideas; Presents ideas and information in a manner that gets others’ attention.
- Strategic Thinking & Communication- Develops strategies to achieve organizational goals; Understands organization’s strengths & weaknesses; Analyzes market and competition; Identifies external threats and opportunities; Exceptional ability in communication, networking, and negotiation.
- Project Management – Develops project plans; Coordinates projects; Communicates changes and progress; Completes projects on time and budget; Experience working with NEFCO, USAID (United States Agency for International Development) Power Africa, or another key solar-sector donor a plus
- Problem Solving – Identifies and resolves problems in a timely manner; Gathers and analyzes information skillfully; Develops alternative solutions; Works well in group problem solving situations; Uses reason even when dealing with emotional topics.
- Adaptability – Adapts to changes in the work environment and successfully works in diverse cultural settings and with a variety of stakeholders; Manages competing demands; Changes approach or method to best fit the situation; Able to deal with frequent change, delays, or unexpected events.
Interested individual offeror must submit the following documents/information to Jennifer.Schmidt@finca.org to demonstrate their qualifications:
- Cover letter: Confirming interest and availability for the Individual Contractor assignment and explaining why the Offeror is a suitable choice for the work
- Resume detailing work history
- Final all-inclusive price proposal, with monthly rate