Consultancy: Support to Establishment and Development of TEVET Business Incubators

Terms of Reference – Consulting Assignment
Title: Support to the establishment and development of TEVET  Business incubators.
Domain: Technical and Vocational Education and Training
Organizational Unit: UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa
Location: Blantyre  Lilongwe respectively, Malawi
Type of contract: Service contract (Company)
Duration of the contract August 2019– January 2020
Deadline (midnight, Paris time): 15.7.2019
Application to be sent to:
  1. Background

UNESCO is implementing part of the European Union funded Skills and Technical Education Programme (STEP)[1] in Malawi. In this context, UNESCO, the European Union and the Government of Malawi are partnering in supporting the expansion and improvement of equitable and gender-balanced technical, entrepreneurial and vocational education and training (TEVET) in Malawi. In particular, the project is working to improve access to TVET, review qualifications system, update curricula, review the governance and management of TVET system, and better train TVET teachers and trainers. The project’s time frame is four years (April 2016 – March 2020) and the overall budget for the UNESCO component is 9 million Euros. (When including the cost of building renovations and equipment plus the provision of grants to a number of NGOs, the entire value of STEP is 32.6 million Euro.) The project is targeting trades[2] within the construction sector of the economy and also is tasked with promoting inclusion of disadvantaged groups.

Under STEP specific objective 2 ‘Improve the quality and relevance of TEVET’, there is an Activity 2.3.5: Explore the possibility of establishing business incubators at two Technical Colleges on a pilot basis.  A consultant has previously been assigned to analyse regional best practices for establishment of incubators and to carry out a feasibility study on establishment of pilot incubators.

Lilongwe Technical College and the Soche Technical College (Blantyre) have been identified as suitable venues for the establishment of business incubators. Initial meetings have been held with both TEVET colleges to discuss where on campus the incubation center could be established.

On this basis, UNESCO is seeking a company/ non-profit entity to provide support for the establishment and development of two TEVET incubators.

  1. Context

In Malawi, the economic growth is not creating enough jobs to absorb the new entrants to the labuor market. This has also been coupled with TEVET that has for a long period of time prepared graduates for the wage employment, but not to employment creation. Entrepreneurship modules were developed as part of reformed TEVET and are offered as generic fundamentals. However, more effort is required to stimulate entrepreneurship and business initiatives which will eventually produce a mindset change regarding job and employment creation. This is the current vision of the Government of Malawi. Apart from working to strengthen entrepreneurship training (the subject of another consulting assignment), STEP is tasked to also explore and strengthen new approaches for stimulating entrepreneurship for women and alternative models such as business incubators.

What are business incubators?

“They provide an array of business support resources and services such as physical space, capital, coaching, common services, and networking connections Their goals include creation of jobs, enhancing entrepreneurial climate, retaining businesses in the country, building and accelerating growth in local industries.”[3] (Zedy Kosgei, 2016)

In Malawi, there are already several initiatives in the area of business incubators, for example:

  • The High Commission of India is supporting the development of a business incubator at the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Institute (SMEDI) in Mponela. The approach will be value chain development and the focus will be in the era of food-processing, specifically in crops like cassava and tomatoes, as well as with fruit like mango and pineapple. Equipment and specialists from India will be brought in and local trainers will be trained in the equipment use and processing techniques. The incubation centre could be ready by May/June Apart from purely technical skills, the incubation center staff will offer business advisory services including mentoring and links to providers of finance. The incubation centre is expected to be self-financing within a few months.[4]
  • GIZ is supporting the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) and the Agriculture Technical Vocational Education and Training(ATVET) project in Malawi. The Coordinator for these initiatives indicated they would be introducing a similar concept to an incubation centre, currently referred to as a centre of excellence.
  • The AfDB funded Jobs for Youth Project plans to provide business development services to its clients and link them to financial institutions for loans for new businesses. The business support services could be provided through incubation centres.
  • TEVETA recently announced plans to establish incubation centres at its community skills development centres. These centers have now been renamed production units. The idea is still being fleshed out but the concept is to use a building to house the production center where graduates of the Community Skills Development Centres could start their business and receive both technical advice on their business product/service, and business mentoring. The facility would simulate a real enterprise environment. Links to the local community will be established and potential mentors identified with the latter persons trained in mentoring techniques.[5]
  • In earlier discussions with STEP, the ILO was recommending a business incubator approach which focused on the offering of business support and advisory services. In that model, the incubation centre would have a computer skills training facility where new entrepreneurs could develop their business plans, keep track of accounts, use photocopy and Internet facilities and receive training and coaching by business mentors. Users would pay a small fee.
  • Entrepreneur Hubs[6] – There are existing Entrepreneur Hubs in Blantyre, Zomba and Lilongwe with another recently started in Mzuzu. Typical services offered include:
    • Business trainings and consultancy
    • Pitch night
    • Office space
    • Library
    • Information and resource centre
    • Economic empowerment advocacy

However, these initiatives have different concepts of what an incubation center is and how it should operate. It is timely, therefore, for STEP to initiate the proposed consulting assignment to support the piloting of a sound model at two technical colleges.

STEP has a particular focus on the construction sector and this sector would certainly be one sector to be supported by the incubation centres. There is also an emphasis on promoting inclusiveness particularly regarding females and persons with disabilities.

An international consultant has been hired to provide directions for the two TEVET institutes hosting the business incubators on the organization, management and institutionalizing of the business incubators, He will advise on the provision of services and potential partnerships for delivery of services, but support is needed for the development and operation of the pilot incubation centres.

For the business incubators to be fully functioning, there will besides be a need for:

  • development of business incubator services;
  • establishment of partnerships for service delivery;
  • staffing and day to day management of the business incubators;
  • capacity building of TEVET staff, and establishment of links to entrepreneurship training.

STEP is seeking a company/partner for support for the preparation and establishment of two pilot business incubators within the above mentioned areas. This should be done in close collaboration with the TEVET institutions hosting the business incubators and by association with the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development.

  1. Objectives:

The overall objective of this assignment will be in collaboration with the identified TEVET institutes to ensure the practical establishment of the business incubator on their campus. More specifically this will include:

Objective 1. To oversee the refurbishment of existing buildings to become functional business hubs, including equipment, in close collaboration with the two hosting TEVET institutes (done by contractors).


  • Oversee and monitor the contracting of the service providers for the refurbishment of the venues allocated for the business hubs, and oversee the refurbishment process.
  • Supervise the practical establishment of the business incubators, including the establishment of necessary IT services.

Objective 2. To ensure efficient and effective operation and management of the two TEVET pilot incubators, including provision of a manager and a staff member.


  • Recruit and contract a local manager and a staff member for each of the business hubs, (1 manager and 1 staff member per business incubator).
  • Monitor and support the manager and the staff member management of the for the day to day management and service delivery of the Incubator; activities.
  • Assign a junior assistant to support international consultant in development of operating manuals (30 days).

Objective 3. To establish and ensure operation of the two business incubators including service delivery, development of external partnerships for service delivery and income generating activities.


  • With the international consultant to:
    • identify the scope and types of incubator services;
  • identify relevant partners for implementation of services, and evaluate their services and the capacity to deliver these;
  • add value to partners’ services, or develop new ones, if needed;
  • develop of an action plan for activities/service delivery, and implementation and monitoring of programme implementation;
  • establish a reasonable payment scheme for incubator services;
  • capacity build partners for future delivery of the incubator services and training, if needed;
  • support the establishment of an MoU/partnership agreement with partners for service delivery;
  • establish a plan for collaboration with the TEVET centre including the entrepreneurship training department;
  • identify income generating activities, and implement at least 2 of these.

Objective 4.  Support the development and implementation of the communication and promotion strategy, and organise of two open house days, one in each of the two pilot business incubators.


  • Develop a communications and marketing strategy document[7] cognizant of EU visibility requirements.
  • Create Initial branding and marketing materials for the two business incubators [8] Train the relevant business incubator staff in how to implement the communications strategy (October, 2019).
  • Oversee and monitor the Implementation of the communication and awareness raising plan.

The activities specified above will be carried out in close collaboration with:

  • an international expert responsible for support to the governance, organization and management framework for the two business incubators;
  • a communication expert responsible for development of a communication and awareness raising strategy, and activities.


The company/organization assigned will deliver the following:

  1. detailed plan for the assignment including timeline and benchmarks;
  2. functional and equipped business incubators (basic equipment)
  3. 2 day workshop for TEVET staff and management for orientation and discussion of the business incubator organisationa and service delivery
  4. staffing provision – 2 managers, 2 staff members, 1 junior assistant for the international consultant;
  5. operation of 2 incubators for a period of 7 months;
  6. mapping and evaluation of partners for service delivery;
  7. relevant and quality services packages and training programmes as well as materials;
  8. 3-day workshop for capacity building of partners for delivery of the services packages and trainings;
  9. coaching and mentoring of staff and managers in terms of management, administration, and coordination of the services (own and partners);
  10. MoUs for business incubator partner collaboration and service provider deliveries;
  11. 2 open house days, one in each of the hosting TEVET institutes;
  12. communication and promotion plan for two incubators;
  13. initial branding and marketing materials;
  14. one mid-term report and one final report providing a summary of the activities, results related to the service delivery and partnerships, documentation and minutes from any meetings workshops and trainings held (including participant list) and expenditure breakdown.
  1. Required qualifications

Company/organization requirements

The company taking up this assignment should fulfill the following criteria.

  • Be a legally registered entity.
  • Be able to demonstrate sound financial and general management (be able to demonstrate positive audit reports, and being able to provide evidence of available budget management system).
  • Have at least 3 years of operational experience with establishment, management and operation of a business hub/business incubator and delivery of services.
  • Have at least 2 years of experience with coaching and support to new business incubators / business hubs.
  • Have experience in working with partners in delivery of business hub / incubator services.

Incubator team requirements

The staff and management members assigned to manage the two business incubators must have the following experience.

Educational background

The managers should have at least a first degree in business management, entrepreneurship social studies or other subject related to the assignment or similar professional experience.

The staff members should have a diploma or equivalent in administration, entrepreneurship or business management

Work Experience

The Managers should have:

  • at least 5 years’ experience working with the establishment, operation or performance evaluation of business incubation centres;
  • Have at least 1 year of experience in working with partners in delivery of services.

The staff members should have:

  • at least 3 years of experience in administration, service provision, and
  • practical experience with entrepreneurship and business incubator service delivery.

For both, personal experience as an entrepreneur is an asset.


  • Knowledge of the UNESCO’s mandate and its programme of activities.
  • Must display a high standard of ethical conduct and exhibit honesty and integrity
  • Gender-sensitive behavior and attitudes are required.
  • Sound judgement and analytical skills.
  • Excellent writing skill
  • Ability to work under pressure and to meet strict deadlines.
  • Ability to work in multi-ethnic, multi-cultural environment
  • Strong communication skills


  • Excellent knowledge of English.
  • Knowledge of Chichewa desirable


  • Desirable to have work experience in Malawi or Southern Africa.
  • Higher qualification in a related field would be an advantage.
  • Understanding of gender issues in Malawi which hinder ability to start and successfully run businesses.


The contractor will be paid on the basis of a budget and a contract agreed with UNESCO that reflects the scope of work and budget available. In service contracts, payments are aligned with deliverables.


To apply, please send 1) a cover letter, 2) a proposal on how the assignment would be tackled (of no more than 10 pages excluding appendices)2. a budget for implementation of the assignment, 3. documentation of proof as a legal entity,  4. entity’s latest audit report,  5. CVs for 2 managers, 2 staff members and a junior assistant in English, by email to by 15.7.2019.

For more information, contact: Arthur E. Shears at or Kirsten Larsen at:

[1] The STEP website can be viewed at:

[2] The documented training approach for the construction trade programmes is competency based training and assessment and this is combined in formal training with an apprenticeship scheme of four years.

[3] Start Up Incubators in Kenya, on-line article at:

[4]Meeting with Indian High Commissioner to Malawi, January 2, 2017.

[5]  Meeting with Director of Training, TEVETA, January 3, 2018.

[6] Building the Capacity of Local Entrepreneurs for Global Business Opportunities, Kambuzi, W.J., 2017. Mzuzu Entrepreneur Hub.

[7] This must include identification of the target audience, identification of the communications channels, identification of the key messages, list of proposed communication materials, a draft communications calendar for year one (to include a breakdown of proposed social media activity and events), and a suggested budget.

[8] The branding and marketing materials to include: Logos, fonts and graphics, photography, social media set up, brief document, company profile brochure, flyer or presentation, leaflets.