Terms of Reference: Engagement of Local Consulting Company
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Association PePeKo
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Terms of Reference (ToR)

Engagement of Local Consulting Company

  1. Background

PePeKo Association is EREA implementing partner that will be working on multiple fronts to further empower the agriculture and rural economies of Kosovo. The EREA programme is funded by the Austrian Development Cooperation – Austrian Development with contributions from Caritas Switzerland.

The fruit and vegetable processing sector in Kosovo has been steadily growing, fueled by increasing consumer demand for convenience, variety, and longer shelf-life products. This sector plays a significant role in the country's economy, providing employment opportunities and contributing to agricultural value addition. Over the years, Kosovo has seen the establishment of several processing facilities specializing in fruit and vegetable processing. These facilities range from small-scale family-owned businesses to larger industrial operations. Large businesses often seek avenues to expand their product lines through private labeling in Kosovo's fruit and vegetable processing sector. Larger companies often engage in private labeling to expand their market reach, cater to specific consumer preferences, and establish brand loyalty and also because Kosovo has export potential, particularly to neighboring countries and European markets. Private labeling by larger companies can facilitate market access and meet specific requirements of international buyers.

Within the fruit and vegetable processing sector, small-scale women-led businesses play a vital role in driving innovation, fostering community development, and promoting sustainability. These businesses often operate on a local or regional scale, utilizing traditional recipes, techniques, and ingredients passed down through generations. Their products are often prized for their authenticity, quality, and connection to local culture and heritage.

Women entrepreneurs in this sector face unique challenges, including limited access to financing, resources, and market opportunities. By supporting and empowering women-led businesses, the processing industry can unlock new sources of innovation, diversify its product offerings, and contribute to inclusive economic growth. The decision to conduct this study stems from the recognition of the untapped potential inherent in private label partnerships and women's clusters within the fruit and vegetable processing sector. By harnessing the collective strength and expertise of these stakeholders, organizations like the PePeKo Association can enhance production capacity, improve market access, and foster greater economic opportunities for women entrepreneurs.

This study is essential for informing strategic decision-making, identifying synergies between private label partners and women-led businesses, and developing tailored interventions to address the specific needs and challenges faced by these stakeholders. Ultimately, by leveraging private label partnerships and women's clusters, the processing industry can achieve greater competitiveness, sustainability, and social impact.

Concurrently, women's clusters represent a valuable resource for production capacity, offering opportunities for collaboration and mutual benefit. This Terms of Reference (ToR) outlines the scope and objectives for engaging an expert or company to conduct Feasibility research and present ideas on leveraging private label partnerships and women's clusters for enhanced production capacity.

2. Objectives

The primary objectives of this engagement are as follows:

  1. Understanding the Current Landscape of Small-Scale Women-Led Businesses in Fruit and Vegetable Processing:
  • Analyze woman-led businesses within the processing industry to gain insights into their organizational structures, production methods, and market presence.
  • Evaluate the scale of operations, product offerings, and geographical distribution of these businesses to understand their impact on the sector.

2.Identifying Barriers and Challenges Faced by These Businesses in Entering Private Label Production for Larger Companies:

  • Identify common interests and challenges faced by women entrepreneurs and businesses in the fruit and vegetable processing sector.
  • Explore the specific barriers that hinder women-led businesses from accessing private label production opportunities with larger companies.
  • Investigate factors such as limited access to resources, technical expertise, market knowledge, and regulatory compliance requirements that impede their participation in private label partnerships.

3. Exploring Potential Strategies and Mechanisms for Integrating These Businesses into the Private Label Supply Chain:

  • Develop an appropriate organizational model for the Cluster/ Union/ Corporation/ Unit of Women in Processing Industry to facilitate collaboration and knowledge-sharing among women-led businesses.
  • Define a cooperative framework that aligns the interests of women entrepreneurs and businesses, promoting mutual benefit and sustainability.
  • Explore strategies and mechanisms for integrating women-led businesses into the private label supply chain, including capacity-building initiatives and strategic partnerships.
  • Address specific issues such as seasonal employment patterns among women and capacity constraints in businesses, identifying solutions to enhance resilience and productivity.

3. Scope of Work

Proposal for Detailed Approach to Task Completion:

  1. Target Demographics: The research will focus on women-led businesses in the processing industry within the designated project area. While the primary focus is on women entrepreneurs, the study will remain inclusive of businesses of varying sizes to capture a comprehensive understanding of the sector.
  2. Methodology:
  • Literature Review: A thorough review of relevant studies, reports, and publications will be conducted to provide a comprehensive understanding of the current landscape, challenges, and opportunities in the fruit and vegetable processing sector.
  • Stakeholder Interviews: In-depth 15 interviews will be conducted with representatives from small-scale women-led businesses, larger companies, industry associations, government agencies, and other relevant stakeholders. These interviews will provide qualitative insights into the common interests, challenges, and perspectives within the sector.
  • Focus Group Discussions (FGDs): One FGD should be organized with women-led businesses to facilitate open discussions, share feedback, and exchange experiences regarding gender-related challenges, opportunities, and cooperative frameworks.
  • Site Visits: Scheduled site visits will allow for firsthand observation and interaction with women-led businesses within the project area. This will include visits to both businesses supported by SIRED/EREA projects and non-supported businesses to capture a holistic view of the sector.
  • Secondary Data Collection: Extensive secondary data collection will involve reviewing existing policies, regulations, strategies, and research reports relevant to the fruit and vegetable processing industry. This will complement primary data collection efforts and provide additional context for analysis and recommendations.

3. Development of Recommendations and Actionable Strategies:

  • Based on the findings from the research and analysis, actionable recommendations and strategies will be developed to address specific challenges highlighted in the background, such as seasonal employment patterns, capacity constraints, and regulatory barriers.
  • These recommendations will be tailored to promote collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and mutual support among women entrepreneurs and businesses in the processing industry. Emphasis will be placed on fostering a cooperative framework that aligns the interests of all stakeholders and ensures sustainable growth.

4. Qualifications and Experience

  • University Degree in Social, Human Rights or Political Science;
  • Experience in developing organizational structures (in the context of private label);
  • Profound knowledge and experience in the Kosovo and other countries, understanding of the specifics of the current context, its challenges and the dynamics of economic, social and technological transition related to women inclusion;
  • Experience in having completed at least two similar assignments (in nature and magnitude) for women leading them to a type of cluster / union or business;
  • Practical experience of advising women leads businesses on designing and implementing agro economic activities in perspective women;
  • Excellent social scientific methodological data collection skills (qualitative and quantitative);
  • Excellent writing and analytical skills
  • Fluency in English (oral and written) and Albanian/Serbian required.

5. Deliverables

  • Detailed analysis report on woman-led businesses in the processing industry, including challenges mitigation measures for the most critical challenges identified.
  • Develop an appropriate organizational model for the cluster of women in processing industry, also identify and analyses the positive and negative factors affecting the introduction and implementation of the cluster;
  • Outline the intervention plan and possibly include main cost categories, outline a realistic timeline for the proposed set of interventions – activities for making the cluster functional and operational.
  • Cooperative framework outlining benefits for both women entrepreneurs and businesses.
  • Recommendations for addressing seasonal employment patterns and capacity constraints.

6. Submission Deadline:

Interested companies should submit:

  • CVs of all individuals included in the consultancy team. Please note to have all CVs formatted uniformly.
  • • Proposal narrative which includes the consultants’/companies’ suitability for the assignment,
  • Previous work experience, qualifications, and sector expertise. Please include any past relevant
  • work that might demonstrate knowledge of the sector or proposed methodologies (maximum 2).
  • • Draft a work plan which includes dates, milestones, team members assigned, and any other details to demonstrate an adequate level of resourcing within the proposed timeframe.
  • • Comprehensive methodology to be used for the assignment.
  • • Financial budget broken down by deliverables and individual daily fees. Please note transport costs need to be included in the budget offer. The budget should be gross (including all taxes).

Interested companies should submit their documents no later than 27 May to [email protected]

Companies will be evaluated based on their qualifications, relevant experience, proposed approach to the project, methodology team composition and budget.

The contract will be awarded to the consulting company whose proposal best meets the requirements outlined in this ToR and offers the most competitive terms.

7. Confidentiality

All information shared during project implementation should be treated as confidential.

8. Contact Information:

For inquiries or clarification regarding this ToR, please contact Hartim Gashi at [email protected]/ +383 44 86 81 67

PePeKo Association

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