i) Overview of SBF Round 2 –Schedule/Timing
• Large Grant Applications Shortlisted: 35
– 26 January: Deadline and Receipt of Applicant’s Large Grant Draft Business Plans.
– 27 January -1 February: One week review with international experts –sector, environmental and social
– 2 February onwards: Practical review sessions with each applicant + business consultant
– 23 February: Deadline and receipt of final large grant business plans
– Early April: Assessment + grant recommendation to GAP
– Mid-March: Large Grant awards
• Small Grant Applications Shortlisted: 121
– 14 January: Deadline and Receipt of Proposals – total received 112
– 19 January – 6 February: Assessment of Proposals, due diligence visits and interviews
– Mid February: Recommendation +GAP feedback
– Mid-March: Small grant awards
• SBF Round 2 Grant Applicant Training
– Small Grant Applicants (completed on 24 December 2013)
– Large Grant Applicants (completed on 28 December 2013)
• Round 2 Unsuccessful SBF Applicant Feedback Sessions
– Special feedback sessions: 203 attending sessions + 19 seeing Fund Manager/finance manager/lead grant officer +requesting feedback directly by email
• Consulting service providers training
– Sessions commenced on 3 December 2013 held 2 sessions in Hargeisa, Berbera and Burao
– Nine Business consulting firms completed in November 2013 (inc. 34 individuals – principals, consultants and individual associates trained)
• Business skills training piloting
– A new initiative being tested to address BDS gaps: Business skills training successfully ‘piloted’ to 22 entrepreneurs and start ups in Hargeis on 9th January 2014, with regional ‘pilot’ initiatives delivered in Berbera and Burao to 86 participants during the period 19th-23 January. Feedbkac from participants and hosting organisations/institutions indicates a great demand for this type of training and related business development services. A Borama ‘pilot’ is planned for the period 2nd-6th February.
ii) SBF initiatives undertaken to increase the geographic coverage of grants and reduce tension/ disappointment and handle complaints from applicants that are turned down.
a) Increase in Geographic coverage in round 2
There was an acknowledged need to improve geographical coverage from that achieved in round 1. In round 2, increase efforts have been made to reach out to as many parts of the country as possible to create an awareness of SBF and its applications process through ‘SBF roadshow’ information sessions.
SBF conducted outreach activities in the following regions: West-Borama Wajaleh and Gabiley; West Central – Hargeisa, East Central and East-Borama, Las Anod and Erigabo and North –Berbera. As a result, the geographical coverage of the round 2 shortlisted candidates are as follows: Hargeisa 38% (west central); Berbera 11% (north coastal), Borama 7% (west); Eastern urban settlements 17% (inc. Ainabo, Erigabo, Heis, Las anod, Las Qoray, Maid, Oog) and 12% scattered applicants.
Outreach has been extended from round 1 through some new capacity building initiatives, like the Business idea generation and skills training have begun to be piloted across Somaliland (Hargeisa, Berbera, Burao and Borama) supported by a business profiling initiative that will identify and promote local role models of entrepreneurship, while supporting emergent or developing in-business marketing activities (to be reported on in QPR 6 and referenced in pipeline SBF website updates).
b) Mitigating Complaints from unsuccessful applicants in round 2
SBF has been putting tremendous efforts into informing unsuccessful applicants.
E-mails are sent to very applicant who applied and was either successfully shortlisted or unsuccessfull in their applications. Since it would not be possible to meet face to face with all 1,958 unsuccessful applicants, feedback sessions were organized and delivered in Borama, Burao and Hargeisa in December as a means of addressing disappointed applicants without shortlisted projects. This process is both clearly understood by applicants and it works (203 attended feedback sessions- see point made earlier) even if there are individual cases where aggrieved unsuccessful applicants feel that the process has failed them.
Feedback sessions to unsuccessful applicants have been carried out in the following cities, representing west, central and eastern regions:
Borama, Burao and Hargeisa: 203 attending sessions + 19 seeing fund manager/finance manager/lead grant officer +95 requesting feedback directly by email.
Additionally, interested and potential SBF applicants who withdrew their commitment to apply for grant funding assistance have participated in the ‘pilot’ business skills training events run in Berbera and Burao. They reported that their initial interest decreased in applying for SBF funding due to a lack of current capacity to either commit sufficient matched funding to support an application, or to an inability to elaborate a fully coherent business development proposal or plan. All of the participants expressed their appreciation of access to the ‘pilot’ training events.