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Call for proposals: Scoping study on skills required for young entrepreneurs to succeed in a digital economy

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Youth Business International (YBI) is seeking a consultant or a team of consultants to scope a study on skills required for young entrepreneurs to succeed in a digital economy. 


Youth Business International (YBI) is a global network of expert organisations in over 50 countries supporting underserved young people to turn their ideas into successful businesses, creating jobs and strengthening communities. YBI members around the world provide young entrepreneurs with an integrated package of support, comprising training, mentoring, access to finance and other services, to help them start and grow sustainable businesses. Members are locally rooted and locally led, so their programmes combine deep contextual knowledge with YBI’s sector-leading global expertise and tools. YBI is facilitated by a Network Team based in London and Bogotá. 

The labour market is rapidly changing under the influence of technological progress and disruption, alongside a dwindling supply of traditional, secure employment opportunities for young people. Fostering youth entrepreneurship is a critical part of the solution. With 66 million young people unemployed in 2018, andthe global youth labour force predicted to expand by 25.6 million between 2017 and 2030 (source: ILO),the skills and capabilities needed for success are also changing. Recent studies from the Skills for Youth Employment (S4YE) coalition, of which YBI is a member, and the New Skills Nowresearch published by our long-standing partner Accenture, have underlined the importance of equipping young people to thrive in a digital economy by developing not just digital skills but also soft skills (or ‘human skills’ – encompassing social, interpersonal and leadership skills) and an entrepreneurial mindset.

YBI’s vision is that all young people who want to set up a business are able to fulfil their potential. We believe we can have most impact by focusing our efforts on those whose social or economic status, background or circumstance place them at a disadvantage in being able to successfully start and/or grow a business. In order to ensure the continued relevance and quality of our work, in 2019 YBI will be developing new training methodologies and guidance to address those skills which will be of greatest importance for disadvantaged young people around the world to grasp the opportunities that entrepreneurship can offer them.

To inform these activities, YBI is seeking a consultant or team of consultants to conduct a comprehensive review of the key skills needed for young entrepreneurs to thrive in a digital world, how those skills can best be developed, and what approaches to their development currently exist, both within and outside the YBI Network.

Research objective

The objective of this research is to explore what skills will be most required for young entrepreneurs in a future world of work, and to use this knowledge to inform the development of YBI’s human skills training offer, building on existing good practice.

  • Understanding which are the most important skills that will be needed by underserved young entrepreneurs to run thriving businesses in the coming 5-10 years;
  • Gathering good practice from within and outside the YBI network and identifying gaps in training approaches on human skills and complementary technical/digital skills required for successful entrepreneurship;
  • Gaining an in-depth understanding of selected good practice human skills training programmes in order to inform YBI's methodology development starting in 2019.

Key activities

  • Conduct a comprehensive review of the relevant literature on key skills for young entrepreneurs to succeed in a future world of work;
  • Conduct a gap analysis of existing approaches to the development of those skills within the YBI network;
  • Carry out an evidence-based screening and comparison of promising methodologies for human skills development within and outside the YBI network
  • Develop three case studies on human skills training implementation, preferably from YBI members
  • Write a final draft report based on the work carried above which will also include recommendations for YBI's future human skills training development 

Expected deliverables and indicative timeline

  • First half of January 2019: Agreeement of detailed brief and work plan with timelines
  • First half of February 2019: Submission of review report and presentation of preliminary results
  • 15th February 2019: Discussion of interim results and selection of case
  • 22nd March 2019: Submission of draft report to review panel, including case studies and recommendations for YBI
  • 12th April 2019: Presentation of draft report to YBI and submissoin of final report incorporating feedback
  • 17th May 2019: Presentation/webinar for wider YBI audience and submission of additional collateral. 

Consultant requirements

The consultant/consultancy team should possess: 

  • Expertise in labour market research, preferably in conducint large-scale reviews
  • Demonstrable knowledge of, or experience with, entrepreneurship training programmes
  • Technical skills data collection and analysis
  • Project management skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Proficiency in English; Spanish desirable

Submission of proposals

Proposals for conducting this consultancy must be submitted in English by 9:00AM (GMT) on Monday, 17th December 2018. Proposals must include:

  • CV (maximum two pages) for each consultant involved
  • Two examples of comparable work
  • Technical proposal (maximum five pages) including: understanding of the work to be completed; methodology; detailed work with timeline
  • Financial proposal separating out fees and any expenses
  • Three professional references

Proposals will be reviewed by YBI's Network Team, and the process may include a short phone call conversation or interview. Outcomes will be communicated to all applicants by Friday, 4th January 2019.


Job Details

  • Worldwide
  • Consultancy
Applications close on: 9.00AM (GMT) on Monday, 17 December 2018

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