EPIC is designed to create and grow competitive micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) across the Caribbean region. It will help entrepreneurs overcome persistent challenges facing owners and managers of MSMEs in the Caribbean region by: (i) using business incubation to provide a sustainable suite of services for start-up entrepreneurs compromising advisory services, mentorship, and access to infrastructure; (ii) upgrading skills and capabilities of regional incubator managers and policymakers for supporting MSME development; and (iii) providing seed funding to promising MSMEs to help them successfully scale their operations. The countries that will benefit from EPIC present different challenges, as their economic, geographic and political environments are not homogeneous; and their business enabling environments and local capacities differ. Incubation initiatives must properly meet these diverse needs through sustainable and contextualized models.
A key component of the activities under EPIC will be through the expansion of business incubation to improve the growth prospects of start-ups, which will contribute to the ultimate goal of growing employment and increasing competitiveness. This is done by providing infrastructure, mentoring, networking and facilitating access to finance and markets. There are a wide variety of forms and functions that an incubator can take. The purpose of this study is to understand what form and function best fits the Caribbean context. This will involve three linked components:
1. Assess the needs of the entrepreneurial community in the Caribbean with special attention to sectors that are likely to have a high impact on employment and competitiveness.
2. Examine the models through which those entrepreneurial constraints might be overcome to maximize start-up success.
3. Conduct preliminary feasibility analysis of those models.
The full terms of reference are available here.
To respond to this EOI, please register your interest no later than 11.59 pm EST on December 26th 2011 via the World Bank’s eConsult2 system, at https://wbgeconsult2.worldbank.org, and search for selection number 1055949.