Request for Expres...

Request for Expression of Interest: Do mLabs Still Make a Difference? A Second Rapid Assessment

infoDev will be conducting a rapid assessment to determine the influence of mobile innovation labs (mLabs) in local entrepreneurial systems. The study will examine three aspects of the mLabs' performance: economic results, development impact associated with the usage of mobile applications, and contribution to mobile entrepreneurship ecosystems.

The rapid assessment is a follow-up to a 2014 study—"Do mLabs Make a Difference?"—which found that mLabs positively influenced the talent pool of early-stage innovators, the generation of linkages in the ecosystem, and the stimulation of innovation.

Deadline: March 18, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. (EST)

Where to Apply: Log in to the WBG eConsultant2 system at and access the page for Selection #1214182.

Contact: Rachel Fano (

About the Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice

The World Bank Group's Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice brings together diverse World Bank and IFC Advisory units around a common vision: promoting economic growth, productivity gains, job creation, and rising incomes in developing countries to eradicate poverty and boost shared prosperity.

The Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice (T&C) is a trusted partner for countries that seek to develop dynamic and resilient economies, expand market opportunities, and enable private initiative. T&C supports global and country efforts to boost the volume and value of trade, enhance the investment climate, improve competitiveness in sectors, and foster innovation and entrepreneurship.

About infoDev

infoDev is part of the T&C Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unit, which carries out work related to innovation and entrepreneurship policy and regulation. infoDev was founded in 1995 with a primary focus on ICT. Today, infoDev focuses on three growth sectors: digital entrepreneurship, climate technologies, and agribusiness. The program tests and scales initiatives to support entrepreneurs in developing economies to promote growth, productivity gains, rising incomes, jobs, and consumer choice.

infoDev is a donor-funded program with both public and private sector support. Donors include Australian Aid, the Government of Canada, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NORAD, UK Aid, the Ministry of Science and Technology of South Africa, the Government of Sweden, and the World Bank Group. The program has field experience in more than 70 countries and leverages this global network, including World Bank country teams, to facilitate learning and partnership opportunities.

Scaling a business and bringing a product or service to market requires knowledge, networks, and capital, which are often accessible only to a privileged few. infoDev democratizes the opportunity for innovative, growth-oriented entrepreneurs to realize their potential. infoDev connects entrepreneurs with the knowledge, capital, and markets they need to grow their businesses. The program also provides seed grants, collaborates with business enablers to improve their performance, and provides insight to policymakers.

infoDev's knowledge and evidence related to entrepreneurship programs continuously grow through its monitoring and evaluation framework, which is designed to enable quality assurance and course corrections, and to yield insights that can influence the work of other World Bank teams and governments, private sector organizations, and development partners. This rapid assessment is an important part of this work.

Background of "Do mLabs Make a Difference?"

In 2014, infoDev commissioned a rapid assessment study to analyze the influence of mobile innovation labs (mLabs) in local entrepreneurship ecosystems. The study, "Do mLabs Make a Difference?", examined three aspects of the mLabs' performance: economic results, development impact associated with the usage of mobile applications, and contribution to the mobile entrepreneurship ecosystem.

The assessment found three major conclusions:

  • First, the interventions of mLabs were positively associated with variables including start-up revenue generation and job creation through the creation and growth of start-ups.
  • Second, about 10 percent of the 292 mobile applications identified as developed by innovators supported by mLab ECA, South Africa, and East Africa had actual or potential development impact, defined as a contribution to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), addressing users at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP), or otherwise having a transformative potential in improving conditions for people and businesses.
  • Third, the influence and effects of mLabs on entrepreneurial ecosystems varied across countries given that each mLab operates in a unique ecosystem. Yet, in all cases, mLabs made palpable contributions to the talent pool and early stage innovators, to the generation of linkages in the ecosystem, and to the stimulation of innovation.

Second Rapid Assessment: "Do mLabs Still Make a Difference?"

The second rapid assessment will complement the first assessment by offering a longer-term, in-depth view on the program's results. The objective of the asessment is to provide evidence on the influence of mLabs—and the business and entrepreneurs they support—through three levels of indicators: firms (including survival, financials, and job creation), end users of applications developed, and the entrepreneurial ecosystems in which they operate.

The assessment will also examine whether the firms surveyed in the first rapid assessment still exist, and if so, measure their performance according to financials, job creation, and development or modification of digital applications. In cases where these businesses no longer exist, it is important to investigate whether the founders launched a new venture.

Finally, the assessment will investigate how end users are benefiting from the applications developed by entrepreneurs and businesses supported by infoDev.

Assessment Methodology

Field visit interviews, focus groups, and surveys to collect data on:

  • A representative sample of businesses and entrepreneurs examined in the first rapid assessment
  • A representative sample of businesses and entrepreneurs supported by the mLabs following infoDev's intervention
  • A representative sample of end users reached by original, modified or new applications
  • The entrepreneurial ecosystem in which the supported businesses and entrepreneurs  and their beneficiaries exist

Lessons and insights on the impact of mLabs on supported businesses and entrepreneurs, end users, and entrepreneurial ecosystems, complementing the findings of the first rapid assessment.

Knowledge products—a report and infographic including copy-editing and design layout—with the same look and feel as the original rapid assessment.

Assessment Scope

The assessment will focus on the three mLabs examined in the first rapid assessment—South Africa, Kenya, Armenia—as well as Senegal.

Assessment Requirements

A successful consulting firm should:

  • have a sound understanding of digital and mobile innovation and entrepreneurship programs
  • have strong experience in evaluating digital and mobile innovation and entrepreneurship programs in the context of developing country beneficiaries
  • have an understanding of the political economy and entrepreneurial ecosystem that characterize developing countries, and their influence on encouraging digital and mobile innovation and entrepreneurship

Assessment Resources

To the best of its ability, infoDev will ensure that all assessed mLab managers and staff are available for consultation, interviews, and assistance in reaching out to previously assessed businesses and entrepreneurs. The consultant will also have access to the previous assessment, contact details for previously assessed firms, and other necessary resources.

Deliverables Timetable

Deliverable Timing
Submit work plan within 3 weeks of contract signature
Submit draft report within 2 months of contract signature
Receive written comments from infoDev within 2.5 months of contract signature
Submit final preliminary report and infographics, including PowerPoint within 3.5 months of contract signature
Present final report to infoDev team within 4 months of contract signature

Evaluation Criteria

  • Qualifications and competence of the staff related to the assignment
  • Adequacy of methodology and proposed work plan in responding to the Terms of Reference
  • Experience of the consultants in conducting similar evaluations in similar technical areas and geographic locations

Proposal Requirements

All firms are expected to submit both technical and financial proposals before the submission deadline.

Assessment Procurement

The assessment will be procured and overseen by infoDev.

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