FHI 360 (Family Health International) is implementing the USAID Local Enterprise Support (LENS) Project in Jordan. The LENS Project brings together local governments, business owners and key community groups to collaborate on initiatives that boost economic development and create jobs in their communities. These initiatives are focused on supporting the growth of micro and small enterprises (MSEs) and inclusive of women, youth and low-income populations. The growth of MSEs is vital to economic development; as local towns that have a higher number of locally-owned businesses have more engaged citizens who are invested in developing a stronger and more prosperous community.
USAID LENS, through published competitive solicitations, awards subgrants and subcontracts to fund activities that concentrate on pre-defined project objectives. The LENS Project can also receive unsolicited applications and proposals. Unsolicited proposals are not requested either through verbal or written solicitations.
Organizations are welcome to submit unsolicited proposals (firstname.lastname@example.org). However, potential applicants should be aware that only exceptional unsolicited proposals can be considered on a noncompetitive basis as current resources focus on funding activities that fit within our project priorities.
A valid unsolicited proposal or application must:
- Be independently originated and developed by the applicant;
- Be innovative, unique or proprietary program or approaches;
- Be prepared without any prior formal or informal solicitation by LENS Project or FHI 360, including its staff;
- Be prepared without any LENS Project supervision, guidance, recommendations, endorsement, direction, or involvement;
- Demonstrate an applicant’s related experience and capabilities for achieving the objectives of the application;
- Represent appropriate use of our resources to support or stimulate a public purpose or support LENS project’s implementation of its program objectives;
- Demonstrate how proposed project activities will create jobs (and # of jobs created) and/or increase revenue for employees and/or MSEs;
- Be submitted in English;
- Demonstrate sustainability and replicability of the project;
- Clearly define region or geographic area where project will be implemented;
- Not be an advance proposal for a known, or upcoming competitive solicitation. (Note: if an unsolicited application or proposals fits within the scope of a published and open RFA or APS, the application may be considered under these competitive solicitations);
- Not exceed a period of performance of six (6) months; and
- Not exceed a budget of 106,000 JD ($150,000).
CONCEPT PAPER PHASE
USAID LENS strongly encourages potential applicants to first submit a concept paper for initial consideration in lieu of a lengthy proposal. An unsolicited concept paper, not to exceed five (5) pages, should contain:
- Cover page, with introduction of the entity to include:
- Name and address of organization or entity;
- Type of organization (e.g., non-profit, university, etc.);
- Contact point (phone and e-mail);
- The names and phone numbers of any LENS personnel contacted regarding the proposal;
- Names of other organizations where this project idea has been submitted for funding; and
- Signature of authorized representative authorized to contractually obligate the applicant.
- Technical Information:
- Concise title and objective of the proposed activity;
- Discussion of the objectives;
- The method of approach, the amount of effort to be employed;
- The anticipated results;
- How the proposed activity will help accomplish USAID LENS’ objectives; and
- The type of support the applicant is requesting, e.g., funds, equipment, materials.
- Supporting Information
- Proposed estimated budget;
- Brief cost breakdown, e.g. salaries, fringe, travel, etc. (NOTE: no indirect costs, overhead, facilities and administrative costs will be funded);
- Facilities to be used for the work;
- Proof of business registration;
- Type of award, e.g. subcontract or subgrant, contemplated.
- The proposed duration of activity;
- Validity period for the concept paper (concept papers should be submitted at least four months in advance of startup activities);
- Letter(s) of support;
- Any proposed "cost-sharing or matching;" and
- Brief description of applicant's previous work and experience, both functionally and geographically
The preferred method of receipt for concept papers is electronically to the following E-mail address: email@example.com. Any unsolicited applications, concept papers and proposals submitted directly to any LENS staff will be automatically rejected.
Any unsolicited concept paper, application or proposal may be rejected by USAID LENS. If so, the offeror will be notified by a letter with the reasons for the rejection. USAID LENS may not use any unique and innovative unsolicited proposal or application as the basis for, or as a portion of, negotiations with another party unless the original offeror is notified and agrees to the requested use.
Review of the concept paper by the USAID LENS project does not guarantee funding. The applicant will be notified usually within 30-60 days of any further interest – or lack thereof - in its application. LENS may request the applicant to submit a more detailed application. It is the applicant’s decision, and at its discretion, to submit a more detailed application with the understanding that submission of the application does not guarantee funding or support for the proposed activities. Any associated costs related to the development of the concept paper and/or application or proposal are the responsibility of the applicant.
If LENS requests a detailed application or proposal, the applicant shall follow specific format instructions provided to them. In general, a more detailed application will involve greater elaboration of the following:
- Background/Introduction, Program Goals/Objectives and Program Description;
- Monitoring/Evaluation Plan;
- Management Plan;
- Budget and detailed budget narrative supporting each proposed cost;
- Cost Share/Other Donor Support/Program Income;
- Past Performance (similar projects last 3 years); and
- Required certifications and assurances.
Decisions to proceed with an award of a noncompetitive subgrant or subcontract based on an unsolicited application or proposal will be made in accordance with the requirements of USAID ADS 303.3.6.6 (for subgrant) or FAR 15.6 (for subcontract) if LENS determines the proposed activities of an unsolicited application is acceptable for funding on a noncompetitive basis.
The LENS Grants and Contracts Officer, upon receipt of an award recommendation with accompanying justification(s) from the technical team, will proceed to negotiate an award. The unsolicited application will serve as the basis for negotiation. Note: a recommendation does not guarantee an award. Any award that may result from an unsolicited proposal will need USAID prior approval.
The final negotiation will typically involve clarifications and/or discussions of any remaining cost issues, and a pre-award risk assessment that may or may not require additional information from the applicant. Such additional information may include, but is not limited to: (1) audited financial statements (last three years); (2) projected budget, cash flow and organization chart; (3) applicable policies and procedures (e.g., accounting, purchasing, property management); and (4) copies of business registration.
The type of award instrument and any special award conditions will be determined by the organization’s experience and risk level to LENS in making an award.