Youth Engagement in Agribusiness

To Enable Youth and Women to Venture as horti-preneurs in Mbeya, Songwe and Katavi Regions of Southern Tanzania through a Training, Coaching and Mentoring Approach.


Focusing on the younger generation and a growing group in the world’s population, we see quite some challenges in countries where Rikolto is active. In Burkina Faso, Ecuador and Tanzania for example the share of young people in the population is large with half of the population younger than 25 years. Tanzania is on the 10th place in the world in terms of the share of young people. It is important therefore to have a special focus for this substantial part of the population to ensure that they have employment access in various sectors of the economy. This includes the agriculture sector, which employs most of the population in developing countries like Tanzania.

Agriculture is the most important source of income for young people in Tanzania with (62.5%). The informal sector follows in second place with (23.3%). In Ecuador 49.9% of the population is younger than 25 years and 39.9% of young people (15 to 24 years old) is unemployed. The demographic profile of Burkina Faso also shows a predominantly young population and a high poverty index. In 2017, an estimated 67% of the population were under 25 years of age. While the agricultural sector is by far the sector that provides productive employment opportunities for most of the population (it employs nearly 80% of the labour force) and only 0.2% of the working-age population is trained in agricultural occupations. Young people are increasingly turning away from the agricultural and agri-food sector. However, the involvement of youth is essential in maintaining the dynamism of the agri-food sector which extends from production through processing to marketing and ensures a supply of high-quality nutritious products in thriving resilient local food systems.

The Tanzanian labour market is at a critical juncture. While its gross domestic product (GDP) has more than doubled over the past decade from US $21.5 billion to $47.4 billion in 2017, its population and especially youth population is growing rapidly. Young people aged 15-34 already make up 65 percent of the labour market. Each year approximately 800,000 young people enter the Tanzania workforce to an estimated 40,000 formal sector jobs and the number of job seekers is going up each year particularly in rural areas. In order to grow the economy by using its large youth population and taking advantage of the “demographic dividend”, Tanzania must adopt new approaches to skills development, employment and entrepreneurship.

Rikolto in East Africa together with its partners (INADES Formation, Agronomos Sin Fronteras, MIICO and TCCIA) secured funding for a 4-year horticultural programme in Tanzania called “Building Inclusive and Competitive Horticulture Businesses in Tanzania’s Southern Highlands (BICHOBS)”, which aims to improve and increase market competitiveness in the fruit, vegetables and spices sector supplying both domestic and international markets. As part of this program,

Rikolto plans the establishment of an incubator and adoption of a business development curriculum that will change the attitude among youth on the issues of investing in horticulture and generating the employment in the three regions of southern Tanzania. The incubator is set up to consist of 2 cohorts to be completed during this time span with an overall objective of improving the horticulture sector and transforming Southern Highlands food systems to be more sustainable and inclusive.

The program is aligned with Rikolto’s global ambitions on food system thinking, sustainable sourcing landscape approach, inclusive business facilitation strategy, evidence for impact and upscaling the Food Smart City strategy. There is a need for coaching, mentoring, technical and financial support on young entrepreneurs’ business plans and ideas as that is the key to provide equal opportunities for both young women and men in five regions of Southern Tanzania. By engaging the youth and women in environmentally sustainable production of safe foods, highly nutritious diets and crop diversification, malnutrition in the Southern Highlands will be reduced while respecting ecological boundaries and improving the agricultural landscape of the regions. As such, this program will contribute to improving the performance of Tanzania’s horticulture sector, the inclusion of smallholder farmers, job creation and nutrition security as the overall project objective.

Description of the Assignment Rikolto focuses on Inclusive Business Models development (coaching, mentoring and inspiration), knowledge (access to experts and practical field education) and market facilitation (access to markets) for young women and men in the horticulture agri-food value chain. Particular attention goes to contributing to facilitating access to Healthy sustainable and Nutritious Food by all categories of consumers. Therefore, Rikolto is looking to continue building an incubator that supports the development of new horti-business/agripreneurs ventures horticulture food systems and that links horticulture agribusinesses to financial institutions and to matching grants for a selected number of successful and promising young agripreneurs.

The incubator is planned as an incubation trajectory comprising of four phases to offer young entrepreneurs in the horticulture sector access to experts, funding, knowledge, mentorship and business networks. 1. Recruitment: wide-range recruitment of youth-led business proposals in the horticulture sector (with focus on young female entrepreneurs) through media communication campaign and easily accessible application process such of LGA network. Screening and selection of promising Horti-business proposals equally spread across the targeted regions into the next phase. 2. Bootcamp: intensive short-term regional training programs for150 (Mbeya, Songwe and Katavi) youth-led businesses to improve their business models and products. Trainings, workshops and inspiration sessions by experts to give the young entrepreneurs tools to grasp the basics of good business in an inclusive and eco-sustainable way. During a selection moment with panel of experts judging, the most interesting businesses across the 5 regions will be selected to participate in the next phase. 3. Incubation to investment-readiness: one-on-one mentorship and in-depth support to help the businesses further develop their business plan and structure, reviewing budgets for seed funding before program matching making. On the other hand, both technical and financial support is provided to target and improve earlier identified issues, allowing to grow into a viable enterprise that is ready to attain investment from public and private sector (impact and commercial investors). 4. Pitching day and Investor matchmaking: a final selection moment and marketplace is organised to introduce the businesses to potential investors and financial linkage opportunities. The most promising businesses are identified to receive continued financial support through a matching grant and further financial and technical linkages.

This incubation trajectory is preceded by a proper inception and planning phase; tools, selection criteria, documentation/reporting and budgeting are prepared during this first phase. This to make the trajectory run smoothly and with quick succession of the consecutive phases, and to be able to communicate expectations and planning in a timely way among each other and to all external actors involved.

Rikolto is looking to engage a consultant(s) to manage such agri-food incubator program that inspires and supports 150 new and emerging hortipreneurs in the next year The incubation program strives for innovative and sustainable solutions that enable youth and in particular women to significantly access the horticulture sector and contribute to local, inclusive, resilient and healthy food systems in five regions of southern Tanzania.

Objective of the Assignment The consultant (s) will plan and implement the incubation program according to the description provided above. The consultants will run the program fitting to achieve the larger objectives of the BICHOBS-program and to improve financial literacy and business development for youth and women and to stimulate the establishment and professionalisation of (female) youth-led businesses that contribute to more inclusive and sustainable food systems in Mbeya, Songwe and Katavi.

There is a need to come up with actions to link promising agribusinesses to financial markets and stimulate businesses to achieve a level of professionalism that makes them ready for such investments. Simple but bankable business plans should be developed and linked to access LGAs funds or loan from financial institution for matching grants. Some high-potential agribusiness plans should come out of the coaching sessions for youth agripreneurs. If some young Agri-entrepreneurs cannot realize their ambitions via traditional finance channels, there is the need for the consultants to come up with actions that will develop their potential by providing co-investment opportunities.

Scope of work The consultant(s), with the support of Rikolto and their partners will lead in the whole course of undertaking the assignment. The scope of work includes and is not limited to the following: i) To build upon the incubation model of the first cohort, refining the model by integrating lessons learned during this first cohort, to ensure support of youth (total of 150 women and men) hortipreneurs three regions. To develop and implement a set of easy tools, consistent selection criteria and transparent assessment throughout the proposed 4-step incubation process. ii) To support youth in the five regions of the Southern Highlands of Tanzania to develop business plans, business canvas, visioning, financial and administrative management, accounting, sustainable resource management, quality control, strategic planning, and linkages with other actors in the sector. iii) To mentor and coach youth in starting and growing their own Horti business. iv) To implement all aspects of coaching, mentoring and feedback model on the youth’s business plans and ideas whereby it is key to provide equal opportunities for both young women and men in the three mentioned regions of Southern Tanzania and stimulate inclusive youth employment in these businesses. This may involve producing sustainable, high-quality food themselves, or produce seedlings, provide BDS, facilitate market and/or finance access, aggregate and distribute healthy and sustainable food, process and/or ecologically packs food, especially horticulture from smallholder farmers. Within this range, a target topic can be identified per cohort. v) To facilitate youth to access critical resources for their businesses, including all necessary business compliances (Business registration, Business Licence) other resources such as capital, technical, legal, and business knowledge, market and a professional network.
vi) To support and build a stimulating environment to develop soft skills (resilience, leadership, collaboration) and ensure youth acquire exposure to successful agribusinesses and entrepreneurs and enable the promising young entrepreneurs to learn from more experienced peers within the country. To identify, inform and coordinate any necessary deemed external experts for this pursuit as part of the consultancy assignment. vii) To tailor and implement the incubation program to provide financial literacy, business development and matching grants for women and youth to become successful hortipreneurs. The support will focus on getting selected businesses from the final phase ready for investment from public and private sector and for matching grants. viii) To maximize impact of matching grants by ensuring investment-readiness of businesses by taking the lead in proper due diligence and assessment process of business plan and budgeting of selected promising youth-led businesses. This process is successfully completed when the full matching grants are disbursed and accounted for.

Expected Deliverables

The consultant(s) will be expected to ensure the following deliverables are in place as a proof of their successful completion of the task: 1. An inception report and presentation which shall be presented before the start of the assignment to introduce the approach, training, coaching and mentoring program and getting to understand all relevant tools to be used for the assignment. 2. Inception report clearly outlining how the assignment will be carried out with approach to be used. The report will outline the key tools used during the incubation trajectory and establish the detailed criteria that will be used for the selection of youth that will be trained, youth that will undergo incubation and mentorship and youth that will receive a matching grant. It will also include a detailed timeline of the entire trajectory until the matching grants are disbursed to the selected promising entrepreneurs and accounted for. The report will need to be approved by Rikolto before going to the next step 3. Objective selection of youth according to the criteria that support the program’s objectives and proper documentation/reporting of these selection processes. 4. Training, coaching and mentoring of these youth until investment-readiness; Rikolto expect to receive a well-planned training, coaching and mentorship program of which it should be agreed before execution. Consultants are responsible in engaging competent, qualified business experts who will be responsible for Coaching and mentoring the youth before, during and post acceleration phase. 5. Conduct due diligence for selected youth businesses, review of youth business plan, work plan and budgets preparing them for matching grants and financial linkages. 6. An operational action plan that will be used to link trained agripreneurs with experts in the field and with the financial sector. This includes the development and implementation of an accessible financial model for matching grants for selected youth and coordinating due diligence and proper accountability for the youth to be able to receive the grants. 7. A financial proposal for the whole assignment that includes costs for professional fees, materials and other associated costs to host bootcamp/training, mentoring and coaching. 8. The final handing over report after the training, coaching, mentoring, investor matchmaking and disbursement of matching grants.

This assignment is to be completed within a maximum of one year, with full disbursement and retirement of the matching grant finalised by December 2023

Qualifications and Experience • Companies (s) / team or an individual with master’s degree in social sciences, Agriculture economics, Business Administration, economics, or equivalent qualification. • Individuals or companies with experience of running entrepreneurship and business incubation programs for women and youth in Tanzania. • Proposed consultant team Must have a minimum of 7 years of overall experience conducting business consultancies, especially agriculture related projects. • Good understanding of facilitations approaches/Market System Development (MSD)
• Familiarity and understanding of agribusinesses and demonstrated knowledge and professional experience in developing agribusiness financial models, incubators, business and strategic plans with a clear track record. • Experience in conducting Business ToT’s, B2B meetings, preferably on agriculture themes • Demonstrated experience of working in donor funded projects under public sector and /or NGO’s. • Ability to engage private sector and policy makers both at National and local level. • Excellent analytical, interpersonal, communication and reporting skills both in English and Swahili.

Procedure to apply

Interested and qualified consultants are requested to submit a proposal to eastafrica.recruitment [at] by December 23rd, 2022, detailing the following.

• An application cover letter describing the interest in undertaking the assignment with an indication of target regions • A detailed proposal of how the consultant will address the above objectives. • A proposed budget for the program, consultancy fees and other costs for the program. • A proposed work plan for cohort 2 Generation Food Program.
• Qualifications of the consultant and team (attach CV). • Similar assignments conducted in the recent past.