Funding Window 2​

Window  

Sub-window  

Target for Grant  

Window 2: Support for Business in Productive Sectors. 
supports: 
Businesses in the private sector that need to address skill shortages 

Sub-window 1 
Micro-enterprises 
in the informal 
sector 

Microenterprises in the 
informal sector  

Sub-window 2 
Small, Medium & Large enterprises in the Formal 
sector 

Small, medium, and large 
enterprises in the formal 
sector. 

Window 2: Support for Businesses in Productive Sectors

Objective: The objective of Window 2 is to address skills gaps experienced by companies in the formal and informal sectors in Sierra Leone. The fund aims to support private sector firms to improve their   access to quality skills that reflect their demands and business needs. The fund will finance short to   medium term training aimed at upgrading skills of current and potential employees. Window 2 also provides support to members or businesses in their supply chains. The fund will also finance acquisition and adoption of new technology. Businesses that will be targeted should be in the following productive sectors:- agriculture/agro-processing, fisheries, mining or extractives, construction, and tourism. These must also define the skills gaps that they need to address in order to expand their production and markets or to upgrade their production process to climb higher up the value chain. 

 

 Window 2 is divided into two tiers (sub-windows). Window 2, Tier 1 provides support for microenterprises in the informal sector, while Window 2, Tier 2 focuses on small, medium, and large enterprises in the formal sector. Support provided under Window 2 is geared towards improving the practical, technical, business and foundational skills of the Grantees or their associations in order to enhance their competitiveness. Table 5.5 presents a standard draft classification of businesses under the two sub-windows.

Eligible Beneficiaries for Window 2

For sub-window 1, eligible beneficiaries include informal sector registered member-based organizations, artisan associations and cooperatives. Eligible beneficiaries can include single entity (an association or a firm) or multiple entity (a group of firms and a group of associations) with a minimum of 25 proposed trainees across the informal and formal sector. For sub-windows 2, eligible beneficiaries are the employees of small, medium and large enterprises. 

 

Window 2,Tier 1 (Informal) 
Microenterprises 

Window 2,Tier 2 (formal) 
Small, medium and large firms 

Description  

Organized groups of self-employed 
artisans, cooperatives, associations 
etc. 

Small, medium, large enterprises 

Employees/member  

50 – 100+  

20 – 100+ 

Annual turnover (SLL)  

Up to 25 M  

Above 25 M 

Registration  

Local and/or District council; Valid 
registration certificate 

Registered entity with relevant 
authorities: Cooperate Affairs 
Commission, Registrar General, 
NRA and NASSIT. Valid business 
registration certificate 

Cross-cutting  

• Established for 2 years + 
• Employee/membership composition should be majority Sierra 
Leonean nationality 
• Employee/membership composition of 25% youth and/or women 
• Must be from the targeted sectors: Agriculture/agro-processing, 
tourism, extractives and construction  
• Demonstrated commercial viability 
• The applicant must show how the training is likely to lead to 
increased productivity and competitiveness 

Eligible Activities for Window 2

Window 2 will finance costs related to short to medium-term skills upgrading and development, technology acquisition and adoption and apprenticeships of existing or potential employees or members of association in the formal and informal sectors. Apprenticeship programs should primarily target youth and women with the aim of offering on the job training. It is expected that activities supported by the SDF will result to productivity gains for applicants. Thus, the applicant(s) is expected to demonstrate how the propose training will lead to improvement in productivity of core business activities. 

  • Skills upgrading and development: This includes training of existing employees or members or those with appointment letters. Employees of firms in supply chains are also eligible for this type of training. Training can include short and medium-term programs on technical, cognitive or business development and management skills. 

 

  • Technology acquisition and adoption: Window 2 will support applicants in the acquisition of technology and training for existing employees or members or those with appointment letters on the use and maintenance technology. Technology includes physical equipment and software central to the business practice of applicant(s). However, not more than 20% of a grant can be spent on purchase of equipment and software, and the equipment and software must relate to the proposed training activities. 

Window 2, Tier 1: Informal Microenterprises

This Window seeks to address the skills needs of microenterprises to enable them expand production and markets or upgrade their production processes. The target for support under Window 2, Tier 1 is micro enterprises (MEs) in the following productive sectors: – agriculture/agro-processing, fisheries, mining/extractives, construction, and tourism). It will also target master crafts-people and members of cooperatives /associations with the aim to improve their practical, technical, business and foundational skills in order to enhance their competitiveness. 

 

A characteristic of the informal sector is that it comprises of large numbers of micro-enterprises whose activities are fragmented. Some of these micro-enterprises organize themselves into associations. It is therefore expected that intermediate institutions, such as trades associations, cooperative, non-profit organizations will support informal sector will play major roles in defining the content of the skills development initiatives, duration, etc. and thus apply on behalf of its members for the grant under Window 1, Tier 1. 

Eligibility Criteria for Applicants under Window 2

Although individual Microenterprises are eligible to apply, the capacity constraints in terms of numbers of employees, apprentices and logistics, it may not be efficient to organize training programs for a single micro-enterprise. In this regard, it is expected that an association/organization or non-profit organization will apply on-behalf of their members. The organization submitting the application is expected to identify the training provider(s) to deliver the skills upgrading for its members. 

Associations and business organizations seeking support from the Skills Development Facility under this window will be required to satisfy the following criteria: 

  • The organization/association must have been in existence for at least 2 years; 
  • The organization/association must have a valid formal registration; 
  • The main beneficiaries of the training are self-employed micro-enterprise operators or master crafts persons, or employees or apprentices of these micro-enterprise; 
  • The training must be responsive to the training needs of existing growth-oriented MEs; 
  • The training must support the acquisition of skills which lead to increased employment and sustainability in MEs; 
  • The training of the master craftsmen must include pedagogical issues and medium-to-high-level skills upgrading for increased productivity and competitiveness; 
  • The applicant must show how the training will lead to increased productivity and 
  • competitiveness; and 
  • The support must strengthen the capacity of associations to cater for the interests of their members. 

Eligibility Criteria for Training Provider

The SDF Secretariat will maintain a list of qualified training providers which can be accessible to the public. If necessary, training providers could be selected from the list. Eligible training providers could be a private or public vocational training institution, non-profit organization, business support agencies and advisory centers or technology or fabrication facilities. 

The training provider must meet the following criteria to qualify under Window 2, Tier 1 to provide the training requested by the applicant: – 

  • have the capacity to provide relevant training 
  • has adequate professional qualifications 
  • have a demonstrable capacity

SKILLS DEVELOPMENT FUND OPERATIONS MANUAL 

  • knowledge and skill  
  • practical experience 
  • adequate training facilities 
  • necessary machines/tools and most current technology
  • proven track record for implementation of training programs for target group
  • consent to be subjected to a quality check in connection with the evaluation of the grant application. 

Certification of Trainees

Adequate arrangements must be made by the trainer to issue appropriate certificates to trainees upon completion of the training. Each trainee, who completes the training shall be provided with a certificate of attendance. In instances where the training is completed with an assessment from a recognized professional organization, the certificate may be issued by the professional association or from another recognized institution for training and assessment conducted. The Certificate bearing the logo of the training provider to be issued must have the following information: – 

  • Full name of the participant
  • Name of the training
  • Duration of the training
  • Name and signature of assessing entity (if any)/or Training Provider. 

Celling for Window 2 Tier 1 and co-funding Arrangement

The maximum grant an applicant can apply for is the Sierra Leone Leones equivalent of US$80,000 (eighty thousand USD) at the Bank of Sierra Leone mid-rate at the date of application.  Of the above amount, 90 percent shall be the Grant element and 10 percent co-funding from the applicant. In-kind co-funding of 10% of the total cost of training could include the cost associated with provision of land or training venue, teacher salaries, staff cost for grant administration, etc. 

 

The Skills Development Grant Committee has the prerogative to approve the full amount the applicant applies for or lower after ensuring eligibility of costs and conformity to the PA document and the Skills Development Fund (SDF) Operations Manual (this manual). The decision of the SDF Grants Committee is final. 

 

The contract will be a tripartite agreement between the Grantee (Informal sector microenterprise/or association), the training provider and PFMU. The training provider will be paid by the PFMU once the Grantee has confirmed that the training has been completed to its satisfaction. The PFMU may ask for documentation, e.g. attendance sheets, confirming that the training has taken place as indicated. 

 

Window 2, Tier 2: Formal Sector Small, Medium and Large Enterprises

Funding under Window 2, Tier 2 will target the formal sector small, medium and large-scale private sector companies in the priority productive sector: – agriculture/agro-processing, fisheries, mining/extractives, construction, and tourism. The purpose of the funding is to promote co-operation activities between private sector company from the formal sector and formal training providers. Training can be provided to a single employer with a sufficient number of trainees or to a number of employers with identical training needs. The company is expected to lead the process of defining the training needs, content and duration. The trainees should be employees of the company, or person(s) the applicant intends to employ, or a group of sub-contractors supplying goods or services to the company /companies, e.g. farmers. 

 

A group of businesses could form a consortium to apply for the fund. However, the consortium members must have identical training needs, and must appoint a lead, who will submit the proposal on behalf of the consortium. It is required that the applicant (s) demonstrate how the proposed skills training will benefit the company and how it will lead to increased productivity, competitiveness and sustainability. 

 

Priority shall be given to small, medium and large-scale companies operating in the five priority productive sectors. However, companies in other important productive sectors may also be eligible for support, provided sufficient justification is provided in terms of meeting the development objective of the SLSDP. 

Capacity of the Training Provider

Skills need of the applicant (s) under Window 2, Tier 2 could vary from low to high-level skills. Thus, the skills training may relate to low- or higher-level skills. Training providers should be public or private training institutions. The company applying for the Grant will be responsible for identifying the training needs and training provider(s). If required, the SDF will assist the applicant to identify an adequate training provider. The SDF Secretariat shall maintain a list of qualified training providers on its website, from which the applicant could select training providers, if required. 

Eligible training providers will be those that have a demonstrable capacity (knowledge, skill, practical experience, training facilities, and necessary state-of-the art equipment /tools) to provide the training requested by the company. The training provider must be a legally registered organization, and accredited by MTHE, NCTVA or another recognized body.

Celling for Window 2 Tier 2 and co-funding Arrangement

The maximum grant an applicant can apply for is the Sierra Leone Leones equivalent of US$200,000 (two-hundred thousand USD) at the Bank of Sierra Leone mid-rate at the date of application.  Of the above amount, 90 percent shall be the Grant element and 10 percent co-funding from the applicant. In-kind co-funding of 10% of the total cost of training could include the cost associated with provision of land or training venue, teacher salaries, staff cost for grant administration, etc. 

The Skills Development Grant Committee has the prerogative to approve the full amount the applicant applies for or lower after ensuring eligibility of costs and conformity to the PA document and the Skills Development Fund (SDF) Operations Manual (this manual). The decision of the SDF Grants Committee is final. 

The contract will be a tripartite agreement between the Grantee (company (or Consortium), the training provider and PFMU. The training provider will be paid by the PFMU once the Grantee has confirmed that the training has been completed to its satisfaction. The PFMU may ask for documentation, e.g. attendance sheets, confirming that the training has taken place as indicated. 

Activities Eligible for Support

Priority shall be given to short- and medium-term skill upgrading initiatives with a purpose to increase the competitiveness of the applying company. Although precedence shall be given to training courses accredited by the MTHE or NCTVA, it is not a requirement for support. The trainee must have a long-term contract with the Company. The trainee could also be a potential employee of the applying company. In this case, the company must have notified the trainee of the intension to recruit him/or her after the training. Under this sub-window, both semi-skilled employees and skilled employees are eligible to participate in the skills training. Eligibility criteria for applicants under this Window are as follows: – 

  • Supervisory staff are eligible for support under Window 1. The training of this staff will usually be different from that of the workers, and may be in the form of short tailor-made training programs. 
  • Training activities sponsored through Window 2, Tier 2 will primarily focus on the practical skills of the trainee, but relevant theoretical training may be sponsored as well. It is expected that the training usually be provided a training institution, but also in-company can support training provided the instructor (trainer) has the required professional qualifications and adequate facilities are available. 
  • Preference will be given to applicants indicating willingness to take on interns from training institutions support under Component 1 of the SLSDP (and possibly apprentices). The basic costs associated with this are eligible for reimbursement under the SDF. 
  •  

Training abroad or support for experts

In instances where the required expertise is not available in Sierra Leone, the cost of bringing the training expert(s) from other countries will be co-funded by the SDF and the Company. In addition, in few instances where no relevant training programs are available in Sierra Leone or can be established at a reasonable cost, the SDF will sponsor training taking place outside of the country within the Wester Africa sub region. 

Apprenticeships and Internships under Windows 1 and 2

SDF will support the design and or implementation of short-term apprenticeships and internship programs primarily aimed at youth and women with the aim of providing practical on the job training. Apprenticeship and internships can be supported by the SDF under both Windows 1 and 2.

An apprenticeship and internship are here defined as a temporary position with an emphasis on-the-job training rather than merely employment, and it can be paid or unpaid. The target group for this initiative is youth and women undergoing training at an education institution such as vocational institutes, technical colleges or polytechnics or non-formal vocational training programs. Students and degree-holders from higher education institutions are not eligible for support. 

  1. It is the responsibility of the company taking on the apprentices/interns to ensure that these are properly supervised and have an opportunity to obtain the intended practice experience. Abuse of the apprentices/interns as cheap labor will result in immediate suspension of the support.
  2. SDF will compensate up to 100 percent of documented expenses related to the cost of transportation, accommodation and feeding of the intern, learning and demonstration materials, and insurance of the intern. SDF will not pay for the cost of equipment and machinery or “starter-kits”. The stipend for each intern/apprentice cannot exceed US$ 200 per month (includes insurance). 

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