RFP Title: Enterprise Resource Planning Solution
Innovator: Niokobok
Support Category: Technology
Date of Issuance: May 6, 2020
Closing Date for Questions: May 13, 2020 at 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time
Response to Questions: May 20, 2020 at 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time
Closing Date for Submission Proposal: May 27, 2020 at 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time

Enterprise Resource Planning Solution for Niokobok

Background and Context
Many social enterprises and entrepreneurs face common challenges in their efforts to grow and scale their businesses and their impact. Access to capital, though a widespread challenge, is not the only barrier inhibiting growth. To address these challenges, Development Innovation Ventures (DIV), through its Venture Assistance Program, supports grantees to address core organizational challenges in order to grow and scale their organizations, focusing on maximizing impact and long-term sustainability.

About DIV
DIV (https://www.usaid.gov/div) is USAID’s open innovation competition that supports breakthrough solutions to the world’s most intractable development challenges—interventions that could change millions of lives at a fraction of the usual cost. DIV seeks to bring in new ideas for solving problems facing millions around the world – delivering more impact, for less money, with greater potential for sustainable scale. Inspired by the venture capital experience, DIV uses a tiered, evidence-based funding model to test ideas, gather evidence of what works, find failures quickly and cheaply, without long-term commitments, and continue to support only proven solutions.

DIV is relentlessly focused on three evaluation criteria: rigorous evidence of impact, cost-effectiveness, and pathway to scale through the private or public sectors. DIV accepts proposals, across three stages, year-round from any type of organization, in any sector and country in which USAID operates:

Stage 1: Proof of Concept / Initial Testing (up to $200,000)
Stage 2: Testing and Positioning for Scale (up to $1,500,000)
Stage 3: Transitioning Proven Solutions to Scale (up to $5,000,000)
Evidence: Support for research and evaluations that generate rigorous evidence of an innovation’s impact per dollar and potential for expansion (up to $1,500,000)

Grantee Overview:
Niokobok is an e-commerce and distribution company that allows members of the Senegalese diaspora to support their families and friends in Senegal through in-kind transfer of goods and services, including basic/staple food items, household goods, furniture, and electronics. Since 2012, Niokobok has processed over 24,000 orders and has expanded their services to include utility bill payment, and mobile top-ups. Their business model enables customers to provide essential goods to family and friends through home delivery and avoid expensive money transfer and currency exchange fees. Niokobok was awarded a Stage 1 DIV Grant.

Organizational Challenge
Capital constraints have prevented Niokobok from investing in technological solutions that can streamline operations. As a result, operations continue to involve a significant amount of manual work that could be digitized and automated. For example, orders placed online are processed manually with paper shipping and delivery forms, generating significant paperwork and creating opportunities for errors. Accounting and inventory are managed using complex Excel files that rely on the knowledge and habits of a few key staff’s institutional knowledge. These labor intensive processes negatively impact the companies efficiency and overall resilience. Niokobok’s current operational system requires significant executive bandwidth – with accounting alone demanding 25% of the CEO’s time.

Niokobok is looking for a technology solution that will allow the company to automate back office processes in order to streamline operations, reduce workload, improve institutional resilience, free management bandwidth, reduce opportunities for error, and accommodate institutional growth, including driving more data-driven decision making. The company is interested in integrating an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution (preferably open-source) that can integrate with its Prestashop and Agile CRM systems, and cover accounting as well as inventory and order management.