Voucher Service System

What is the Voucher system?

Broadly defined, a voucher system consists of fully paid-for services granted to SMEs/Start-ups with the aim of addressing predefined challenges/goals.

In this context, the voucher system is meant to assess and advise on the individual needs of SMEs/Start-ups as well as the provision of consulting services by incentivizing the adoption of new technologies, services, and/or skills.

Vouchers therefore work as empowering tools to link SMEs/Start-ups to market experts to acquire the technical know-how to move their companies forward.

This voucher scheme will have a narrower focus on products (digital products) and process development and is meant to foster innovation and/or streamline operations and services.

GIZ defines a single consultancy offered to an SME/Start-up by a service provider in any of the services (see below) as a voucher.

Vouchers have two main impacts for SMEs/Start-ups, both of which overcome major incentive barriers to the usual engagement between the beneficiaries and service providers.

First, the voucher empowers the SMEs/Start-ups to access quality services from market experts with their innovation-related problems for free (fully subsidized by GIZ), something that they might not have been in the absence of such an incentive.

Secondly, the vouchers provide an incentive for the market experts to work with SMEs/Start-ups when their tendency might either have been to work with larger firms only.

    How does the voucher system work?

    The voucher system has the following steps of practice for SMEs/Start-up’s applicants:

    1. The DigiCenter has a list of services to be offered to SMEs/Start-ups. GIZ then hires a competent subject matter expert to offer this service(s) to SMEs/Start-ups with a scope that covers an individual service (voucher).
    2. The availability of vouchers is advertised widely through Incubation centers, various chambers, and communities of practice which are actively involved in the promotion of SMEs/Start-ups.
    3. SMEs/Startups then apply through the DigiCenter website (through this page)
    4. Vouchers are then awarded by the DigiCenter after reviewing applications. Specific selection criteria are set out for each unique service
    5. The SME/Start-up(beneficiary) will then be handed over to the subject matter expert (consultant offering the service) to work with and start the consultation period of not more than 5 business days. (They do not have to be 5 consecutive business days).
    6. Once the service provider finishes the advisory consultation, they should provide a report that is signed off by the SME/Start-up(beneficiary)
    7. There is generally a time limit of 4 weeks by which a voucher must be consumed by the SME/Start-up (once their application is successful) and redeemed by the Service Provider. The currently offered vouchers will be available from September 2022 until October 2023.

    Note: A voucher is fully paid for by GIZ and can be redeemed only once by an SME/Start-up and one voucher can be redeemable for only one service at a time.

    Services

    The vouchers offered to SMEs/start-ups will be based on the following predefined services that will each be customized to fit the SMEs/start-ups’ needs: 

    • Finance and Tax advisory  
    • Marketing and Sales advisory 
    • Business Assessment advisory 

    Finance and Tax Advisory 

    The financial & Tax advisory voucher is a unique and customized package – a mix of various ingredients tailored to identify any gaps in the SME/Start-ups’ finances and tax operations and/or build upon them with the aim of addressing various challenges in their business offerings.  

    The Service provider will support SMEs/Start-ups to review their fundamental financials. This will include review of costs of products, review of monthly expenses, review of inventory, review of payables and receivables, and review of debt, and projecting cash flow. The contractor will advise the SME/start-ups on efficient financial planning, developing, and growth strategy for their businesses. 

    This will be done through an initial assessment of the start-up’s financials to identify the most important needs and advise accordingly. 

    The services to the SMEs/start-ups include, but are not limited to, the following services: 

    • Financial Analysis – Products, Working Capital, Cash Flow: The consultant will review the business model to help the client better understand their fundamental financials. This can include review of costs of products, review of monthly expenses, review of inventory, review of payables and receivables, and review of debt, and projecting cash flow. 
    • Financial Accounting Setup: The consultant will review the current financial and accounting tracking. They will help setup systems to ensure that financial information is being properly tracked, and that supporting documents are organized. This can include setup of a Chart of Accounts, defining products, organizing sales tracking, organizing expense tracking, organizing investment and pay-out tracking, and training in an accounting software. 
    • Tax Advisory: The consultant will review the current taxes that the company pays and advise on the proper tax policies that the company must follow. This can include review of financial documents, tax documents, training of accountants or bookkeepers in tax rules, and assistance in tax filing.   
    • Long-term Financial Planning: The consultant will advise the SMEs/start-ups to examine what the firm can accomplish by developing a long-term financial plan by Including how much financing SMEs/Start-ups will need to support the forecast sales growth (percentage of sales approach) 

    Marketing and Sales Advisory 

    The Sales & Marketing advisory voucher is a unique and customized package – a mix of various ingredients tailored to the requirements of the product to be competitive on the market. Each Tech start-up and/or SME will receive a tailored package that suits their unique offering.   

    The service provider will support SMEs/start-ups to develop competitive and desirable products/services for the local and foreign market by improving their product marketability and review their business model to help them better understand their fundamental sales and marketing strategies. This will include a comprehensive market research for the SMEs/start-ups product or services. 

    The services to the tech SMEs/start-ups include, but are not limited to, the following services: 

    • Market, Customer, Product & Competition Analysis: The service provider will guide market research through customer interviews or surveys as well as review the SMEs/start-ups competitive environment. 
    • Inbound & Outbound Marketing: The service provider will create a strategy for the SMEs/start-ups to continually draw customers to their services and products. As well as create that initial introduction/ re-introduction for their company. 
    • Social Media Marketing & Search Engine Optimization: The service provider will guide the SMEs/start-ups on how to create a social media strategy to increase social engagement and traffic. While also helping them boost their search engine rankings across the web. 
    • Online Branding and Content Creation: The service provider will advise the SMEs/start-ups to create a strategy to generate original content that is relevant, timely, and interesting to attract and retain potential consumers. These SMEs/start-ups should build up their online brand presence, website, and other elements of branding to drive long-term growth. 

    The service provider will guide the SMEs/start-ups throughout this process and create a long-term action plan for them to follow. 

    Business Assessment Advisory 

    The business assessment voucher is a unique and customized package – a mix of various ingredients tailored to the requirements of the business to be competitive on the market. 

    The consultant will advise the SMEs/start-ups on efficient planning, developing, and growth strategy for their businesses. 

    This will be done through an initial comprehensive business assessment of the SMEs/start-ups’ operations to identify the most important needs and provide technical mentorship accordingly. 

    The services to the SMEs/start-ups include, but are not limited to, the following services: 

    • Active Sales Process Setup: the service provider will support the SMEs/start-ups to understand and segment their clients, create strategies and processes to reach their customers as well as tracking clients through these processes.  
    • Process and Capacity Analysis: The service provider will support the SMEs/start-ups to review the operations process. This will include creating a process map, calculating capacity and lead time for products, identifying bottlenecks and how to remove them, and recommendations on changes in process or equipment.   
    • Organization Structure & KPIs Setup: The service provider will support the SMEs/start-ups to review the structure and organizational chart of the company. They will work with the business owner to organize the company’s structure and management. This can include defining reporting structures, job responsibilities and job descriptions, and setting the key goals for the team. 
    • Product offering analysis: The service provider will support SMEs/start-ups to conceptualize and understand their product feasibility. 
    • Commercialization: The service provider will support SMEs/start-ups to complete a comprehensive go-to-market launch or relaunch of their product on the market. 

    The service provider will guide the SMEs/start-ups throughout this process and create a long-term action plan for them to follow. 

    Application procedure & eligibility

    The DigiCenter will assess all applications received and will evaluate them based on a pre-set criterion. 

    The application process for a voucher is as follows: 

    • Interested SMEs/start-ups will complete an online application form for a voucher based on the service(s) they’re interested in, where they will  outline their specific needs and a rationale for why they need the tailored consultancy service(s). 
    • The DigiCenter will then review the applications. The selection will be based on the predefined criteria below.  Once the application and all required materials are submitted, the DigiCenter will then evaluate the applications: 
    • If the application is deemed invalid, the committee will communicate to the applicant with comments on necessary corrections if relevant or notification of rejection. 
    • If the application is deemed valid, the applicant will be informed on the next steps. 
    • The DigiCenter team is responsible to inform all applicants by email within five business days about the decision (valid or Invalid). 

    Applicants should complete this application and all necessary documentation required to be eligible for a voucher.

    Selection Criteria

    The DigiCenter, its partners, shall maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct governing the selection, award, implementation, and oversight of the voucher system. The evaluation committee will consist of 3 internal DigiCenter internal experts. 

    The evaluating members and the staff of DigiCenter shall neither solicit nor accept gratuities, favors, or anything of monetary value from Applicants. 

    The selection criteria are described in the table below: 

    Application Criteria 

    Total Scores 

    A description of the problem they would like to solve. The problem should be very practical in nature, in the sense that firms should be able to use the acquired knowledge/service to cope with a minor technological problem or set out possible solutions for a more complex problem (i.e. consulting). 

    40% 

    The rationale of the requested service from the company. How the requested service will help them grow 

    40% 

    Steps the company has already taken to acquire these services on its own and why it needs support to accomplish them 

    20% 

     

    100% 

    Disbursement of Vouchers

    The successful applicants will receive a voucher responding to the services applied for. The DigiCenter will make the necessary arrangements for the service provider and the beneficiary to commence the consulting service. 

    Under no circumstances will any payment be made to the service provider by the beneficiary of the voucher. 

    The Service is fully subsidized to SMEs/Start-ups. Only the DigiCenter is allowed to make payments to the service provider. 

    Termination, Suspension and Modification of Vouchers

    • Termination and suspension

    GIZ through the DigiCenter reserves the right to terminate or suspend the Voucher support.  

    • Modification 

    Any modification to a Voucher requires approval from the DigiCenter and the mutual written endorsement of the beneficiary and service provider through a written request to the DigiCenter as a formal modification to the Voucher, signed by all parties – the beneficiary and Service Provider.