Request for Proposals: Social Impact Venture Growth Readiness & Coaching Consultant


Established in 2002 as a research and education center based at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) prepares leaders and organizations with the business skills needed to achieve last social change. For more than 15 years, CASE has educated thousands of students and worked with thousands of organizations, funders, government agencies, and researchers to define, connect theory and practice, and propel the idea of social entrepreneurship into the robust field it is today.  Over the next two years, CASE will partner with the USAID Global Development Lab’s Center for Innovation / Applied Innovation and Acceleration (CDI/ AIA) on an exciting new project as described in the following pages.

The project is based on the realization that some of the innovators supported by USAID/CDI/AIA – and many social enterprises like them – face challenges as they begin to expand into new geographies, expand their product offerings, or grow the size of their operations. At the same time, they often lack both the understanding of the barriers that prevent them from growing and the capacity to assess and address these barriers.  Assessment tools, such as customized diagnostics, combined with customized, targeted coaching can help social enterprises identify and address the most critical gaps in order to overcome their business challenges and achieve greater social impact.

Scope of Work & Approach

CASE seeks to engage a consultant/consultant team to work with us over the next two years to develop and implement a growth readiness diagnostic process that includes targeted assessment and coaching for 8 relatively early-stage social enterprises within the CDI/AIA grant portfolio. Selected enterprises will likely have some traction and revenue, and will be considering a variety of potential growth strategies.

The work will center around two major components:

1. Development and delivery of a growth readiness assessment

The project team will develop a tool and process that will lead to a comprehensive picture of an enterprise’s key strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities along critical growth readiness dimensions.  This tool will build on CASE’s work developing the CASE Smart Impact Capital Business Growth Diagnostic and will also be designed to:

  • Thoughtfully build on other existing tools, while addressing the gaps that currently exist;
  • Clearly align with learning needs of the engaged social enterprises, USAID, and CASE;
  • Clearly identify strengths and areas for improvement for each enterprise.

Recognizing that a tool is only as good as its implementation, the project team will also develop a process to walk the selected enterprises through the assessment in order to test and iterate on the tool and support the venture through the process. At a minimum, this process is likely to include (a) discussions with enterprise leadership to walk through the assessment; and (b) feedback from other enterprise stakeholders such as board members, funders, and customer in order to counteract the common issue of social ventures’ inconsistent abilities to assess their own operational strengths and weaknesses.

2. Coaching

Once the enterprises have their growth readiness assessment results, the consultant / consultant team will provide executive coaching. This coaching is intended to provide the social enterprises with useful and accountable space for reflection, guidance, recommendations or insights tailored to the unique results of their assessments.


August 1, 2018 through June 30, 2020

  • Phase 1 Project Kick-off & Grantee Selection (~2 months): CASE will refine the implementation plan, select and onboard project team, and work with USAID to select and collect initial data on grantees.
  • Phase 2 Current Statement Analysis (~3 months): Project team will initiate engagement with grantees and conduct research necessary to understand current state of grantees’ business models, goals, and funding sources. Project team will also begin developing assessment process
  • Phase 3 Assessment (~6 months): Project team will finalize and implement assessment process, working with 8 grantee enterprises to conduct comprehensive, tailored assessments of their growth readiness.  Assessment process will likely included initial baseline interviews with key grantee leadership and additional interviews with selected stakeholders.
  • Phase 4 Coaching (~9 months): Project team will work with grantees through tailored, one-on-one coaching engagements to review and provide feedback from Phase 3, and help to develop/ implement strategies necessary to identify growth challenges identified.
  • Phase 5 Learning (~3 months): Project team will compile common challenges, lessons-learned, and/or tips from the assessment and coaching process to help guide USAID’s thinking in working with their full grantee portfolio. CASE will also incorporate lessons-learned into ongoing Center work with social enterprises and the field more broadly.

Overview of Roles and Responsibilities:


  • Manage overall program, leading project scoping, direction, and maintaining oversight of consultant
  • Manage relationship, reporting, contracting, finances, and logistics with USAID
  • Lead knowledge development and dissemination
  • Select and onboard grantees to participate in program
  • Conduct any marketing and dissemination activities
  • Provide grantees access to and support for CASE Smart Impact CapitalTM


  • Directly engage with 8 social enterprises and their related stakeholders to:
    • conduct assessments through interviews (Note: CASE may also participate in selected assessment conversations for co-learning purposes),
    • complete coaching engagements virtually or in-person based on assessment results
  • Report progress and learnings to CASE

CASE and the selected consultant will work together to:

  • Develop detailed project plan
  • Conduct background research/due diligence on participating social enterprises
  • Develop (and revise) diagnostic tool to be used in assessment process
  • Share learnings to develop knowledge products that share lessons learned with USAID and others

Although the direct engagement work will be conducted by the consultant, it is important that the entire project team is learning together by sharing information about the interviews, assessments, and recommendations. This will allow for curation of lessons across the cohort of participants and iteration on the diagnostic tool.

Additionally, if a consultant team is selected, the team must identify a main point of contact/project lead that will remain stable throughout the engagement, be responsible for reporting out to CASE, and coordinate with any other consultants within the broader team.

The Consultant will report to and work with:

Location & Travel

Location for this role is flexible as the work can be completed virtually. The consultant will be required to set-up and lead regular meetings with the CASE team throughout the duration of the project.  Any travel-related costs will be paid for by the consultant.


The consultant will act as an independent contractor and will receive payment of $100,000 ($50,000 per year for two years). Payment schedule will be deliverables-based, to be determined in consultation with the consultant.

To Apply

Please submit a proposal by July 27, 2018 via email to  The proposal should include:

  • Backgrounds and experience of consultant/consultant team, with emphasis on:
    • Experience leading or supporting social ventures, including clearly identifying the geographic regions in which consultant/team has worked
    • Experience conducting executive or business coaching
  • Proposed approach for working with CASE to develop a diagnostic tool and process that assesses a social venture’s growth readiness, including any current growth-related frameworks or tools used by the consultant
  • Proposed approach for addressing growth readiness factors through coaching engagements, including type and number of direct conversations with social enterprise leaders and providing at least one hypothetical example of what a coaching engagement could look like
  • Any current hypotheses on what lessons will surface through this project that will be beneficial to USAID and/the broader social impact field
  • Proposed deliverables-based payment schedule

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