Bid on procurement opportunities for IFI and UN-financed projects
You are ready to make a bid for an IFI or UN-financed project once your company has:
- read all of the publicly available information on a project of interest
- followed the instructions given in the specific project notice
- prepared a bid submission that is fully responsive and, focused on the expertise or technologies that will solve challenges and contribute to the projects’ success.
- contacted a member of the broader Development Assistance Market Support network or a trade commissioner in market if needed
- clarified questions about the EOI/RFP, before the submission deadline
Procurement opportunity portals
Before bidding, use these portals to research procurement opportunities (note, some of these portals need a subscription for full access).
- Development Business Online (UNDB) is the official platform for consulting, contracting, and export opportunities. Trusted source of procurement information from the IFIs, UN agencies, and government institutions.
- dgMarket is a portal for government procurement tenders and tenders of international development agencies.
- UN Global Marketplace (UNGM) is a single point of entry to most of the UN procurement market and a global vendor sourcing portal for the UN procurement system.
- Development Aid (DevAid) is a membership organization providing comprehensive information services for the international developmental sector.
- Devex (Development Executive) is the largest provider of recruiting and business development services and news for global development.
Important things to remember
- understand the bid package for the contract of interest.
- when preparing Expressions of Interest and proposals, attention to detail is key.
- establish relationships with IFI/UN staff in HQ and Borrowing Member Countries by attending events, visiting IFI offices and arranging for virtual meetings.
- if visiting a Borrowing Member Country, contact Country Directors/Country Managers and sector specialists based in the country, to introduce your product or service
- always be prepared, review all publicly available information and have specific topics to discuss
- demonstrate what you can do to help project officers advance their project
- be ready to share your experiences, capabilities and solutions to the problems they are trying to solve
- participate in events organized by Canada's Office of Liaison with International Financial Institutions to gain intelligence and make contacts
- identify your niche expertise or technologies
- respect the rules of when to engage with staff, and when it is not appropriate, such as after a submission deadline
Know your markets
- target a geographic area where you believe you can have success. If you have already exported successfully to a particular market, you can expect that your strategy would adapt well to other project opportunities there.
- visits to the borrowing country are essential for consulting and engineering firms, and can be very fruitful for exporters of goods and equipment as well.
Partnerships and sub-contracting
- review IFI/UN contract awards data to learn who your competitors are and, view them as potential partners instead
- find and work with a local partner (Read our Partnering Guide), they:
- offer your company a local presence and expertise
- already have someone in the area which can help reduce costs
- may offer an advantage during the evaluation process
- the local Trade Commissioner Service team can connect you with qualified local contacts
- small and medium enterprises (SMEs) should partner with and sub-contract to companies at the local (in-country) and international levels to help them become familiar with the process.
Manage your expectations
- being involved in an IFI/UN project from start to finish can require a substantial long-term (months to years) investment on your part
- the IFIs and UN encourage an open and transparent competitive bidding processes, thus opportunities for direct contracting will be limited.
- firms from across the globe take part in IFI and UN projects, so we encourage firms to be selective and prepare as much as possible before bidding.
- you should consider IFI/UN-funded business opportunities as just one element of your larger international marketing strategy, rather than the only entry point into a new market
- though a less risky entry point for new markets, things can and do, go wrong. Act quickly to reach out to the support network as soon as issues or, concerns arise.
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