BPP Call for Green Recovery Partnerships in Vietnam: Application Guidelines

BPP Call for Green Recovery Partnerships in Vietnam: Application Guidelines

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Who can apply?

Applicants

Welcome! This guidance is designed to support interested applicants to the Vietnam Green Recovery Call for Partnerships.

If you have any questions or need help, email us at applications@thebpp.com.au.

Who can apply? 

All applications must include at least one business partner, who can apply in consortium with other businesses, investors, non-government organisations (NGOs), not-for-profit organisations (NFPs), cooperatives, universities, or other types of organisations. While more than one organisation may be involved in a single application, joint applications are not mandatory. In cases where the private sector is partnering with another organisation, the private sector partner must play a key role in the partnership, and there must be a commercially viable business model driven by a private sector entity.

Applicant organisations can originate from any country; however, they must be able to operate in Vietnam.

Applicant organisations need to be able to meet the requirements of DFAT’s due diligence process, including:

  • Registration with a business or other recognised registration/accreditation body
  • Established financial history
  • Not listed on sanctions lists, including those published by the Australian Government, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, or the Inter-American Development Bank.
  • Other background criminal and reputational checks.

The BPP reserves the right to reassess any proposal if, following submission, the membership of a successful multiple partner proposal changes, including partners withdrawing from the partnership.

What kind of proposals can be submitted?

Funding amount

The level of funding requested under the BPP’s Call for Green Recovery Partnerships in Vietnam can range between AUD 250,000 and AUD 750,000.

Applicants must commit to match or exceed BPP funding through the combined contributions of all partner organisations in a proposal.

Co-contributions pledged by the applicants may either be cash or a combination of cash and eligible in-kind contributions. Co-contributions can be split between partner applicants, allowing multiple organisations to contribute.

Co-contributions from applicant organisations must be specific to the proposed initiative and not part of activities the organisation(s) are already undertaking. Donor or philanthropic funds cannot be counted as part of a partner co-contribution.

The BPP is unable to provide funding for taxation purposes. Any taxation requirements are the responsibility of the partner and cannot be paid for with grant funding from the BPP or the approved partner contribution. It is recommended applicants seek legal and/or financial advice, including on eligibility for tax exemptions, before applying to the BPP.

For eligible organisations registered in Australia for tax purposes, including NGOs/NFPs, Goods and Services Tax (GST) is payable by the BPP in addition to the grant funding awarded.

Period of funding

Proposed initiatives may be funded for one to three years, subject to continued achievement of partnership milestones. Applicants must specify an implementation period of between one and three years in their application. The implementation period nominated by the applicant must fall between May 2021 and June 2024.

What selection criteria are used to assess applications?

Innovation areas

The BPP invites businesses and their partners to submit proposals in, but not limited to, the below areas of innovation within the climate and renewable energy sectors.

 

Applications that do not address this key requirement will not be considered.

BPP Selection Criteria

In addition to addressing a climate and energy issue, all applications to the BPP’s Call for Green Recovery Partnerships must demonstrate their alignment to five key selection criteria:

  1. Partnership
  2. Commercial viability
  3. Social and environmental impact
  4. Gender equality and social inclusion
  5. Value for money

1. Partnership

The BPP will assist Australian or overseas organisations to invest in new business approaches to partnering that support green recovery and deliver on social and commercial outcomes in Vietnam.

In a BPP proposal, partners need to demonstrate mutual sharing of objectives, priorities and capabilities along with a clear vision for how DFAT’s involvement and financial investment in the partnership can deliver greater results than could otherwise be achieved.

The BPP helps guide partners through the collaborative work process using a partnership framework with accredited partnership brokers to help facilitate and support strong partnerships. For some businesses it is the first time to partner with government and vice versa. This brings challenges, with different organisational approaches and systems.

The BPP’s partnership framework recognises that both DFAT and businesses/non-business entities have significant skills, expertise and resources they are able to bring to the partnership.

The partnership approach allows DFAT and business and non-business partners to:

  • Build equity which helps partners to benefit fully from each other’s collective skills, expertise and resources to address challenges that they cannot solve individually.
  • Build flexibility and mutual accountability into ways of working allowing the partnership to adapt to challenges and context shifts.
  • Be open to collaboration on diverse subjects and joint initiatives where it supports mutual partnership goals.
  • Improve risk management through open communication, shared contributions and responsibilities, and early identification of issues.
  • Develop long-term relationships which last beyond the funding period.

BPP can provide partners with access to DFAT’s resources, including:

  • Convening, brokering, networks and influence in partner countries.
  • Deep knowledge of development as well as the business, political and regulatory environment in partner countries.
  • Expertise in development program management, safeguards, and gender and disability inclusion.
  • Support in creating a more attractive business operating environment through its broader policy reform and governance programs.
  • Catalytic funding to encourage and support businesses and other organisations looking to increase commercial and social returns in line with the Australian development program’s strategic priorities.

2. Commercial viability

Commercial viability is a key consideration for any business partnership and a key indicator of sustainability. Commercial viability refers to the likelihood of activities becoming an ongoing component of the business model of the partners, rather than a stand-alone initiative or being reliant on grant funding for its continuation. Commercial viability also indicates the likelihood that partners will have the potential to adapt and scale-up activities.

BPP partners need to articulate clearly how their commercial practices will lead to improved sustainable growth, viability, competitive advantage and profitability.

3. Social and environmental impact

Applicants must demonstrate how their proposal contributes to green and resilient economic recovery, including climate change mitigation or adaptation outcomes.

In addition to the above, all BPP initiatives are intended to create positive social and environmental impact whilst being commercially viable and sustainable.  There are typically three key ways that firms can create social, environmental and commercial impact:

Creating or adapting products and services for existing or new markets which better serve the needs of consumers and communities.

  • By changing products and reconsidering how they operate in markets, firms can better serve existing markets, access new markets and lower costs. Social impact can then be derived through broadening access for low income consumers to goods and services which positively improve their lives.  This may be achieved by making existing products more affordable to lower income consumers, improving the quality and value of products and services, reducing the environmental impact of products and services and/or increasing the provision of products and services which build resilience to climate change.

Improving the productivity, inclusivity, or sustainability of value chains.

  • Through altering the way firms source materials and produce goods and services, they can improve the quality, quantity, cost, and reliability of production whilst simultaneously driving economic and social development and improved natural resource management within communities.

Supporting adoption of inclusive and sustainable business practices at scale.

  • Inclusive business principles recognise that companies do not operate in a vacuum. Businesses have impacts on communities, consumers, and employees and have a responsibility to ensure this impact is as positive as possible. Businesses can also derive commercial benefit from improvements to their operating environment and changes in environmental or social practices can be powerful signals to communities, consumers, and competitors.  Inclusive business practises such as skills development, responding to the impacts of COVID-19, offsetting environmental impacts and increasing climate change resilience, inclusive workplace practices such as flexible working hours or provision of childcare can lead to lasting changes in community, consumer and employee expectations, and can demonstrate the case for wider changes in business practices in their sector or geography.

4. Gender equality and social inclusion

The BPP recognises the inequalities and hardships related to the pandemic that are being experienced by groups at risk of vulnerability, particularly women and girls, people with disabilities, and the poor. Initiatives that seek to increase opportunities for women, people with disabilities and marginalised groups ultimately results in their ability to contribute to business as investors, employees, producers, suppliers and customers.

Gender Equality

Improving the economic position, social status, and safety of women and girls contributes to more prosperous, fairer and more stable societies. The Australian Government has designated gender equality as an overarching principle for the Australian development program. All partnerships under the BPP have a focus on delivering economic and social benefits to women and girls.

Women currently face constraints to participating in the private sector and gaining benefits from such participation. These include: social norms that define which tasks men and women should perform, how much they should be paid, how genders should interact, and who can go where; inability to go to work due to household responsibilities; definitions of acceptable female behaviour; perceptions of women as being less capable than men; and participation sometimes being seen by men as inappropriate or unnecessary. Women can also lack the capital and resources to become entrepreneurs or exercise buying power as consumers.

Despite these constraints, women’s participation in the economy is increasing globally. Businesses are recognising, and many already recognise, the value of diversity in their organisations, and are developing creative approaches to keep women engaged, build their skills and promote them to leadership roles, contributing to both social and financial returns. Having a diverse workforce and ensuring women are in leadership roles enhances business performance including through better risk management, improving employee engagement and productivity, attracting talent and bringing more diverse views to solve complex problems.

There are many good examples from businesses around the world making changes in the workforce, the value chain and consumers. The social impacts of these changes can include:

  • Improved income for women
  • Improved access for women to assets, jobs, training, appropriate products and services (everything from banking to childcare)
  • Increased ability to make decisions at home, and in their work or business
  • Having a manageable workload
  • Changes to policies, practices and attitudes to support women’s work and businesses.

There are also risks associated with failure to address gender inequalities in the workforce – ranging from employee disengagement and absenteeism, violence and sexual harassment through to damage to company reputation.

Social Inclusion

Economies and societies cannot reach their full potential if they exclude large portions of the population from full economic participation. While governments have a role to play in creating policies which encourage inclusive economies, in most countries, private businesses are the largest employers and provide a wide variety of goods and services to communities. As a result, engaging the private sector as champions for social inclusion is a critical step on the path towards equal economic participation for all.

In practical terms, the BPP is looking for partners who are willing to consider how their business can better engage with people with disabilities, men and women, ethnic minorities, or any group that may be marginalised in society. We are looking to support viable, commercial initiatives that tap into and foster the skills, assets, and resources of individuals and communities who are often locked out of economic participation.

Providing increased access to goods and services that meet the needs of diverse populations presents a tremendous opportunity for businesses. Similarly, businesses perform at their best when the broad range of skills, expertise, and networks within communities are utilised. Leading companies are innovating around emerging market opportunities by making inclusion a core aspect of their culture. They recognise that championing accessibility and creating an inclusive and equitable culture leads to innovative product design that reaches more diverse segments of the market.

Prosperous businesses recognise that meeting the needs of diverse populations is key to successful business models. Best practice shows that businesses who engage meaningfully with women and marginalised groups benefit from a broader customer base and improved insights, higher productivity and efficiency, and improved product quality or suitability. Businesses with more inclusive supply chains also find these groups to be more reliable, and that their distribution networks are diversified.

Businesses often assume that including people with disabilities within the workforce is expensive, complicated and offers limited tangible benefits. However, multiple studies have shown that disability inclusion in the workplace results in higher revenue, net income and profit margins. Workplaces that are inclusive and embrace diversity access a wider pool of talent; increase productivity; gain insights into broader market segments; and tap into the purchasing power of a larger part of the population. More generally, companies benefit from better reputations and brand recognition as a result of more inclusive practices.

Safeguarding

The BPP recognises that some business initiatives can create risks to workers, suppliers, customers and the environment. Common risks business activity may pose to communities include the risk of modern slavery and indecent work; workplace safety risks; the risk of sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment; and child protection risks. More broadly, business activity may cause harm to the environment, and businesses may need to consider how to reduce this impact.

BPP is looking for partners who can identify these key risks and ensure appropriate safeguards are put in place to meet their obligations and minimise harm. Safeguarding is the process of developing and implementing policies and practices which prioritise the safety of people and the environment and minimise negative impacts. For some businesses used to evaluating risk more narrowly, this may be a new process. Businesses that take a holistic, stakeholder view of their role in a market or community may already integrate safeguarding risk in their existing processes.

Businesses that act to mitigate safeguarding risks and respond effectively to incidents can improve health and safety in their workplaces, strengthen productivity, benefit from improved access to talent and worker retention, and protect and strengthen their reputation among communities, customers and investors.These efforts can also reduce vulnerability to litigation and compensation claims, and the financial and reputational damage this can inflict on businesses and investments.

5. Value for money

Value for money is a critical consideration to achieving the strategic objectives of the Australian development program. It is a requirement under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act (2013) and the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. Building on these requirements, DFAT has developed eight Value for Money Principles to guide its decision making and maximise the impact of its investments.

Please be aware of the following principles:

Economy

  • Cost consciousness
  • Encouraging competition

Efficiency

  • Evidence based decision making
  • Proportionality

Effectiveness

  • Performance and Risk Management
  • Results Focus
  • Experimentation and innovation

Ethics

  • Accountability and transparency

In selection, the BPP considers two key factors in relation to value for money:

Leverage

Leverage refers to the investment from partners through real and measurable co-contributions (matching or exceeding BPP funding).

Additionality

Additionality is using BPP funding and DFAT resources to generate measurable development impact through BPP partnerships which would not have otherwise occurred. Partnerships can demonstrate additionality by articulating the need for BPP funding to catalyse business investment (i.e., the investment provided by BPP would not have been provided by other sources), and how partners will benefit from DFAT resources and expertise in the partnerships.

DFAT Value for Money Principles.

Other factors to consider when applying

Application Process

Summary of the Application Process

Scoping discussions

A shortlist of applicants will be invited to participate in a scoping discussion. The scoping discussions are an opportunity for you to clarify and expand on your application.

Scoping discussions will be held via video/conference call or in person.

Following the scoping discussions, shortlisted applicants will have the option to resubmit a revised business plan based on feedback received during that session. You may request support from the BPP’s business, gender, and monitoring and evaluation advisers during this period.

Applicants not invited to proceed to a scoping discussion will be notified in writing, and feedback will be available upon request.

Final selection

After applicants submit their revised proposals, the BPP will assess applications and will make a final selection of initiatives to partner with DFAT and receive BPP funding. Both successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified of the outcome. Feedback will be offered to unsuccessful applicants.

Due diligence

Due diligence will be conducted on all partners for BPP initiatives that progress to this stage. The BPP conducts due diligence on potential partners as a risk management tool that helps the BPP and DFAT to assess partner strengths and weaknesses prior to entering into an agreement or funding arrangement.  Due diligence assessments are designed to highlight and mitigate potential fiduciary and reputational risk that may arise from the partnership. Partners will need to provide appropriate documentation to assist with due diligence assessments. DFAT may decide following due diligence conducted by the BPP not to continue with a partnership that represents significant fiduciary or reputational risk to the Australian Government.

The due diligence process is also a chance for partners to increase their understanding of DFAT’s safeguards and fiduciary requirements, and to decide as an organisation whether they are able to meet these requirements and continue pursuing a partnership with DFAT.

Estimated timelines

The below dates are indicative only and subject to change. 

21 December 2020: Applications open
13 January 2021: Online Information Session. Register here.
8 February 2021: Deadline for applications
March 2021: Meetings with shortlisted applicants and submission of final proposals
May 2021: Final proposals are selected and proceed to due diligence and contracting
May/June:  Kick-off meetings and implementation begins

How are BPP partnerships implemented?

Implementation

The BPP will organise kick-off partnership workshops with selected partners supported by independent partnership brokers.   Workshops will address partnership “ways of working,” detailed work planning and monitoring and results measurement.

A Collaborative Financing Agreement (CFA)  contract will be negotiated and signed between the Contracting Partner and the BPP. The purpose of the CFA is to define funding milestones, and establish the terms, conditions and requirements for acquittal of the funds.   Tranche payments will be linked to the completion of milestones.

The  BPP can provide limited additional technical support to BPP partners throughout the funding period of the initiative from partnership, business, gender, communications and monitoring and results measurement advisers.

Quarterly, all partners (including DFAT) will hold a meeting or call to discuss initiative progress, any issues requiring attention or support, and communications opportunities. Brief results and financial reports are  submitted by BPP partners every six months. A final report is required at the end of the initiative.

What kind of funding can be requested from BPP?

BPP funding

The BPP aims to leverage DFAT funding to support activities which have a sustainable commercial and social impact. Sustainability of activities beyond BPP funding is a core principle, therefore, partners’ current day to day operational and core recurrent expenses central to continuing the initiative beyond the BPP timeframe will not be funded. The BPP also does not intend to subsidise transaction costs with target groups (i.e. consumers or suppliers) or use its funds towards activities that partners would have done anyway (no demonstration of additionality).

The following list outlines examples of items that BPP may contribute towards, and those that the BPP is unable to fund.

Eligibility of costs for BPP funding

Generally acceptable

  • Attributable technical specialist support
  • Physical assets, e.g., machinery or infrastructure
  • Related staff salaries (relating to development & start up)
  • Related vehicle expenses
  • Related training costs

Possible funding

  • Recurring operational and working capital costs of partner, including personnel
  • Audits
  • Related equipment and supplies (printer, laptop, camera, motorbike)
  • Telephone and IT for BPP use only
  • Office supplies and equipment
  • Office rental, maintenance, electricity, water and printing
  • Inputs manufactured by the partner

Unable to fund

  • Management fees
  • Free/discounted samples
  • Fundraising
  • Advocacy (unless specific to the BPP objective then should be attributable)
  • Marketing and communications (unless specific to the BPP initiative then should be attributable)
  • Retroactive expenses: i.e. costs incurred prior to the effective funding start date of the contract
  • Taxes and import duties applied by governments and public authorities

Note: The above is a guide only. Funding will be subject to final CFA (contract) negotiations. 

What co-contribution is required?

Co-contribution

  • Applicants must commit to match or exceed BPP funding through the combined contributions of all partner organisations in a proposal.

Co-contributions pledged by the applicants may either be cash or a combination of cash and eligible in-kind contributions. Contributions can be provided over the length of the BPP initiative.

Co-contributions (cash or in-kind) must demonstrate they are directly relevant and specific to the proposed initiative and must not be part of a broader contribution to an activity the organisation(s) are already undertaking. In other words, to qualify as eligible, co-contribution costs listed must be essential to accomplish the objectives of the initiative and must represent a cost to the organisation.

For example, for office space costs to qualify as an eligible co-contribution, the following conditions would need to be met:

  1. Office space must be essential to deliver the initiative
  2. Office space must be new or wholly reallocated from existing space for the BPP initiative
  3. Office space where not wholly reallocated may be claimed as a percentage of existing space and must represent the actual percentage of space used for the BPP initiative, and not be claimed by the organisation for other purposes.

Cash or in-kind contributions

For BPP purposes, cash contributions are defined as funds provided by the applicant organisations for the purposes of undertaking the BPP initiative. For example, the hiring of a staff member to work on the BPP initiative would be considered a cash contribution.

In-kind contributions consist of non-monetary inputs committed by the applicant organisations. These normally include pre-existing staff hours, facilities, equipment and services provided by a partner organisation from its own resources. For example, the allocation of time from existing staff members to work on the BPP initiative would be considered in-kind contributions.

A further test to determine whether a contribution is made in-kind or in cash is whether a partner organisation will make a direct and attributable payment for the goods, services or land during the lifetime of the BPP initiative. If the partner will make a payment then this is considered to be a cash contribution.

Partner in-kind contributions

BPP will recognise in-kind contributions at the fair market value normally expected to be paid for the good or service in the context in which the BPP initiative is operating. For all in-kind contributions included in the budget, applicants must be prepared to produce a calculation for the value of the good or service, including the rationale and supporting evidence for the calculation. Partners must also be certain that the value they are attributing the contribution does not exceed the market value.

The following list outlines examples of items that are likely to be accepted as in-kind contributions, and those which are likely to not be accepted as in-kind contributions.

Acceptability of in-kind contributions

Generally acceptable

  • Volunteer hours
  • Equipment, materials and supplies
  • Legal assistance
  • Overhead/administration costs (maximum 5 per cent)
  • Professional and technical services
  • Travel and subsistence costs
  • Technology
  • M&E including dissemination of data/information
  • Office and work-space

Unlikely to be acceptable

  • Costs (or other) non-related to the BPP initiative
  • Costs (or other) currently funded by the partner or other donors
  • Any non-preapproved/agreed costs
  • Other DFAT funding

Note: The above is a guide only. Funding will be subject to final CFA (contract) negotiations.

Ready to apply?

How to apply

Ready to get started? Follow these steps to apply:

  1. Create a profile on SmartyGrants.
  2. Download the Business Plan and Work Plan and Budget templates from SmartyGrants.
  3. Follow the steps for completing the application, including uploading your completed Business Plan and Work Plan/Budget files.
  4. Submit your application!

Note: All application data will be kept in the strictest confidence. All DFAT officers and BPP personnel that review applications are bound by confidentiality/non-disclosure arrangements.

Please submit your application no later than midnight AEDT on February 8, 2021. Applications will be assessed and shortlisted by the BPP in accordance with the key selection criteria.

Need help? Email us: applications@thebpp.com.au

The Business Partnerships Platform is supported by the Australian Government and implemented by Palladium.

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