September 23, 2021
Request for Proposals – YLAI Alumni Activity Design Partner

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The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) is supporting the search for a program activity design partner for the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Fellowship Program. The YLAI Fellowship is a program of the U.S. Department of State and implemented by IREX. The YLAI Fellowship brings together mid-career entrepreneurs from 37 countries across Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada to learn, share expertise, develop their business skills, and build networks. As an implementing partner, ANDE is running a request for proposals process to identify a partner to lead on developing YLAI Alumni Programming in collaboration with IREX across the region. Proposals are due by October 29, 2021. Submissions will be considered on a rolling basis.


The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) is a global network of organizations that propel entrepreneurship in developing economies. ANDE members provide critical financial, educational, and business support services to small and growing businesses (SGBs) based on the conviction that SGBs create jobs, stimulate long-term economic growth, and produce environmental and social benefits.

As the leading global voice of the SGB sector, ANDE believes that SGBs are a powerful, yet underleveraged tool in addressing social and environmental challenges. Since 2009, we have grown into a trusted network of nearly 300 collaborative members that operate in nearly every developing economy. ANDE grows the body of knowledge, mobilizes resources, and connects the institutions that support the small business entrepreneurs who build inclusive prosperity in the developing world.

ANDE is part of the Aspen Institute, a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society.

In partnership with IREX, ANDE supports and strengthens the implementation of the YLAI Fellowship Program. YLAI empowers entrepreneurs to strengthen their capacity to advance their entrepreneurial ideas and effectively contribute to social and economic development in their communities. Since the initiative’s launch in 2015, more than 1,000 YLAI Fellows from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada have expanded their leadership and entrepreneurial experience through fellowships at businesses and organizations across the United States. Through the YLAI Entrepreneurial Leadership Curriculum and individualized professional placements, YLAI Fellows have accelerated their commercial and social ventures’ success and developed specific action plans to implement upon return to their home countries. YLAI Fellows built networks, linkages, and lasting partnerships to attract investments and support for their entrepreneurial ventures. YLAI Fellows lead businesses and social enterprises and represent all business sectors. YLAI Fellow bios can be found here.

ANDE’s network and member organizations are well positioned to bring value to the YLAI program as recruitment partners, hosts, mentors, and contacts for YLAI Fellows.


IREX is seeking an organizational partner or partners that are well connected to a diverse entrepreneurial landscape in at least one subregion of the Americas to:

  • Develop and implement interactive and inclusive networking activities and events for YLAI Alumni to connect with each other, other entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurial resources;
  • Share knowledge, such as opportunities, research, and relevant readings, with IREX and YLAI Alumni;
  • Amplify program information to its network to reach potential YLAI Fellows and partners;
  • Recommend expert panelists and inspirational speakers for events; and
  • Identify new ways to connect YLAI Alumni to vibrant local entrepreneurial ecosystems.

The goal for this project is to develop a cohesive and robust alumni program that supports YLAI alumni across the region following their completion of the fellowship. The partner will work closely with IREX staff and the YLAI Alumni Advisory Board to design and implement the activities.

Estimated Timeline

  • September 15, 2021: RFP Launched
  • October 15, 2021: Proposals due
  • By November 15, 2021: Selected partner notified
  • December 15, 2021: Subaward signed with IREX
  • January — March, 2022: Partner collaborates with IREX on program design
  • April 2022 — May 2023: Activities for alumni

Proposal Requirements

Please submit a brief, 2-3 page proposal that includes:

  • An introduction to your organization.
  • Organization capacity, including geographic and sector expertise. Please include examples of your entrepreneurial networks, including country/region and industry, and communication channels and mediums you use with those networks. Please detail any past events or activities you developed to support network-building and knowledge-sharing among entrepreneurs.
  • A description of proposed approach, including vision of working alongside IREX to achieve the above objective.
  • Description of how you plan to integrate considerations of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This includes highlighting diverse perspectives and backgrounds through guest speaker selection, activities, and considering diverse needs in scheduling and logistical arrangements.
  • Description of proposed activities, including timeline or frequency. Strong proposals should include creative ideas, dynamic activities, and best practices.
  • Evidence of implementing virtual activities and the ability and willingness to convert in-person activities to virtual if needed.
  • Capacity to provide a high level of customer service with IREX to customize activities to best meet YLAI Fellowship Alumni needs.

Please also include:

  • A budget elaborating the full costs to plan and implement your proposed activities. While preference may be given to organizations that have a broader reach, we encourage any interested organization to apply if they can make a meaningful contribution to the above objective. Proposals should range between $20,000 and $150,000
    • Please include all personnel and labor, travel costs associated with any event, speaker honorariums, platform costs, other supplies, outreach and marketing costs.
  • An appendix or link to a portfolio of past projects/clients.
    • Please include references with contact information for previous clients, if applicable.
  • Samples of promotional materials created for past events or activities.
  • The resumes (CVs) for all key staff members that will work on the partnership.

Evaluation Criteria

ANDE will manage the request for proposals process up until the final selection by IREX. Once a partner is contracted, IREX will work with the partner to design and implement program activities to support YLAI alumni. The program activities should build off the activities and goals of the YLAI Fellowship and be an avenue for alumni to stay connected with each other and the broader program.

ANDE will review and score applications focusing on the following categories: 

Does the applicant have relevant geographic and sector expertise? Have relevant examples of past events or activities developed by the applicant been included?

Does the proposed plan integrate considerations of diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Did the applicant include creative ideas, dynamic activities or best practices?

BUDGET (0-4)
Is the budget realistic and does it elaborate the full costs to plan and implement the proposed activities?

Does the team overall have the skills, capacity, knowledge or lived experience to implement the proposed activities?


Email proposals to Daniela Kaegi, Senior Program Associate, at with the subject line “ANDE YLAI Program Design Partner Proposal” by October 29, 2021.