Loden-Bhutan Foundation Covid-19 Response Grants

The Loden Foundation and Bhutan Foundation are pleased to invite proposals from young Bhutanese entrepreneurs, micro-enterprises, or community groups. This grant will go towards empowering young entrepreneurs to address critical issues for Bhutan’s food security and employment that will have a lasting impact on Bhutan’s economy. This funding is made possible with the generous support of the American people through the U.S. Agency for International Development in partnership with the Bhutan Foundation.

Interested applicants are requested to submit their proposals in one of the two categories:

Category 1: Up to 3 proposals will be supported

All young and existing entrepreneurs, micro-enterprises, or community groups that directly address solutions to the food supply chain and distribution issues, while creating employment for those affected by the pandemic. In particular, we will support proposals that have already initiated social enterprises to address the challenges of food storage, supply chain management, transportation and delivery, and need support scaling up or expanding services. The proposals will be selected through a competitive process led by a panel of judges who will review, evaluate, and interview the applicants.


Category 2: Only 1 proposal will be supported

Under this category one grant will awarded to a venture/entrepreneur to develop a robust data/digital platform system that can help farmers understand the real time market availability, demand of specific crops and food items and create linkages for both farmers and markets. Only entrepreneurs/groups that have an existing online application/use of digital technology in food supply chain systems are invited to compete for the grant.


Standard Selection Process: An independent panel of judges comprising of both international and local business experts will evaluate the business proposals. Shortlisted applications will be then called for a final interview. The final interview of the shortlisted applicants will take place in the Loden office in Thimphu or virtually by the end February 2021. The dates remain subject to change. However, prior notice will be given on the website on any change of dates.


Funding Scheme: The funding is a USAID grant implemented through the Bhutan Foundation in collaboration with Loden Foundation to support young Bhutanese entrepreneurs, micro-enterprises, or community groups that will provide solutions to critical gaps in Bhutan’s food security and supply chain systems.  Given the requirements of the donor, the funds will be released as grants to the selected applicants.

Applicants will be offered grants up to Nu.1.5 million. The grants will be disbursed within a month after the final results are announced upon fulfilling necessary prerequisites. The selected applicants will be asked to sign a contract agreement with the Loden Foundation to ensure proper use of funds and to achieve the desired results.

The grant is normally paid directly to the source of the equipment or such other services for which the funds are used. It is also paid directly to the bank account of the business. The fund is normally disbursed in two equal tranches and the second tranche of the funds shall be made upon the receipt of the proper use of money received in the first tranche and with positive recommendation from the project monitoring team from Loden.


Mentoring Support: Mentoring support shall be provided to the selected entrepreneurs to support the progress of the business and provide guidance. Once the business is operational, the entrepreneurs shall submit a detailed written report to Loden office at the end of every quarter in the 1st year from the date of agreement signing and then every six months until the final date agreed between Loden and the entrepreneur.


Eligibility and selection criteria:

The Loden Entrepreneurship Programme (LEP) exists to help young Bhutanese men and women who have the vision, drive and idea to set up or scale-up a business, which is economically beneficial, socially responsible, culturally sensitive and environment friendly. It is normally made interest free and collateral free loans but in this exceptional case, this programme will be distributing grants.

The proposal will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Financial viability to sustain the business
  2. Cultural, social and ecological sensitivity (e.g. not a slaughter house, fishery, logging, bar etc.)
  3. Clear and realistic (having started on a small scale is a plus).
  4. Social impact: employment generation, community benefit, etc.
  5. Geographic suitability or regional balance: Out of Thimphu is advantageous.
  6. Non-duplication with LEP funded projects.
  7. Entrepreneurial drive and motivation. Good business is not sufficient; we need real entrepreneurs.
  8. Personal commitment: Teamwork and personal investment are plus.
  9. Skills: understanding competition and key business figures.


In addition to above criteria, the proposals under this funding windows will be evaluated based on the additional priority criteria:

  1. Directly address solutions to the food supply chain and distribution issues, while creating employment for those affected by the pandemic.
  2. Solutions to address challenges to food storage, supply chain management, transportation, and delivery, and need support scaling up or expanding services.
  3. Import substitution and export promotion
  4. Project impact, sustainability and potential to scale up


Ineligible and Restricted Commodities and Services:

  • Purchase of any type of vehicle will not be funded through this project
  • Imported seeds for agriculture businesses are not at all entertained
  • Purchase of fertilizers and pesticides are not allowed
  • Procurement of used equipment and luxury goods are not allowed
  • No surveillance equipment will be supported
  • Commodities and services for support of police or other law enforcement activities

A detailed list of ineligible and restricted commodities for all USAID funded projects can be found here: Download


Application Process:

The interested applicants must submit the following documents:

  • A simple business proposal (not exceeding 15 pages) GUIDELINE
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) and Citizenship Identity Card
  • Personal statement explaining why you are interested in the chosen business
  • Duly filled ‘Business Plan Submission form available HERE
  • Latest CIB report of the applicant and spouse, if married, from the Credit Information Bureau of Bhutan. For further details, you may visit cib.bt

Interested applicants must submit the complete set of electronic copy of documents to the Loden Foundation via an email in a single PDF file to lhakpa@loden.org. Applications that do not reach the Loden Foundation inbox on or before 5:00 pm on 10th February 2021 will not be considered. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for the interview rounds. For any further information, you may contact Mr. Lhakpa, Programme Officer, at mobile phone 17609035.