The Loden Foundation, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and UNDP Bhutan, is delighted to announce a special call for business proposals for innovation challenge funds as part of the Government of Japan-funded project “Promoting Technologically Enabled Agriculture for the Vulnerable Farming Population in Bhutan”. The programme will support entrepreneurial ventures in agribusiness (startups, farmers cooperatives, and youth groups) looking to scale their operations, create green jobs, and integrate digital and tech solutions into their businesses.
This special funding initiative aims to support existing agribusinesses and agritech firms in forming partnerships, scaling their operations, and integrating technology and innovation into their business models. The project aims to enable the expansion of agribusinesses through collaboration and partnerships, promote the integration of digital and tech solutions, and create at least 43 jobs through this funding window. Ultimately, the initiative strives to enhance the agribusiness sector’s income, livelihoods, and food security.
To accomplish this objective, a total fund of BTN 8.7 million will be allocated to support at least FIVE agribusinesses, with 70% of the fund awarded as grants and 30% provided as interest and collateral-free loans.
Selection Process: The business proposals and applicants will be evaluated by an independent panel of judges composed of both national and international business specialists. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview on 08th January 2024 at the Loden office in Thimphu or virtually. Changes in scheduling will be announced on the website in advance.
Selection Criteria: Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria, and successful applicants should demonstrate fulfilment of the three criteria listed below:
1. Scalability of Business – Innovation:
- Clear demonstration of how the proposed project contributes to the scalability of the agribusiness.
- Innovative solutions that address challenges in the agriculture sector, fostering growth and sustainability.
2. Integration of Agri-tech and Partnership:
- Integration of agri-tech solutions within the proposed project for enhanced efficiency and productivity.
- Partnerships with existing agri-tech entrepreneurs, agribusinesses, farmer groups, and cooperatives.
3. Collaboration and Local Business Support:
- Evidence of collaboration within the agribusiness sector, including farmer groups, cooperatives, and local agri-tech companies.
- Commitment to green job creation, focusing on empowering women and youth.
4. Job Creation : (For this funding window, job creation may involve directly adding new positions within a company or indirectly stimulating employment opportunities through economic activities, generating demand for goods and services and creating income-generating opportunities for the agricultural production sector.)
- Proposals must outline a clear job creation plan to maximise job creation through the project.
- Jobs should be diverse, supporting women and youth and contributing to the local economy.
Standard Grant & Loan Scheme and Repayment Procedure: The selected applicants will be provided with funding, divided into grants and loans at a 70:30 ratio, respectively. Once the final results are announced, and all necessary prerequisites are met, the loan will be disbursed within one month. The Loden Foundation will require selected applicants to sign a loan agreement along with a guarantor. The fund will be disbursed in two instalments, with the second tranche released after verifying the proper use of funds from the first tranche and receiving a favourable recommendation from the project monitoring team no later than February 15, 2024.
Mentoring Support: Mentoring support will be provided to the selected entrepreneurs to help them advance their businesses and provide guidance in business-related areas. The selected entrepreneurs must send a detailed bi-annual written report to the Loden office. Entrepreneurs will be granted a grace period of three months before being required to repay the loan portion of the fund within four years.
Application Process: Applicants must submit the business proposal template developed by Loden Foundation, which is available (HERE). Please ensure the following documents are included in your business proposal application. If you wish to create your own business proposal, you may do so; however, please ensure all documents are attached in One PDF.
- Business proposal (not exceeding 15 pages) GUIDELINE
- Curriculum Vitae (CV)
- Business License
- Personal statement explaining why you are interested in the chosen business
- Latest CIB report of the applicant. If married, you must also submit your spouse’s CIB report from the Credit Information Bureau of Bhutan. For further details, you may visit: https://www.cib.bt/ProductAndServices/Downloads.aspx
- CID or Permit Card copy
- Cooperation Agreement, where applicable
Note: We also encourage you to submit supporting documents (if applicable) such as lease approvals for land, proforma invoices of machinery & equipment and applicable recommendation letters proving proficiency or recognitions etc.
Interested applicants must submit either Process A or B to the Google Form
Applications submitted after 11:59 PM, 25 December, will not be considered. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for the interview rounds. For further information, contact Mr. Karma Losel Yangnyen, Programme Officer, at office phone at 77195599 or email at email@example.com during office hours.
To combine your documents into One PDF: Click HERE.
Click Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.