Careers Vacancy

Consultancy: Strengthen and accelerate young entrepreneurs through a virtual coaching program


In 2019, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) established the FSC Indigenous Foundation (FSC-IF) as the operational office of the Permanent Indigenous Peoples Committee (PIPC). FSC-IF, recognized under Panama’s Law No. 25 of June 12, 1995, is a private interest foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to create an environment that safeguards the rights of Indigenous Peoples and advocates for sustainable forest-based solutions across 300 million hectares of Indigenous Peoples’ forests worldwide. The vision is to integrate Indigenous Peoples’ global values, rights, livelihoods, ecosystem services, natural capital, and communities into forest governance, climate change governance, and market systems.

Indigenous Peoples Alliance for Rights & Development

The FSC-IF is the implementing agency of the five-year Global Development Alliance (GDA) program funded by USAID and FSC—the Indigenous Peoples Alliance for Rights & Development (IPARD). The IPARD Program is guided by three development objectives:

  • Objective 1: To organize and convene a capacity building program for Indigenous Peoples’ organizations and stakeholders;
  • Objective 2: To foster an enabling environment for the recognition, effective participation and joint decision-making by Indigenous Peoples in matters affecting them; and
  • Objective 3: Promote the sustainable development of Indigenous Peoples based on sustainable economic models.

IPARD uses three interconnected approaches to support Indigenous Peoples in overcoming their development challenges:

A.     Multi-Sectoral Approach (MSA): Under the strategic guidance of IPARD’s Steering Committee (SC), the Program convenes and leverages the expertise of multi-sectoral partners to ensure that the needs of Indigenous communities are considered across a wide range of sectors.

B.     Country-Focused Approach (CFA): IPARD’s programmatic strategy is guided by a country-focused approach, driven by specific national contexts related to Indigenous Peoples. IPARD implements a structured process to identify, evaluate and select countries for its programs. FSC-IF works in conjunction with the IPARD Steering Committee, and according to the guidelines of the multi-sectoral approach, in order to select countries and identify key priorities and strategies.

C.     Indigenous Project Management Approach (IPMA): Leveraging FSC-IF’s networks and relationships with Indigenous leaders and organizations around the world, IPARD seeks ongoing dialogue, consultation, and feedback with Indigenous Peoples to inform the Program. IPARD supports a forum through which the FSC-IF serves as a bridge between Indigenous Peoples, technical partners, national governments, and the private sector. IPARD invests in best practice conservation and effective approaches and methodologies to ensure strategic cohesion of partnerships at various levels.

Through these three approaches, IPARD aims to empower Indigenous Peoples’ organizations and catalyze an enabling environment where Indigenous Peoples can pursue their development.

FSC Indigenous Foundation

We are Indigenous Peoples; our strategies and our future actions are shaped by ancestral knowledge, practices, cosmovision, values, and respect for Mother Earth and our past. We as FSC-IF are providers of Indigenous-based solutions, and our ancestral knowledge and traditions have driven Indigenous-based solutions for centuries. We are Indigenous Peoples; we are the owners of Indigenous-based solutions to global challenges, and the FSC Indigenous Foundation is the global vehicle to design, manage, facilitate, and scale up Indigenous-led solutions through multi-sectoral partnerships. FSC-IF is shaped to respond to key challenges and opportunities faced by Indigenous Peoples to achieve their self-development, self-governance, and self-reliance. Driven by this perspective, the way we operate differs from traditional organizational planning because our cultural and traditional way of thinking, acting, and interacting do not fit into a pre-determined Western tradition of thoughts, organizational management, or governance.

We are committed to work driven by our values of being guided by and supporting Indigenous Peoples’ values of: 1) Respect for Mother Earth—Managing our lands, waters, and ecosystems with great respect to nature and care by recognizing that we only borrow them from future generations and 2) Respect for ancestral knowledge—Keeping our promises to our ancestors to manage nature and the resources provided by the Mother Earth in a sustainable and respectful way.


The IPARD Program implemented by FSC-IF focuses on capacity building and aims to support the empowerment and strengthening of Indigenous Peoples. To support Indigenous leaders, FSC-IF has established the Indigenous Fellowship Program. The Program is a leadership-based award for scholarships aligned with the three IPARD goals, designed for Indigenous Peoples’ leaders passionate about creating meaningful change for their communities around the world.

The Indigenous Fellowship Program will provide Indigenous leaders with the tools, experience, knowledge and skills to better support their communities, as well as the support mechanisms necessary to advance their goals and priorities.

This year, we selected 9 scholarship recipients who will be divided into the following 4 sub-programs:

  • Subprogram 1: Young Indigenous Professionals (2 months experience working at the FSC-IF office with an IPARD Program Manager)
  • Subprogram 2: Indigenous Leadership and Networking (2 months experience with FSC family partner network in Canada, Mexico or Germany)
  • Subprogram 3: Indigenous Capabilities (short-term training sponsorship of 6 months to 1 year)
  • Subprogram 4: Business Development (capacity building for young entrepreneurs through business training, a business management program and seed funding of US$3,000).

The first 3 sub-programs will be carried out internally by FSC-IF and this consultancy will be for the implementation of sub-program 4.

3 entrepreneurs were selected for this subprogram:

  1. A company dedicated to the design, manufacture, and production of Emberá Wounaan handicrafts in Panama run by a 23-year-old Indigenous woman.
  2. A mushroom production and agricultural waste valorization project in the Democratic Republic of Congo led by a young 29-year-old Indigenous man.
  3. An initiative to develop tourism in an Indigenous community in Colombia by preserving and sharing cultures, creating networks, and business partners in Colombia designed by a young 25-year-old Indigenous man.


General Objective

Strengthen three Indigenous entrepreuneurships led by young entrepreneurs from Panama, Colombia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, taking into account the socio-cultural context and incorporating Indigenous perspectives.

Specific objectives

  1. Support the consolidation and acceleration of three Indigenous youth-led enterprises through a virtual coaching program that incorporates Indigenous perspectives and socio-cultural context.
  2. Guide young Indigenous entrepreneurs in the implementation of a USD$3,000 seed capital within six months following coaching that will contribute to long-term self-development, Indigenous self-sufficiency of their businesses and generate a greater impact in their communities.
  3. Monitor and accompany the implementation of the knowledge and execution of the seed capital.

Illustrative activities:

The consulting firm or consultant will carry out the following activities ensuring the Free, Prior, and Informed Consultation (FPIC) protocols defined throughout the process in coordination with IPARD:

  • Diagnosis and analysis of the three Indigenous entrepreneurship, value proposition, and business plans for their strengthening, considering the perspectives of Indigenous Peoples and their socio-cultural context.
  • Based on the diagnosis, design a strengthening plan through a co-creation process with the Indigenous youth and the IPARD Program to incorporate their cosmovision, values, and ancestral knowledge (prioritization of the actions to be carried out with the accompaniment and seed capital).
  • Design and implement a training and strengthening plan to: 1) improve the entrepreneurial skills of Indigenous youth; and 2) consolidate and promote the acceleration of their businesses with a cultural approach and Indigenous traditions, which may include adjusting the value proposition, strengthening the business model, marketing and communication strategy and pitch construction.
  • Connect Indigenous entrepreneurs with other programs or opportunities at the national level, prioritizing access to financing and markets.
  • Conduct a strategy to monitor the implementation of knowledge and seed capital and how it generates a greater impact in the communities where the companies are located.
  • Prepare a lessons learned report with key findings and recommendations on how to support Indigenous youth-led businesses.

Note on activities:

  • Activities 1, 2, 3, and 4 will be carried out in 2 months.
  • Step 5 is carried out during the 6 months of implementation of the seed capital.
  • Step 6 is carried out at the end of the consultancy (after 8 months).
  • The consultant or consulting firm does not have to travel to the communities. Everything will be done virtually and IPARD bears the cost of interpretation during the virtual coaching if necessary.

Expected Deliverables:

  1. Work plan for the implementation of the consultancy with details of program activities, timeline and deliverables.
  2. Diagnosis of each of the three Indigenous youth entrepreneurship and the corresponding strengthening, acceleration and investment plan with the seed capital provided by IPARD. These documents must have been agreed with the young people participating in the project.
  3. Report on the results of the training and the links made with other programs and opportunities, especially with the financial and commercial sector. The report should include results on the following 1) Methodology, tools and materials used 2) Results 3) Satisfaction survey delivered by the IPARD team 4) Knowledge enhancement (pre- and post-test designed by the consultant). It should also include for each strengthened company:
    • Value Proposition formulated and/or adjusted
    • Business Plan
    • Marketing and communication plan
    • Pitch
    • Identification of possible financing mechanisms that can be accessed for sustainability.
  4. Final report with the lessons learned and the main results of the project, including the progress of accompaniment in the execution of the seed capital delivered. This report should focus on identifying the particularities of the work with Indigenous Peoples’ enterprises in each country/territory, guidelines for similar work with other Indigenous Peoples’ enterprises.

Technical and financial proposal:

The bidder must include a technical proposal with a clear schedule of activities, timeline and deliverables. The financial proposal must include a budget, explaining each line item (including logistical costs to develop the activities). All financial proposals must include taxes where applicable and explicitly note them in the budget.

Profile of the consultant or consulting firm to be hired:

  1. Professional or interdisciplinary team that includes professionals in social sciences, economics, with at least 5 years of experience working in entrepreneurship, youth economic empowerment including projects with Indigenous youth. Additional training in business law or related fields would be an asset.
  2. At least 5 years of experience implementing projects to strengthen entrepreneurship and business in Latin America and/or Africa. Experience in supporting microenterprises or companies in the solidarity sector will be an asset.
  3. Proven track record of working with Indigenous Peoples in Latin America and/or Africa.
  4. Previous experience working with international organizations and donors is desirable.
  5. Demonstrated cultural awareness and sensitivity to the diversity of values, views and approaches to issues relevant to FSC-IF and Indigenous Peoples.
  6. Strong oral and written communication skills of the team in Spanish, and French desirable.

Applications must include the following documents:

  1. Candidate/team CV that includes descriptions of relevant responsibilities (not just the job title).
  2. Technical proposal including activities to be carried out and schedule.
  3. Financial proposal including an explanation of budget items.

How to apply:

Send your CV, technical proposal and financial proposal to the FSC-IF email address: no later than March 15, 2024 with the subject “Support in the formalization of young Indigenous entrepreneurs“.


The contracted professional or consultancy firm will coordinate the expected work with the program Lead – Capacity Development & Inclusion, who will coordinate with the rest of the IPARD and FSC-IF team.

Deadline for submission of proposals:

2 weeks

Conditions for payment of deliverables:

Deliverables must be authorized by the IPARD Program Director in order to proceed with other internal approvals and payments. All deliverables must be delivered in digital format in Spanish according to the expected activities detailed above and to the following schedule and payment percentages.

Deliverables and payments 
Work plan and methodology to implement the project – 20%
Diagnosis of the 3 entrepreneurship and the corresponding strengthening and acceleration plan – 20%
Report on the results of the training (virtual coaching) with attachments – 40%
Final report with lessons learned and main results of the project – 20%

Duration of assignment:

Eight months from the signing of the contract (two months of strengthening and six months of monitoring the implementation of the seed capital), but it is possible to complete the consultancy in less time as long as all deliverables are submitted.