Request for Proposals: National Women’s Business Survey



Azerbaijan Women in Associations: Leadership and Linkages (WALL)


The purpose of the USAID Private Sector Activity is to support a more resilient economy and improve the business enabling environment in Azerbaijan. The PSA prioritizes agriculture and other rural economic activities to enhance the capacity of business support services and reduce barriers to the development of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Azerbaijan. In alignment with these priorities, the “Women in Associations” component of the project will support the PSA’s purpose through advocacy and capacity building activities targeting women’s business associations and female entrepreneurs in the regions of Azerbaijan.


The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) is a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC. CIPE has over 30 years of experience working with chambers of commerce, business associations, think tanks, and other civil society organizations (CSOs) around the world to facilitate private sector development and economic growth.


The purpose of this survey is to collect data regarding the social and economic barriers women in Azerbaijan face when they pursue entrepreneurship. This survey will help inform policy recommendations in a women’s business agenda – which is a planned implementation activity. The women’s business agenda will highlight the evidence-based changes needed to improve the success of women-owned business in Azerbaijan. The data will be used by the project team and other stakeholders both to inform other related activities throughout the project, and as a key input into the analysis of the impact of those activities at the end of the project.


Intended respondents for this survey are individuals who are active within the women’s national and sectoral business associations, informal women’s business groups involved in micro businesses and micro credit, and formal chambers of commerce throughout Azerbaijan as well as women business owners of small, medium, and micro-enterprises, women entrepreneurs.

The consultant and/or firm will be responsible for generating the sampling frame and subsequent sampling plan. Sampling units are the individuals who are associated with the groups/organizations/associations mentioned previously as well as women business owners and women entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan. CIPE will work closely with the consultant and/or firm to ensure that the survey results are a rigorous representative sample of the target population. The sampling frame should focus on accounting for individuals within the target population across various business sectors, type of business (i.e. registered/formal or unregistered/informal), category the business falls under (micro, small or medium), and location for where the business is operated (urban or rural area).

Questions in the questionnaire will address factors such as persons with disabilities, youth, ethnic or religious minorities, geographic, region or the LGBTQ+ community and will be requested to be included as auxiliary data in the final technical report.


  • Sampling plan (revised after CIPE feedback)
  • Pretest report and revisions of survey protocol with CIPE feedback; details of data entry plan, pilot test, action plan for data collection, check back plan, recruitment, training, and contracting of experienced field staff
  • Copies of the final questionnaire, as fielded, in English and translations
  • A complete data set and data dictionary formatted as Excel or SPSS file
  • Draft technical report describing the sampling, methods used and the weights
  • Draft analytical report providing a stub and banner analysis of the results
  • Draft PowerPoint Presentation
  • Revisions of technical, analytical reports and PowerPoint Presentation after feedback


CIPE anticipates selecting the evaluation consultant and/or firm on or before September 1, 2021 and requires the final report to be completed by on or around December 15, 2021. The anticipated level of effort will be around 64 working days (excluding Azerbaijan public holidays) during the period of September 15, 2021 –December 15, 2021.

It is anticipated that the final survey will include complete responses from ideally 500 – 750 respondents depending on the number of respondents that are identified through the sampling design.

While the dates of the consultancy may be adjusted based upon the consultant and/or firm’s proposal, to be most effective, the survey needs to be completed no later than January 2021 to be useful for the project.  If there are challenges, the consultant needs to apprise CIPE and propose other methods to address the identified challenges immediately.

The contract will be fixed cost and based on the final count of respondents reached at the conclusion of the survey.


The estimated level of effort is around 64 working days (excluding Azerbaijan public holidays) and is expected to include the following anticipated tasks and assignment phases.

Inception Phase


TBD [5-10 working days]

This phase is meant to ensure that the consultant/firm is fully prepared before undertaking the survey. It includes:


  • Desk review of existing background documents
  • Inception briefing with CIPE
  • Finalization of the sampling plan
  • Finalizing and pilot testing of the survey protocol
  • Approval of the final survey protocol by CIPE
  • Translation into appropriate languages for fielding
Data Collection and Analysis Phase


TBD [34-44 working days estimated]

The data collection and analysis will include:


  • Fielding of the survey process
  • Actual data collection
  • Consultation with CIPE on the additional interviews to be included based on the screening survey results
  • Data coding, quality checking, data entry
  • Cleaned and fully labelled in English SPSS “*.sav” file or English Excel “*.xlsx” file with a complete data dictionary of variable names and value labels
  • Translation of data
  • Calculation of weights
  • Data analysis and technical report write-up
Reporting Phase


TBD [5-10 working days]

  • Drafting of first technical report and PowerPoint presentation
  • Incorporation of comments and revision of the report provided by CIPE
  • Final technical report and PowerPoint presentation produced after incorporating comments from the validation meeting


Responsibilities of Consultant and/or Firm

The selected consultant(s) and/or firm shall propose the specific methods and tools to carry out the survey, and will be responsible for the following specific tasks:

  • Finalization of the full survey protocol using the questions provided by CIPE. This protocol is anticipated to take about 45 min
  • Recommendations for the processes to be used in the methodology to ensure consultation with CIPE
  • Translation, formatting, pretesting, adaptation, and programming of CATI and/or CAPI devices. Please note: CIPE strongly prefers that all data will be collected electronically via Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) where possible and Computer-Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) as needed (for example in rural areas where access to technology may be more challenging) and alternative data recording systems proposed may be considered if data quality and data error issues are adequately addressed
  • Development of a sampling plan, to ensure that the women’s business associations (predominantly urban), informal women’s groups women (predominantly rural) and women entrepreneurs and business owners are selected in a way to ensure random selection, account for non-response, and be representative of the population. List and explain any geographic or other exclusions; the proposed sampling plan will be reviewed by CIPE and any further changes agreed upon by CIPE and consultant and/or firm will be incorporated
  • Training supervisors and interviewers
  • Arranging and supervising all aspects of data collection and management, including back-checks
  • Entering and processing the survey data, including data cleaning and encoding survey responses
  • Determining the representativeness of the sample and weighting the data, if necessary
  • Statistical analysis of findings and preparation an 5-10-page analytic report to place the findings within the local political and other context


CIPE will provide a draft survey protocol and the consultant and/or firm will provide input, such as a need for rephrasing certain terms for local context. The consultant and/or firm will translate the final protocol into Azerbaijani and English. Translations will be reviewed and approved by CIPE.  Full versions should be printed, and interviewers should be allowed to code the questionnaire in the interview language. The estimated average interview duration is 45 min.

For CATI and CAPI devices, at least the main interview languages (Azerbaijani and English) must be programmed into CATI and CAPI; only programming in English is not sufficient.


The survey protocol shall be pre-tested by the consultant and/or firm prior to the commencement of the survey. No less than three pre-test interviews per language shall be conducted. The consultant and/or firm shall provide CIPE with a written report of the results of the pre-test, along with details of any problems encountered and suggested remedies, prior to the commencement of the actual survey.

CIPE may have a representative observe training and/or listen to some interviews as possible and appropriate. The consultant and/or firm shall ensure that interviewers are thoroughly familiar with respondent selection procedures, call back procedures (at least 3 attempts before substituting a selected respondent), and the structure of the questionnaire, including routing and filtering. Interviewer training shall include practice sessions in administering the questionnaire. All interviewers must have at least completed secondary education and must be fully fluent (reading and speaking) in the language(s) in which they are to administer the interviews. It is requested that a minimum of 10% of interviews shall be back checked or accompanied by a team supervisor.

Respondent selection must be tracked on a contact tracking sheet or similar document.  This will be needed to calculate the response rate. Informed consent (oral is acceptable unless Azerbaijan country laws require written) must be sought prior to commencing the interview. CIPE will provide draft informed consent language to the consultant and/or firm and this template may be updated by the consultant to conform to Azerbaijan legal requirements and global standards for human subjects research best practices.

Data Processing

The consultant shall be responsible for data entry with a 10% quality assurance standard, cleaning, and processing, including development and implementation of a coding scheme for all open-ended questions. The consultant and/or firm shall supply data to CIPE as a clean, fully labeled in English SPSS “*.sav” file or English Excel “*.xlsx” file with a complete data dictionary of variable names and value labels. There shall be one data record for each respondent and records shall be of fixed length. The consultant and/or firm shall be responsible for deriving and applying any post-stratification weights required to bring the achieved sample into conformity with the demographic profile of the targeted population at the very least for geographic location, category the business falls under (micro, small or medium), business type and business sector, as well as any additional weighting factors required to correct for disproportionate allocation. If demographic weights were to exceed a factor 1:8, this must be discussed in writing with CIPE before the weight is applied. CIPE has strict upper limits on post-weighting and requires un-weighted samples already generally matching the population’s rough demographic distribution given the targeted population in Azerbaijan.

Each record shall include a unique respondent ID number, interviewer ID number, interview duration, interview start and end times, date of interview, and interview language. Each record shall include demographic information about the respondent, including gender, position, and other data as determined by CIPE.

Technical Report

When delivering data, the consultant shall provide a Technical Report which shall include the following:

  • Details of response rates, including tabulation of unsuccessful interview attempts by sampling point, with reasons for non-response (i.e. respondent refusal, proxy refusal, inability to locate selected respondent, etc.)
  • A brief report on survey operations including any practical difficulties encountered in carrying out the survey
  • Any abnormalities encountered during data quality control, such as unusual patterns by interviewer ID (e.g. unusually fast completion rates)
  • A technical report of 5-10 pages highlighting key findings from the data and placing these findings within the local context. Mere description of data is not sufficient; the report must contain analysis

PowerPoint Presentation

The consultant will provide a presentation with a chart for every survey question. A template will be provided by CIPE.


The selected consultant or firm is expected to successfully implement all aspects of the survey fielding and data collection, and to deliver high quality data according to the expectations and protocols within the timeframe defined throughout this Request for Proposal. By submitting a proposal, the consultant and/or firm affirms that he/she/they has no roles or relationships that might pose a real or apparent conflict of interest.

The consultant and/or firm will report to CIPE. CIPE will review all documents and recommend revisions on deliverables.

The consulting individual and/or firm should adopt a consultative and participatory approach while maintaining an independent perspective consistent with OECD DAC and American Evaluation Association standards and the global standards associated with public opinion and survey research.

Survey Team Qualifications

The consultant or survey firm needs to be a legally licensed international/national organization with a commendable track record and with 5 – 10 years’ experience in providing these services.  Key staff should have the appropriate experience, expertise, and credentials for their role. Specific capacities and capabilities may include:

  • Have legal status recognized by the Government of Azerbaijan (or other relevant governmental entity), enabling the consultant/firm to perform the above-­‐ mentioned tasks
  • Demonstrated experience in organizing CATI electronic surveys (strongly preferred) or alternative data recording systems which can adequately address data quality and data error issues on the scale of this project
  • Strong capacity and experience in planning and organizing survey logistics, including the design and implementation of protocols to ensure high quality data
  • Demonstrated experience in interviewing small, medium, and micro-enterprises and entrepreneurs
  • Demonstrated skills in project and data management
  • Good network of experienced enumerators, supervisors and managers. The names of the data managers and survey manager, and their specific responsibility must be mentioned in the consultant/firm’s offer
  • Strong capacity in database design, data management, and statistics
  • Strong knowledge of Excel or SPSS
  • Strong references and feedback from three recently completed surveys in Azerbaijan
  • Strong system for data quality control checks that can be accessible by the CIPE team without any restriction


Remuneration will be individually negotiated based on the professional qualifications and relevant experience.


For full consideration, applications must be received by August 1, 2021, by 5:00 p.m. (Azerbaijan time). Criteria for evaluation of proposals received is detailed on pg. 8.

All applications will be reviewed following the deadline. Consultants/firms should send resume(s) for the organization/consultant as well as resumes of the key personnel who will be managing this effort if selected, a cover letter, a technical proposal of 5-7 pages and a detailed and itemized budget in Excel format.  The cover letter should indicate the proposed per unit (per individual respondent) cost and/or daily rate as well as the consultant/firm’s availability to take on this opportunity.  The background experience should address the desired areas of expertise, including any knowledge or background in interviewing high level individuals and other development work including democratization, women’s entrepreneurship, and expertise in program evaluation.

Kindly note that CIPE reserves the right to:

  • Accept or reject any or all proposals, or any part thereof;
  • Conduct discussions with respondents and accept revisions of proposals after the closing date;
  • Request clarification from any respondent on any or all aspects of its proposals;
  • Cancel or re-issue this RFP at any time;
  • Retain all proposals submitted in response to this RFP; and
  • Invite some, all, or none of the respondents for interviews, presentations and further discussion.

Please address any queries or requests for clarification to CIPE. All technical and financial proposals should be sent by email to the following:

The evaluation of proposals and contracting process is anticipated to be completed on or about September 1, 2021, and the tentative survey start date will be as soon as practical after the award is made.

Evaluation Criteria and Sub-criteria for Technical Proposals

1 Experience of the consultants/firm 25% Experience of international or local projects of comparable size and complexity
Experience in Azerbaijan collecting data on a national level
Experience with CAPI and CATI surveys or alternative data recording systems which adequately address data quality and data error issues
Experience in telephone interviewing; including experience that comports with international standards and best practices for survey research
2 Adequacy of methodology and technical approach 50% Technical Approach and methodology including use of international standards and best practices for survey research and interviewing with diverse communities including women leaders
Clear understanding of sampling plan/needs to achieve research aims
Quality assurance measures
3 Qualifications and competence of staff 25% Organization and staffing
Suitability for the project; operational footprint and experience level of enumerators
Familiarity with the languages and conditions of the country

Evaluation Criteria for Financial Proposals

The financial proposal with the lowest price is given a maximum score of 100 points. This is then used as a basis to calculate the score of the other financial proposals. The financial score is computed as follows:

  • The score for the lowest priced financial proposal = 100 points
  • The score for each other financial proposals =100 points x (price of the lowest priced proposal/price of the proposal under considerations)

Total Score = Technical Score x Weight of 70% + Financial Score x Weight of 30%