Managing international development programs – which often requires deep understanding of local contexts and cultures, and can involve working in remote areas or supporting institutions with limited capacity – can be a challenge for any firm, particularly a smaller one. Building the right mix of skills, expertise, and oversight within your organization to successfully win and implement a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) contract takes time and thoughtful strategic planning.
Recently I had the pleasure of participating in a panel discussion hosted by the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce that provided guidance to small businesses seeking opportunities to work with USAID. I was able to provide participants with first-hand insights into the challenging and rewarding world of USAID contracting – which for The Cloudburst Group has involved everything from mobile technology pilot projects in Tanzania to impact evaluations in Liberia to environmental compliance trainings in Albania.
One of the goals of the panel was to highlight USAID’s Mentor-Protégé Program, which is designed to build the capacity of smaller organizations to carry out USAID international development programs. I was joined on the panel by Mauricio Vera from USAID and Kurt Olsson from DAI, which is The Cloudburst Group’s mentor under this program. One of my key takeaways from the discussion was USAID’s commitment to partnering with small businesses to further the mission of the Agency.
I am grateful to the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce for hosting this useful event and Cloudburst looks forward to continuing our collaborations with USAID and DAI as we strive to provide solutions for health, housing and land.