Global Communities – SME Business Specialist, Karen/Nairobi.

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Job Title: SME Business Specialist

Level: Specialist

Department: USAID / CLEAR Program

Location: Karen / Nairobi

Reports To: Team Lead / Specialist PL&A

Supervises: Yes

Overview: Global Communities, formerly CHF International, is an international non-profit organization that works closely with communities worldwide to bring about sustainable changes that improve the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable.

Global Communities is implementing the USAID funded Cooperative Leadership Engagement Advocacy and Research (CLEAR) program.

CLEAR has three primary objectives:

1) promote the adoption and implementation of cooperative legislation and policies that support and strengthen cooperative businesses in 25 counties;

2) strengthen the business acumen and performance of cooperative businesses while integrating and empowering youth and women within cooperative business structures in targeted urban and peri-urban markets to increase economic participation and county revenue growth; and

3) improve cooperative systems and networks through the USAID Collaboration, Learning and Adaptation (CLA) approach and through our research program implemented in collaboration with USIU Africa.

The Global Communities Kenya office is seeking a qualified and experienced Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Business Specialist for the CLEAR program.

The SME Business Specialist will have the primary responsibility of working with cooperative start-ups in a variety of service sectors in order to build their skills and business acumen through direct knowledge transfer and mentorship.

The Specialist will be responsible for mentoring startups and their member owners in iterative business planning and strategies, management strategies, marketing strategies, networking and partnership development and understanding their market niche.

The CLEAR program works with Worker/Owner Cooperative startups in the service sectors. The CLEAR program does NOT work with agriculture co-ops or with SACCOs.

During the teleworking period as a result of the global pandemic, the Specialist will be responsible for the direct training and mentorship of small businesses through online training given the current teleworking status of Nairobi and be comfortable delivering content via Zoom or MS Teams.

The SME Business Specialist will have oversight of a small team of Cooperative Development Officers who are trained as cooperative developers, specifically in the Worker/Owner Service
cooperative model.

The SME Business Specialist will report to the USAID/CLEAR. S/he will be responsible for the management and leadership of program operations in Kenya, and will serve as the Country Program Representative.


The SME Business Specialist shall be responsible for the management and implementation for all elements of strategy and implementation of USAID/CLEAR Intermediate Result #2: Support to Cooperative Businesses.

The SME Business Specialist will be responsible for developing and executing the cooperative business strategy program in collaboration with the Chief of Party (COP), the Team Lead/Policy and Legislative Affairs Specialist.

The SME Business Specialist will work with cooperative partners, CLEAR business advisors and program partners including the Democracy at Work Institute to develop the business acumen of service cooperatives.

The SME Business Specialist and will supervise a team of at least two (2) in-country staff along with local consultants and an international partner to achieve project deliverables. The SME Business Specialist will be responsible for working with the project Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, the Collaborations, Learning and Adaptations (CLA) Officer and the Technical Specialist Gender Empowerment to track program achievements and achieve a more inclusive cooperative sector that is more connected and sensitive to gender equity and equality.

Critical to this position is a strong functional understanding of commercializing startups and ensuring they have the internal processes to succeed. The successful candidate will be able to demonstrate previous successes of bringing SMEs to market and have a history in training and facilitation. The candidate should be open to working in a nontraditional working environment with remote management and have good communication and cooperation skills.

Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Development Specialist, to provide technical support, monitor the activities of the project SMEs in support of Intermediate Result #2: Support to Cooperative Businesses.

The responsibilities included under this assignment are:

  • Build out, in partnership with team, a working strategy for achieving Intermediate Result #2 targets, including the development and execution of the annual work plan, collection of all relevant data in support of target achievement;
  • Set team priorities, oversee execution of workplan;
  • Design, plan and deliver trainings in SME/Cooperative Business Strategies;
  • Work one on one (coaching) with startup businesses to build their capacity and ability to have executable business plans, iterative strategy sessions, discuss organizational management and internal policies that set them up for success, support their capacity to build effective partnerships;
  • In coordination with consultants ensure each startup can demonstrate successful financial management in accordance with GAAP;
  • Work with independent business advisory consultants and Cooperative Development Officer(s) to quality check their templates, curricula and other education documents to ensure effect and quality delivery of training for SME/Cooperatives;
  • Manage and mentors a small team of Officers, manage workplans for consultants ensuring all deliverables are met;
  • Proven ability to work on a team to achieve both individual and team targets;
  • In collaboration with M&E Specialist, operationalize and annually review the capacity building needs assessment (Cooperative Performance Index) for BDS and cooperatives;
  • Work with M&E Specialist to track the progress towards the project objectives and key performance indicators on a quarterly basis;


  • Bachelor’s degree in the fields of Finance, Business Administration, Entrepreneurship, or other related field. MBA preferred or ability to demonstrate significant technical knowledge in the fields of business and financial management.
  • Minimum of five years’ experience in the field of private sector and SME development, and entrepreneurship development. Proven working experience promoting entrepreneurship and SME development, and private sector projects.
  • Demonstrated experience in project management and experience managing a small team including ability to design a work plan, achieve targets and manage staff time;
  • Working knowledge of the cooperative business model and ability to learn the Worker/Owner Cooperative model so as to be able to transfer knowledge;
  • Ability to engage with SMEs and cooperative businesses on web platforms including providing online training;
  • Proven ability to utilize the business canvas method or similar approach to build business strategy;
  • Proven ability to mentor/coach micro, small and growing businesses. Knowledge of cooperative business model and/or experience working with boards a plus;
  • Excellent networking skills and ability to connect players in a network to create opportunity;
  • Knowledge of Kenyan small and growing business networks, membership a plus.
  • Ability to be self-directed
  • Enjoy working with young entrepreneurs to achieve financial growth;
  • Ability to work remotely and uninterrupted with stable internet connection;
  • Must be a team player and have a flexible working schedule to accommodate an international management team in Washington, DC.

The Specialist will work under the supervision of the USAID/CLEAR in country Team Lead and in coordination with the Chief of Party/Director for Cooperatives and Inclusive Business.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should forward their updated CV and application letter ONLY to with clear subject: SME SPECIALIST on or by September 18, 2020.

Global Communities is an equal opportunity employer.




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