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About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps is a global humanitarian organization working in over 40 countries at the front lines of today’s biggest crises. Mercy Corps has built a reputation for innovative economic development programming, particularly working with start-ups, and hosts a venture capital arm called Mercy Corps Ventures. Its youth employment work places a focus on jobtech (read more here), which it has worked with jobtech for over a decade – investing, supporting product innovation, and conducting research on the opportunities for the sector. In late 2021, Mercy Corps launched the Jobtech Alliance, an ecosystem-building initiative around inclusive jobtech in Africa.
We’ve just secured our first dedicated funding for the Jobtech Alliance, and are recruiting a team to expand the Jobtech Alliance as the innovation and learning hub for inclusive jobtech in Africa. The three workstreams include: (1) An early-stage inclusive jobtech accelerator managed by our partners, BFA Global, under their Catalyst Fund brand; (2) An innovation-lab managed by Mercy Corps, where we partner with jobtech start-ups across 10 African markets to support strategy, product and operational innovations which make their services more viable and scalable, more inclusive and/or more impactful for the users they serve. The program will deploy a range of supports to start-ups including technical assistance, project delivery support, grant capital and connections to partners; and (3) A learning, research and community-building component.
The Program / Department / Team
We are recruiting a Senior Venture Building Manager responsible for end-to-end engagement with jobtech start-ups under the Innovation Lab component of the program, and contributing to overall program strategy. The Senior Venture Building Manager will be responsible for developing a pipeline of exciting jobtech platforms with potential for significant employment outcomes, working with them to develop concepts for Mercy Corps’ interventions, managing selection and onboarding, and managing support packages to realise results. S/he will be well-equipped to interact with corporates and bigger start-ups, and will bring a strong network. Expect us to move fast, make mistakes, learn a lot, and re-start a few times. You’ll be traveling up to 20% of the time across different African markets.
- Contribute to the overall venture building strategy of the program, and identify opportunities to enhance program outcomes.
- Develop tools and processes used throughout the partner engagement lifecycle
PIPELINE DEVELOPMENT & PARTNERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
- Conduct market research to guide start-up outreach and investment strategies.
- Map, develop and maintain relationships with relevant external stakeholders to widen pipeline, including accelerators and start-up networks.
- Develop a pipeline of exciting jobtech start-ups across multiple African markets with the potential to achieve greater scale, impact, and/or inclusivity.
- Work with pipeline start-ups to identify potential concepts for partnership, collaboratively deciding on packages of support. Where beneficial, identify linkages between Mercy Corps country portfolios and pipeline start-ups
- Lead due diligence up to review by the Selection Committee, and oversee the contracting and onboarding of selected start-ups.
VENTURE BUILDING, TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE, ADVISORY
- Manage interventions with partner start-ups, coordinating external technical assistance providers, deployment of finance, and connections to other project partners.
- Monitor performance of portfolio, continuing to adapt interventions to maximise impact. Feed back into overarching program strategy.
- Manage partner milestone reporting, fund disbursement from Mercy Corps, and monitoring requirements.
- Where suitable, Venture Builders could be deployed for brief secondments to partners to support implementation of interventions.
LEARNING AND INFLUENCE
- We operate as a ‘do-tank’, ensuring that learnings from this emerging sector are shared back to the community. Document lessons learned, write up experiences from portfolio start-ups for the Jobtech Alliance blog, host webinars for the Jobtech Alliance on key topics, or conduct exploratory research on emerging topics – you’re the boss.
- In partnership with portfolio start-ups and other Jobtech Alliance members, identify key research topics and build collaborative research on key topics surfacing from our work
- Where relevant, collaborate with country teams to share lessons learned and identify synergies and opportunities for integration and expansion.
Reports Directly To: Director / Jobtech Alliance
Works Directly With: Start-ups, External partners, Research and MEL Director, Venture builders, Finance/Contracts Manager, Mercy Corps country teams, Mercy Corps Youth Employment Technical Support Unit
Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills
- A history of excellence in achieving results and self-management.
- Minimum of 10 years experience working with start-ups, VCs, accelerators or other start-up ecosystem actors. This could involve working on business strategy, market research, product, operations, or investment. We welcome diversity of experience.
- Through-the-roof EQ, with excellent communication skills (written and verbal), and a collaborative approach to working with others. Experience in senior management teams, and working with senior leaders in the start-ups space.
- Outstanding analytical capacity, with capacity to bring clarity for others and make quick decisions.
- Experience working in or with jobtech platforms is a strong plus.
- Other pluses include experiences with portfolio management or MBA/equivalent/
You are an entrepreneurial self-manager, who is passionate about start-ups and employment impact. You have through-the-roof EQ, with an ability to build new relationships and manage existing ones effectively. You have outstanding analytical capacity, and can quickly see both business as well as impact opportunities. You love getting your hands dirty.
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
Based in Nairobi.
In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.
We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.
Equal Employment Opportunity
Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact.
We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.
Safeguarding & Ethics
Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
Mercy Corps does not charge any fees at any stage of the recruitment process