• 45 Prospect St, Cambridge, MA, United States
  • Full-time

Company Description

The Global Development Incubator (GDI) is a non-profit that builds startups and partnerships to address some of the world's toughest global development challenges. We play a mix of the strategist and implementer role to get game-changing ideas off the ground over 18-24 months. Throughout each stage of our process, we bring together the right partners across sectors – including corporations, nonprofits, governments, and foundations – to help new initiatives scale their impact and prepare for long-term success. Above all, we turn talk into action by matching ambitious leaders, strong concepts, and funding with the executional power required to launch and scale game-changing social impact efforts.

GDI typically focuses on three phases of work, including 1) design and strategic direction setting 2) pilot and launch and 3) medium – long term implementation support and capacity development through to exit. GDI has shaped over 35 social impact initiatives, including designing, building, launching, and exiting several initiatives that now stand as independent organizations. By combining our strengths with the passion of our partners, we successfully built the first investor platform for blended finance in Convergence; put global mental health on the map through citiesRISE; guided the startup strategy and operations of the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery; and have led a resurgence in interest for the financing needs of the world’s half billion smallholder farmers with ISF Advisors, among other initiatives.

For more information, including the current portfolio, please visit:

Job Description

The Associate role is a unique opportunity to work closely with a proven senior leader of two of GDI’s initiatives, Council on Smallholder Agricultural Finance (CSAF) and Stawi Africa Founded in 2012, CSAF is a membership alliance consisting of 12 leading impact lenders that come together on a pre-competitive basis to promote the healthy growth and development of the financial market serving small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs) in the agricultural sector. CSAF members collectively lend $700M+ annually to agricultural SMEs aggregating 2.2M farmers globally and CSAF is recognized as a leading voice in building a thriving and sustainable market for agricultural SME finance.  Stawi Africa is a new initiative that emerged from CSAF and is being incubated within GDI to address barriers to agricultural finance in East Africa. Drawing upon groundbreaking data, it will provide targeted financial incentives to lending institutions (both CSAF members and local banks and non-bank lenders) to mobilize $700M in financing for agricultural SMEs that improve livelihoods for over 1 million smallholder farmers and enterprise employees by 2025. The leader of both initiatives is a senior executive and former Chief Innovation Officer of Root Capital who has a track record of designing and launching innovative and impactful multi-stakeholder initiatives.

In a single day, you will be a researcher, analyst, strategist, program manager, administrative support, and implementer. Your goal is to launch and build CSAF and Stawi Africa to set them up for long-term success. You will be a member of the growing Stawi Africa team (expected to be 9 by year-end) and a dynamic 50-person global team for GDI, while being the sole U.S.-based staff person supporting the leader of CSAF and Stawi Africa (who is based in Cambridge, MA). You will conduct research and analysis to support strategy development; participate in senior-level meetings with experts and partners; manage workplans, workflows, and budgets; provide support on administrative functions; coordinate extensively with colleagues in both GDI’s head office in Washington D.C., Kenyan affiliate office in Nairobi, and representatives elsewhere in East Africa; and make sure all efforts are implemented for results. Although you will work closely with your manager, GDI Associates are expected to exercise a high degree of autonomy and take on significant responsibility.



  • Provide input into strategy as member of a small and collaborative team with ambitious goals

  • Support outreach, network-building, and business development efforts for partners and donors

  • Participate in meetings with current and prospective partners

Research + Writing

  • Conduct complex financial, market, and policy analyses

  • Track risks, issues, stakeholders, and potential funders

  • Support the development and delivery of structured communications, especially reports and presentations

Project Management & Administrative Support

  • Manage overall workplan, including tasks and milestones, and brief Manager on progress and areas of concern on a weekly basis

  • Travel as needed to support field implementation or headquarters advisory

  • Prepare budgets for and assist in preparation of outgoing program and project proposals

  • Manage electronic and paper files for incoming grants and awards, in collaboration with the bookkeeping and accounting team

  • Review and analyze financial expenditure reports against budgets and donor agreements

  • Collect, organize, and prepare program and financial information for donor progress and internal grant management reports, as well as routine queries

  • Coordinate service providers, including assisting Managers in preparation, processing, and administration of consultant and technical services contracts/agreements

  • Coordinate support from other teams within GDI, including Communications, Finance/Admin & HR

Contribute to Building GDI as an Industry-Leading Incubator for Social-Change Initiatives

  • Contribute to the refinement of incubation methodologies based on your hands-on experiences

  • Support knowledge management and dissemination both within GDI and to external stakeholders


We are looking for candidates with a mix of entrepreneurial, strategic, and operational experience, including at least 2 years of professional experience in management consulting, finance, or social impact organizations; and/or demonstrated experience supporting management, operations, or implementation. This position is an exceptional opportunity for a candidate who enjoys a fast-paced environment while offering substantial visibility into and latitude to take ownership over strategy development and implementation for two exciting and ambitious initiatives at the cross section of social impact and innovative finance.

The following qualities are a must for this position:

  • Passion for steering financial markets to achieve social and environmental impact

  • Intellectual curiosity, entrepreneurial mindset, and sharp problem-solving skills

  • A relentless drive to get things done with attention to detail and standard of excellence

  • Ability to move fluidly between collaborative and independent work styles

  • Exceptional communication skills and ability to engage a range of stakeholders

  • Experience in cross-cultural contexts; preference for candidates who have lived and/or worked in Sub-Saharan Africa and/or Latin America preferred

  • Preference for candidates who speak Spanish

Additional Information

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.