Stakeholder Engagement Manager for Collaborative for Frontier Finance

  • Tower Building, 1401 K St NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA
  • Full-time

Company Description

The Collaborative for Frontier Finance (CFF) is a multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to increase the amount of appropriate capital available for small and growing business in emerging markets (SGBs) – a deficit estimated at over $1 trillion.  CFF has been launched and supported by a group of like-minded system building organizations, including; Arigdius Foundation, Australia’s DFAT, Dutch government’s DGGF, MacArthur Foundation, Omidyar Network, Small Foundation, and the World Bank. https://www.frontierfinance.org/

As a collective, CFF brings together a broad representation of stakeholders to better understand the constraints faced by the financial intermediaries that look to provide debt, equity and quasi-equity to SGBs.  Based on improved understanding of these constraints, CFF looks to work with a broad network of donor agencies, field builders, financial intermediaries, advisory firms, and capital market players, etc. to support, refine and accelerate the application of market-based initiatives that can further the debottlenecking process.  CFF’s focus is to engage at the financial intermediary level, strengthening their capacity to act as key drivers of capital for SGBs.

CFF operates principally through thematic “clusters” associated with specific challenges and opportunities related to SGB finance.  The clusters bring together expert stakeholders to build a community, identify key challenges, and accelerate initiatives to further advance SGB finance.  Currently, CFF prioritizes three thematic clusters; very early stage fund vehicles, alternative debt models, and the mobilization of wholesale capital from global and local markets.  As part of its learning agenda, CFF conducts ecosystem-level research and works with aligned networks and institutions to amplify the role and need for SGB finance. Based on the learnings and priorities developed by the cluster members, specific initiatives will be undertaken – fundable projects that are either market-based interventions / pilots or network-based approaches that move us from ideas to action.

Vision for 2019/2020: Building on its first 18 months in operation, CFF continues to iterate on its activities and operating model.  Over the next twelve months, CFF aims to:

  • Continue to progress its cluster focused on ‘very early stage funds’.  These are funds investing in early stage companies between $50K - 500K with an “equity mindset”, have assets under management < $20M, and operate in emerging markets.

  • Develop and launch clusters focused on (i) alternative debt (mezzanine, tech-enabled instruments, commercial bank, etc.) and (ii) capital mobilization, with a focus on development financing institutions, bi-laterals, impact investors, pension funds/insurers and local market wholesale and retail capital providers.

  • Conduct research on SGB financing to address the information asymmetry related to this sector.  

  • Strengthen the CFF model to accelerate network level collaboration for SGB financing among field building organizations, investors, and financial intermediaries.

Job Description

The Stakeholder Engagement Manager role is a unique opportunity - it requires the skills of an individual to both work with key partners to develop the CFF and cluster level strategic direction, while driving the day-to-day program management implementation.  

The Engagement Manager will be responsible for a cluster focused on ‘very early stage funds’ as well as core CFF strategy / operations (see specifics below).  As CFF itself is a startup and therefore will need an individual that is willing to jump from administrative tasks to interacting with senior-level stakeholders. The Manager will serve as the linchpin of CFF’s work and operations. Working as part of a lean team - it is the Manager’s job to ‘direct the trains’ to ensure CFF’s work is progressing according to the vision.  The Engagement Manager will report to the Executive Director of CFF, with extensive direct interaction with the VESF and CFF stakeholders. The two main workstreams include:

1. Very early stage funds (VESF) stakeholder engagement and cluster management (75% of role)

Presently, VESF is supported and anchored by the World Bank and Small Foundation.  It looks to address the constraints in managing sustainable fund vehicles that target the provision of equity capital to enterprises at the early stage of their business development.  Often these are enterprises have launched commercially, have revenues and are now in need of capital to support them through these early phases of their business model evolution. In the emerging market context, these enterprises often need funding in the $50,000 - $500,000 range.  VESF level role includes;

  • VESF Stakeholder Engagement:  

    • Engage with the two anchors to create a vision and value proposition to address the market level challenges of providing capital to early stage enterprises.  Working with the Anchors, establish the key priorities and operational game plan for coming twelve months.

    • Develop and manage a network of committed stakeholders to leverage their respective experiences in order to bring a diverse and “market-based” perspective related to the challenges of VESF.  This will include the general partners, limited partners and advisors of VESF related funds. This work stream would include leveraging the skills and expertise of Converge for Impact, an advisory firm that specializes in multi-stakeholder networks.  

    • Identify, develop, and manage partners relevant to VESF’s mission, including expanding the Anchor-level partners.

  • Launch and Oversee learning agenda.  Guide in the development and implementation of the knowledge learning agenda of VESF.  Such efforts will look to gather market-level data and increase the understanding of the SGB finance landscape.  Execute on research projects including TOR development with input from stakeholders, procurement of a firm, ongoing oversight, and final output.  In addition, this could orchestrating a gathering of fund managers and other stakeholders during the Q2/Q3 2019.

  • Increase sector transparency, launch and oversee communications agenda.  In partnership with media partners that focus on impact investing and the SGB finance landscape in emerging markets, develop a plan to address the information asymmetry that confronts this sector.  Ensure regular publication and dissemination of thought pieces related to SGB finance (including through CFF’s own website and that of other VESF stakeholders).

  • Support identification and launch of pilot initiatives:

    • Engage with VESF stakeholders to develop the vision and preliminary design for time-bound initiatives.  The value proposition of such initiatives is to pilot market-based approaches to address the constraints confronted by the sector.  Assess viability of such pilots and the potential to have catalytic impact at scale.

    • Support implementation including developing the funding construct and attracting the requisite resources.  

  • VESF Administrative & Operational Management:  

    • Manage overall cluster operations including (but not limited to) workplan and budget development, project management and monitoring, fundraising for the cluster and initiatives, manage all cluster administrative needs, and ensure cluster leadership is engaged and providing guidance where necessary.

    • Coordinate, facilitate and document stakeholder engagement.

2. Collaborative for Frontier Finance (CFF) strategy and operations (25% of role)

CFF is run by a Secretariat which sets and oversees all the activities of CFF, including; strategic vision, finance/budget, HR, communications and the development of strategic partnerships.  The Secretariat itself is responsible to the CFF Steering Committee which principally includes the founding donors. CFF level role includes;

  • CFF Operations.  

    • Be a key thought partner of the Executive Director in support of the founding members’ vision for CFF.

    • Support CFF’s Executive Director to manage the Steering Committee including updates, preparation for meetings, note taking and facilitation as needed, and follow up.

    • Orchestrate SteerCo engagement, including; bilateral conversations, periodic SteerCo calls and semi-annual gathering.  

    • Prepare and ensure timely donor reporting.  

  • Expand stakeholder engagement.  

    • Support funding & partnership development for CFF including identifying and crafting partnerships, developing and tailoring proposals, building funder relationships, reporting on grants, etc.

    • Assist in developing materials to articulate CFF’s vision, value proposition and operational model.  

  • Manage across CFF’s clusters.  Work with Executive Director and the other members of the CFF team, including GDI staff, to ensure alignment and coordination among CFF’s cluster level objectives and activities.  

  • Media and Communications.  Work in collaboration with CFF’s communications support team to manage communications including managing website content and updates, developing and iterating on CFF-wide documents, and newsletters.

  • CFF level research agenda.  Work in collaboration with the CFF Executive Director to develop research on SGB financing including identifying key questions, sourcing feedback, and launching informing research pieces.

Qualifications

  • Stakeholder Management: The candidate must excel in engaging and leveraging the knowledge and resources of diverse constituents.  Managing multiple stakeholders, their respective levels of capacity, commitment, and institutional alignment with VESF. Underpinning this is excellent communications skills, an ability to build close working relationships and make progress by leveraging skills and expertise of others, and a general capacity to work well with anyone. Importantly, this also includes working with stakeholders to achieve consensus and decisions on a timely basis.

  • Emerging Market SGB Sector.  Strong understanding of the issues and opportunities before the small and growing businesses operating in emerging economies.  

  • Finance experience:  Strong understanding and experience related to the capital needs and alternative instruments/vehicles related to SGB finance.  Knowledge of the different types of capital and financial intermediaries in emerging markets. The candidate will need to demonstrate an ability to grasp the technical and operational realities of investment and financing in emerging markets.  Specific experience on early stage or sub $1M investments is a plus.

  • Structured problem solver: The candidate should be able to unpack complex problems, identify challenges, recommend ideas, seek and integrate feedback from key stakeholders, and develop a realistic operational plan for execution. This requires qualitative and quantitative research skills, an ability to synthesize insights, and channel into actionable ways forward (e.g. concrete research, project plans, workshop agendas, etc.).

  • Project management: Given the evolving nature of the work, the candidate should thrive when managing multiple workstreams and projects. This includes tracking data, stakeholders, defining and sticking to workplans, managing a budget, structuring the next steps, setting priorities, leading meetings, etc. This work also includes reporting to the CFF Secretariat on progress against goals, bottlenecks, and impact.

Must-haves

  • Experience in working in Sub-Sahara, South and South East Asia markets

  • Deep familiarity with needs and challenges of small and growing businesses in emerging markets.

  • 2-5 years related to impact investing and finance.

  • 2-5 years in the provision of consulting/design thinking services

  • Experience in working with multi-stakeholder initiatives – and achieving measurable outcomes.

  • University, graduate school not required

  • Experience of building something - an organization, an idea, a company, an investment, etc.

  • Ability to set and meet project deadlines.

  • Ability to travel internationally (~15-25% of time)

Additional Information

The implementation of CFF has been incubated on behalf of the founding stakeholders through Global Development Incubator (GDI).  GDI has incubated some of the most innovative initiatives in emerging markets; including Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), Convergence Finance, citiesRISE, EYElliance, the Partnership for Economic Inclusion, Precision Agricultural for Development and the Council on Smallholder Agricultural Finance.  GDI takes a hands-on approach to partner with innovators in developing scalable and self-sustaining initiatives that address global problems. The individual will work closely with the GDI team. The individual will be based remotely, preferably in Europe, Africa or Eastern USA.