Coffee Innovations Manager

  • Mid-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 5 July 2018

Job Description

TechnoServe has established a portfolio of innovative technology related programs and platforms that create an impact throughout a variety of coffee supply chain actors in East Africa. These platforms perform a range of functions, from creating the ability for working capital lenders in Rwanda to better monitor coffee washing station working capital loans, to providing washing station managers the tools needed to improve the operational efficiencies and quality of the coffee they produce- all with the ultimate goal of contributing to lift smallholder farmers out of poverty.

Projects within the coffee innovation portfolio include:

  • Scaling of TechnoServe’s SMS Bookkeeping Platform in Rwanda
  • The piloting of a wet mill management support tool to help wet mill managers increase the quality, operating efficiency, and transparency of their wet mills.
  • The management and expansion of a bespoke Traceability Platform to track and trace coffee purchases in Kenya and Ethiopia back to program supported wet mills.
  • The refinement of a harvest season support model for cooperatives in Ethiopia in partnership with international coffee roasters.
  • The implementation of TechnoServe’s East Africa Management Information System (MIS) within East Africa coffee projects, including the design and development of new system features as necessary.

In the future, TechnoServe intends to continue to build and refine the existing coffee innovation portfolio, with the long-term goal of increasing smallholder farmer incomes for 5 million smallholder farmers. The following priorities have been identified: 1) Improving the ability of rural coffee businesses to make sound, data-driven financial and processing decisions; 2) Improve linkages between wet mill businesses and financial/marketing service providers 3) Improve the governance/transparency of coffee cooperatives; and 4) Integrate mobile-payment mechanisms into the wet mill business model.


The Coffee Innovations Manager will lead ICT platform development and management activities for all technology platforms falling within the coffee innovation portfolio. Platform development and management activities include leading design, development, testing, and implementation of the new platform features, while also ensuring suitable maintenance is provided to support ongoing platform delivery over time.

The Manager will simultaneously support the East Africa regional coffee program team in developing their overarching innovations strategy, including continuously identifying new technologies to pilot within the East Africa regional programs to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the program implementation model. The Manager will work in concert with the Global Coffee Director and the East Africa Coffee Leadership team and will be involved in business development and donor relations.

Specifically, the manager will be responsible for the following:

Program Management / Operations

  • Manage the implementation of the internal Salesforce-based PIMA Regional MIS Platform to new East Africa regional coffee country programs, including Uganda, Zimbabwe, and DR Congo.
  • Continuously develop partnerships with large working capital lenders in Rwanda, and carry out and support fundraising/ sales activities for as driven by platform sustainability strategy.

ICT Platform Development

  • Manage the design, development, testing, regional implementation and evaluation of new ICT features within the PIMA Regional MIS System and oversee the platforms scale to new coffee programs in Uganda, Zimbabwe, and DR Congo; continuously evaluate and update roadmap for new feature development based on regional needs.
  • Manage the design, development, testing, implementation, and evaluation of the Cashless Wet Mill mobile money payment system within Rwanda as a part of the Access to Finance for the Coffee Sector Program.
  • Manage the design, development, testing, implementation, and evaluation of a Traceability System for Nespresso in Ethiopia; manage new feature development and refinement for the existing Traceability System in Kenya.
  • Manage the optimization of a new green sales tracking feature within the SMS Bookkeeping Platform; identify and manage the development and future implementation of additional SMS Bookkeeping Platform features as needed.
  • Manage the IT contractors for all associated ICT development platforms, including, the Traceability Platform, and regional salesforce MIS System.
  • Maintain good relationships with all internal and external users of developed ICT Platforms, including, the Virtual Business Advisor, the Traceability Platform, and PIMA Regional MIS system.

Innovations Strategy and Business Development

  • Develop a long-term sustainability strategy for the platform – integrating market innovations and new ideas. Support new business development activities for as driven by platform sustainability strategy.
  • Continuously evaluate and refine the mid-term East Africa coffee regional Innovation strategy, including receiving buy in from regional coffee leadership team members.
  • Identify opportunities to pilot new, existing technologies with East Africa coffee regional programs to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the program implementation model
  • Identify and liaise with ICT4D donors and fund managers to identify new innovation-based funding opportunities.
  • Integrate East Africa team innovations within Latin America Regional Coffee Programs
  • Develop external knowledge materials and represent the program to key partners and the interested community.
  • Develop internal knowledge materials; support internal knowledge sharing activities and the development of broader TechnoServe innovations frameworks and initiatives.
  • Other activities as assigned by the Global Coffee Director.

You will have:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Business Administration or other relevant field
  • At least five years relevant IT project management and delivery experience, including systems development, implementation, operations, maintenance, and support activities, within a relevant field (e.g., Access to Finance, Micro-Finance, Farmer Outreach, Mobile-Payments)
  • Experience developing organization-level digital strategies and business cases for technology investment
  • Experience living and working in sub-Saharan Africa (East Africa experience preferred)
  • Experience leading and managing multicultural teams, preferably some experience with managing remotely (e.g. field-based teams)
  • Strong market orientation, entrepreneurial and innovative thinker
  • Proven communication, presentation and writing skills
  • Proven ability to work independently, delivering high-quality end products
  • Previous successful experience mentoring and building capacity of staff
  • High proficiency in PowerPoint and Excel
  • Verbal and written fluency in English; Spanish an additional advantage


We welcome hearing from qualified and interested applicants. Click “Apply Now” to complete a short application and upload your resume and cover letter. Due to a high volume of applicants, please understand that we are able to contact only those who meet the minimum qualifications. No phone calls, please.

TechnoServe encourages diversity in all levels and across all facets of our organization. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, ages, HIV/AIDS status, protected veteran status, disability and all other protected classes.

About the Organization

TechnoServe works with enterprising people in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses, and industries. We are a nonprofit organization that develops business solutions to poverty by linking people to information, capital and markets. Our work is rooted in the idea that given the opportunity, hardworking men and women in even the poorest places can generate income, jobs and wealth for their families and communities. With more than four decades of proven results, we believe in the power of private enterprise to transform lives.

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