Director, Products Team - Small Growing Businesses

London, United Kingdom
Apply by 30 April 2018
Posted on 16 April 2018

Job Description

*Preferred location: United Kingdom. Other locations to be determined by home country of successful candidate in a jurisdiction (US state or country) where VFI/WVI is registered to operate.


This role is a core senior Director role within what will be the new Products, Innovation and Partnerships Team (PIP). The core leadership focus over the next 18-24 months will be on the testing and development of the Small Growing Businesses (SGB) product for eventual wider rollout. Whilst that will be the core of the role during that time we envisage 25% to be also focused on wider innovation and product development within the PIP team, and that 25% will become 100% once SGB has been piloted.

In SGB , VisionFund International’s objective is to pilot and develop an operation that is ready to become a global business to support lending and capacity building to Small and Growing Businesses with the aim of helping these businesses grow, create employment and economically uplift communities. The role will within the next 2 years lead the development and assessment of the potential for SGB to become within 5 years from now a separate business unit within VFI that can grow to $100m of portfolio operating across a substantial proportion of our MFIs in all our regions (Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe), and serve over 10,000 SGBs and indirectly impact over1million children.

Director, Global Products, Innovation & Partnerships Team - Small Growing Businesses (DGPIP –SGB) will be responsible for piloting and developing this global line so that it is ready to be a business unit and, once approved by VFI’s Senior Executive Team as a viable core model, transfer under Operations as a separate business line. The role focuses on (1) piloting and evaluating various models and ways of providing services to SGB clients. (2) raising the funding and capital required to be prepared to go to scale. (3) operational oversight and management of this plan to demonstrate the potential for a sustainable future business stream at scale in terms of return and risk management and funding:

  • Piloting and developing the overall operating product design(s) of an SGB business line across the designated pilot countries: Working within the Products team this role will create working models to provide services to SGB clients that include financial and non-financial services. The role will require design and monitoring skills combined with training and technical support to the various MFI entities.
  • Capital and Fundraising: The role will be a proactive leader in raising the funding required with i) the support of WV Support Offices (SOs) and VF’s grants and philanthropy fundraising teams, ii) through building networks with, and developing products (in conjunction with the VF Finance team) for, the impact investing community and iii) working in partnership with grant providers and technical support providers.
  • Operational Oversight: this role will oversee the delivery of the SGB Lending and Business Advice/Technical Advice programme, working with CEOs and SGB Managers in the MFIs. Operationally this involves the selection of SGBs, design and provision of credit (and potentially other financial products) to them, the delivery of Business Advice (BA) via our Customer Relationship Officers, and the identification of Technical Advice (TA) needs and identifying who to meet them. This also encompasses the measurement and reporting of financial and impact performance metrics. This business is expected to deliver a 20%+ ROE within 5 years. Crossing these core themes will be the development of a sophisticated evidence base to demonstrate impact for the clients in terms of employment growth and increased sales and profitability, not only to demonstrate this to existing supporters and investors, but also to expand fund/capital raising in new market segments.
  • Wider GPIP Team Innovation role. The role will in addition provide support in the development of additional business models that have not been fully identified yet. Working with the Director for Products and Portfolio the role will seek to identify, pilot and develop other models that will both contribute to the delivery of VFs Mission and Vision, but be financially sustainable.


  • Leading the development of the donor, funding and impact investing products for SGB, in conjunction with SOs, fundraising teams, and meeting with potential donors and speaking at key industry conferences.
  • Managing the development of SGB units in four plus units to ensure both high quality lending and the development of an effective SGB product that both clients in pilot countries, but in other countries are demanding.
  • Modeling and testing various Business Advisory services that are effective and evidence based for our SGB clients. Work with local and global partners to start to build networks and capability for delivering specific TA in the various locations.
  • Ensuring that we have high quality and reliable SGB impact reporting (financial and social) that shows success in improving client turnover, profitability and the creation of jobs.
  • Managing twice yearly meetings of the SGB Advisory Board and continuing to seek out international best practice for continuous program improvement.
  • Developing additional business models, and potentially units, for VFI. The role will include exploration of models, initial design and development of funding and business proposals.


  • A minimum of a masters degree (ideally in development, social sciences, economics, banking or business administration) – or work experience demonstrating an equivalent level of analytical and conceptualization skills.
  • Strong financial modelling and analysis skills and computer literacy.
  • Robust expertise in developing a business, ideally from scratch.
  • Proven training and coaching skills and a strong sense of entrepreneurship.
  • Expertise in market research, product development, impact assessments.
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication, public speaking and networking skills.
  • Ability to mix strategic, high level thinking with practical detail oriented tasks as needed.
  • A self starter with excellent business sense and the ability to develop new products for MFI clients and for impact investors.
  • Intercultural communication abilities in order to deliver training and provide support to individual MFI entities in design and support in the development of SGB (and other new) products. Ability to partner with MFI staff and help them overcome obstacles.
  • Significant (at least 10 years) strategic level experience of leadership roles in the operations and/or funding of business advice, or SME lending, ideally in a banking or microfinance organization.
  • Experience of working in, or closely with, impact investors and Experience of fundraising/grant acquisition.
  • Operational, management and financial skills sufficient to create detailed plans, raise funding and execute the implementation of new products and operations.
  • Proven ability to live and thrive in difficult operating environments (travel will be up to 30% of the time).
  • A networker who can match the interests of the clients and gap in the microfinance market with the interests of donors and impact investors, to develop products that will meet the needs of both.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English is required (in addition, French and/or Spanish would be an advantage).

Preferred Skills, Knowledge and Experience:

  • Banking, portfolio management and credit analysis experience, in particular for SMEs, ideally with a related professional banking or accounting qualification.
  • A strong networker with knowledge of impact investing ecosystem and major players, and related risk products.
  • Innovation background.
  • Institutional donor and Foundations grant fundraising.
  • Spanish speaking would be an advantage.
  • Product development experience in a microfinance institution would be preferred.
  • Ability to lead and be a strong team player in a global, multi-cultural, virtual-working setting.
  • Experience in management or business consulting within the private sector.
  • Managing a decentralized global business or development program.
  • Delivery of business and technical training and advice to small businesses and microfinance colleagues.
  • Production of impact based evidence studies.
  • Deep understanding of the WV Partnership’s identity and mission and VFI’s identity and mission within that, would be an advantage.

Work Environment/Travel:

The position requires ability and willingness to travel domestically and internationally up to 30% of the time.

About the Organization

VisionFund International (VFI) is the world’s largest Christian microfinance network. For more than a decade we have been improving the lives of children across the developing world, as we provide small loans and other financial services to families struggling in poverty.

As the microfinance subsidiary of World Vision, the world’s largest Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation, we work in 30+ countries through our network of affiliated microfinance institutions (MFIs) located across the globe in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. We have an outstanding loan portfolio of nearly US$ 535 million, serve over 1.2 million active borrowers and impact the lives of over 4 million children each year.

Sharing the same vision as World Vision, VFI aims to provide ‘life in all its fullness’ to children as their parents receive small loans, improve their businesses and increase in ability to care for their children as family incomes multiply.

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