General Manager, Proximity Finance – based in Yangon, Myanmar
We are looking to appoint an entrepreneurial and dynamic leader as General Manager of Proximity Finance, a ground-breaking farm financing business launched in 2012 by Proximity Designs in Myanmar.
Proximity Finance provides capital to smallholder farmers in Myanmar so they can invest in their farm enterprises and improve productivity and incomes. As one of the few financial service providers serving rural customers, the company has grown rapidly over the past five years and now serves nearly 100,000 borrowers across 1,800 villages. Most of its 350 staff operates out of sixteen branch offices located in rural townships. This is a significant time to be leading Proximity Finance. The General Manager will build on a strong organizational infrastructure and client base, and continue evolving the products, services and operations needed to generate impact and deliver superior service to underserved farmers.
We are looking for an exceptional individual who is motivated to grow a high performing financing business that directly serves farmers. Well-designed agricultural finance can accelerate financial inclusion and benefit smallholder farmers who have largely been neglected by the microfinance industry. The global demand for smallholder agricultural financing is staggering. Over 270 million smallholder farmers in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia have an unmet financing need of over USD 200 billion to grow their businesses and improve their livelihoods. In Myanmar, there is vast, unmet demand among 6+ million smallholder farm households lacking sufficient capital every season.
This is a unique position for a business leader who is inspired to reshape microfinance to make it more impactful. There will be significant opportunity for Proximity Finance to build on many of the successful elements of the microfinance model to create innovative and more impactful lending models and approaches. There will be opportunity to couple loan products with farm technologies and agronomic advisory services offered through the parent company, Proximity Designs. Established in 2004, Proximity Designs is a social business focused on the agriculture sector in Myanmar; it has developed a unique platform composed of three businesses – financing, farm technologies and agronomic advice – that are delivering products and services to small farmers in their journey out of poverty.
Proximity Finance and its General Manager will be able to access the broader Proximity team’s deep rural knowledge, a history of innovative product design, trusted brand and unprecedented go-to-market capabilities. Our strong team of Burmese and international talent has a proven record of successfully operating in Myanmar’s challenging environment, a passion for impact and empathy for our rural customers. Proximity Designs’ total operations serve over 500,000 people annually and have reached over 9,000 villages. Our products and services have helped 2.7 million people increase their income by US$250 or more per year.
Who we are looking for
As the General Manager of Proximity Finance, you will bring your wealth of international and commercial (preferably frontier markets) banking/finance experience and business acumen to this forward-thinking organization. You will be an impact-driven, intellectually curious, tech savvy and strategic leader with a successful management track record gained in a variety of organizations. Ideally, you will have experience in developing and innovating new products and services in a human-centered design environment. You will have experience in leading an organization and its people through a period of growth, and have an aptitude for critical thinking and creative problem solving. You will be a collaborative and inspirational manager in a challenging and fast-paced environment, with the interpersonal skills and gravitas to lead and motivate multi-disciplined and cross-cultural teams. You are willing to go the extra mile, and motivated to invest in local staff and deepen the organization’s professionalism.
What You Will Do
In addition to leading and managing overall operations as General Manager, you will focus on the following strategic priorities:
- Setting a clear strategic growth framework and business plan
In preparing to navigate an ambitious, multi-year growth agenda, you will help formulate and execute an evolving business plan that articulates the enterprise’s growth vision into more specific goals. You will be able to communicate effectively (written and orally) Proximity Finance’s vision for scaling impact in a well structured, clearly articulated way to internal and external audiences including staff, partners and investors.
- Designing financing for farmers
You will develop a good grasp of the financing needs of farmers in Myanmar, including the impact of specific financing products and whether they should be scaled as a distinct product or part of an integrated set of solutions for customers. You will guide design and research efforts and look for opportunities to maximize the impact of our financial products on farm households; this can be done by offering complementary farm technologies and agronomy advisory services through Proximity Designs’ subsidiary businesses.
- Focusing on operational efficiencies including digital technologies
You will engage with Proximity’s technology teams, to implement Proximity Finance’s digital transformation. This will include the implementation of a new core banking system and a robust customer data analytics function. You will focus on equipping loan officers with skills in effective and efficient farm loan underwriting.
- Measuring social impact
You will guide the evaluation and measurement of Proximity Finance’s impact on customers, to ensure our financial services are creating significant income gains for farmers.
- Raising debt capital and equity
You will engage investors around an aggressive growth agenda. You will formulate Proximity Finance’s funding strategy and put together partnerships with aligned investors that involve blended debt financing and equity.
- Establishing good governance practices
Since Proximity Finance is a newly independent legal entity, you will work closely with the Board of Proximity Finance to put in place a strong corporate governance foundation, in line with global established good practices and consistent with its social mission.
How to Apply. If you’re ready to bring your leadership and unique strengths to help create a bold and abundant future for millions of rural people, send us your CV and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. This position is based in Yangon, Myanmar.