Senior Advisor for Portfolio and Innovator Support (Off Grid Senior Advisor)

  • Senior-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 6 March 2019
  • Washington, D.C., District of Columbia, United States
  • Closing on 4 May 2019

Job Description

Position Located in Washington, D.C.

CAMRIS International, Inc. is an international development and research firm that provides innovative solutions to health and development challenges through high-quality, economical program and research management services.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has contracted through CAMRIS International to recruit and hire qualified individuals for the following position:

Title: Senior Advisor for Portfolio and Innovator Support


USAID’s U.S. Global Development Lab is seeking a Sr. Advisor Portfolio and Innovator Support to design and implement a range of innovator and entrepreneurial support and acceleration activities intended to promote the readiness to grow and widen the adoption of innovations within the Lab’s portfolio. The U.S. Global Development Lab (Lab), an independent office reporting to the USAID Administrator, aims to transform USAID into a global leader in development by pioneering and scaling evidence-driven products and approaches that utilize science, technology, innovation and partnership to address development challenges.

The goals of the Lab are to:
1. Source Break-through Innovations that can impact millions of lives; and,
2. Modernize the development industry. The Center for Development Innovation in the Lab has supported the review of over 15,000 innovative ideas and funded more than 300 innovators through programs like Development Innovation Ventures and Grand Challenges for Development. We are now turning our attention to growing and supporting the most promising of these approaches to increase uptake across the developing world.

The Advisor is an integral part of the Applied Innovation & Acceleration team, working with the Team Lead and various innovation programs in Lab. The work of this position is essential to ensure the appropriate investment and growth of the innovators and entrepreneurs funded by the U.S. Global Development Lab and its programs. The Advisor will serve as the lead on particular Lab programs and will be responsible for implementing and contributing to the design and execution of the Lab acceleration and adoption strategies. The individual must be able to handle several tasks simultaneously, work quickly to meet competing deadlines, develop a solid understanding of relevant Agency policy and guidelines, incorporate practices and procedures and develop a thorough understanding of the innovation program goals and initiatives. She/he will facilitate the development and implementation of support, mentoring and advisory services to directly to key lab innovators, and maintaining the tracking and reporting of the performance of funded innovators. She/he will also position ventures for eventual investment, assist in raising funding from impact investors, and be a thought leader in structuring financing of social enterprises. Enterprises may be in the areas of financial services, education, health, agriculture, employment, clean energy, water/sanitation, or other needs in developing countries.

The Applied Innovation & Acceleration Team supports the design, coordination, implementation of our interventions and leverages learning. This team leads the incubation and development of enterprises and innovators that fulfill both our social mission and achieve business profitability.



Act as a Sr. Advisor, business mentor and over-all champion for Innovators in the Lab:
* Help stimulate the growth of our portfolio of high impact solutions, and, by influencing others, advance the practice of development innovation, increasing the adoption of high impact development solutions, contributing to the improvement of hundreds of millions of lives and the transformation of the development enterprise.
- Pursuing growth of our innovators and development of our innovators with targets around:
- Number of high impact innovations with wide-spread adoption
- Portfolio of high potential innovations succeed
- Evidence of innovation potential built and used for decision-making
- Barriers to scaling innovation impact overcome
- facilitating other funding sources for innovators
* Advises on the development of operational plans and financial forecasts for assigned innovation, coordinating execution, and measuring results.
* Supports investment decisions and leads the development of the financial business case, as appropriate.
* Manage entrepreneur and innovator development workstreams including course corrections
* Determine the potential investment frame around high-potential innovations and prioritization of such investment

Provide direct acceleration support and innovative financing technical assistance to Lab-funded innovators
* Support the development of promising and proven innovation by collaborating across growth phases.
* Help design and execute levels of support to innovators including decisions around
- Which innovators have been getting support, and the relationship of that support to their success
- What innovators have received what support vs their potential
- Where partners/external stakeholders are currently performing, and what support they need
* Design and decide the application of acceleration support either directly via the team or through third party providers in the areas of: operations, strategy, market analysis, communications, financial preparedness and management, and others as appropriate.
* Work directly with innovators originators to refine concepts and value propositions of new products;
* Conduct due diligence research to validate and scale opportunity;
* Mentor field entrepreneurs in business skills and effectively growing early stage enterprises

Engage in partnership building and thought leadership on issues of acceleration and innovative finance
* Engage new partners by promoting innovations and innovative models that attract profit-oriented managers and investors.
* Lead the sharing and learning around the implementation of innovative financing mechanisms across the industry.
* Initiate, strengthen, and maintain communications with internal and external players, specifically other funders and innovators.
* Identify, cultivate and manage key relationships to provide external visibility for our innovations to outside funders and customers.
* Draft articles, case studies and reports and other collateral and reports that promote the growth of Lab sourced innovations
* Identify and attend key external activities relevant to acceleration

Strategy and Vision
* Effectively balance business results and social impact in both business models and funding/incentive structures
* Track key advances in social entrepreneurship and impact investing, informing and advising the innovation team on the potential applicability
* Governance and board level oversight of mature ventures

Business Planning
* Identify promising ideas for innovators and enterprises and provide leadership in defining innovative business strategies
* Conduct due diligence to identify and validate key risks and success factors
* Lead grant and investment funding sourcing, discussions, negotiation, and deal structuring
* Provide deep expertise and quantitative rigor in developing robust business models
* Be a hands-on player to fill any necessary gaps in enabling new ventures to succeed
* Maintain strong relationships in the impact investment community and play a key role in raising equity funding as ventures mature
* Be an active member of the social innovations team in identifying the most promising ideas across the organization with a particular focus on one of six regions

Organizational Learning:
As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve - we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit the Lab as well as themselves. Share knowledge and learn about innovative financing through a central resource for technical assistance, data, and tools.


Advisor will be expected to be familiar with executing programs and having experience including:
* Being a serial Entrepreneur, ideally with experience developing social impact enterprises or start-ups in the developing world
* Deploying significant, new private sector capital that would otherwise not participate in social investments.
* Transforming development investment through financial structuring by distributing risk, enhancing liquidity, reducing volatility and risk mitigation
* Supporting a cooperative public-private sector approach to scale socially beneficial operations that require significant capital outlays
* Adjusting incentives to encourage private companies to make the investments necessary to create new products and enter new markets.
* MBA or equivalent experience
* 10-15 years developing businesses either in venture capital, business accelerator, management consulting, or as an entrepreneur
* Development of multiple businesses from early stage conceptualization through scale
* Building companies and growing teams
* Impact investing including understanding of innovative funding structures, having raised or financed social enterprises, and having strong relationships in the impact investment community
* Strong financial modeling, business planning, due diligence, competitive analysis, and valuation skills and experience
* Interest and/or experience in international development and experience working with USAID or on USAID projects is highly desirable.
* The ideal candidate will have a history of being deeply engaged in making start-ups successful including previous social entrepreneur experience
* Progressively responsible experience in business strategy, development, financial models, preferably working in developing countries with demonstrated expertise in entrepreneurial start-ups and growth
* Ability to work in a fast paced, multi-client environment, with minimal guidance, prioritize work, and handle multiple tasks under tight deadlines.
* Experience developing and maintaining relationship with Venture Capital, Social Impact, Entrepreneurial Networks, and other relevant contacts.
* Proven record of excellent organizational, management and interpersonal skills. Ability and willingness to navigate within a large, complex federal agency to meet goals.
* US Citizenship required
* Ability to obtain a secret clearance.
* Management and supervisory experience.
* Possess a “Big Picture” mentality.

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