Program Officer - ...

Program Officer - Business Incubation

DEADLINE: February 9, 2012

infoDev is seeking to hire a Program Officer (Business Incubation) to design, lead and advise on numerous projects and programs that use incubation to enable the start-up and growth of innovative enterprises in devloping countries.

To apply through the World Bank website, click here.

Note:  This is a 2 year coterminous term appointment. A re-entry guarantee from a Bank unit will need to be secured for Bank staff holding open-ended appointments.

Background information

infoDev ( is a program of the World Bank which works at the intersection of innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship to create opportunities for inclusive growth, job creation and poverty reduction. infoDev assists governments and technology-focused small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to grow jobs, improve capacity and skills, increase access to finance and markets, ensure the appropriate enabling policy and regulatory environment for business to flourish, and test out innovative solutions in developing country markets. We do this in partnership with other development programs, with World Bank/IFC colleagues, and with stakeholders from the public, private and civil society sectors in the developing world.

infoDev is staffed by an expert Secretariat housed in the Financial and Private Sector Development (FPD) Vice Presidency of the  World Bank Group. We leverage our work with complementary programs of FPD and other World Bank Group units, using the following strategic priorities:
• Facilitate the creation and growth of innovative technology enterprises (particularly SMEs) that in turn, support and lead to the growth of competitive industries;
• Support the commercialization and adoption of technologies, such as ICTs and climate technologies, by building capacity and skills, providing technical assistance, and enhancing access to finance and markets.
• Promote sound enabling environments for innovation and technology entrepreneurship to flourish, by disseminating cutting edge research and best practices, connecting communities of practice, building capacity and skills, and convening stakeholders. 

infoDev is a global thought leader in ICTs for development (ICT4D) and in small business incubation for innovative entrepreneurs, start-ups and enterprises. infoDev’s global incubation network spans some 400 incubators in over 100 countries. It connects more than 20,000 small and medium enterprises and has helped create over 270,000 jobs. infoDev’s ICT4D work, in particular, its cutting edge research and analytical products have helped regulators and policymakers around the world create sound enabling environments for ICT access and use to flourish.

infoDev’s work is a continually iterative process. We communicate with our stakeholders on an ongoing basis through communities of practice, surveys and interviews, social media, focus groups, and direct feedback during training sessions. Our analytical work helps frame our work in the field. This adaptive format enables infoDev to build strong partnerships, work with a wide range of stakeholders, coordinate joint action among bilateral and multilateral partners, and deliver innovative programs on a national, regional and global scale. It also allows us to design demand-driven programs that are grounded in the realities of the developing countries we serve.

infoDev’s donors support the use of technology and innovation for development. They see a key role for a strong and robust private sector in growth, development, competitiveness, and poverty alleviation. They believe that access to information and ICTs opens opportunities for inclusive development, across all economic sectors and parts of society in developing countries.

infoDev is currently implementing an ambitious work program, which includes several interesting initiatives:

• The Creating Sustainable Businesses in the Knowledge Economy Program (CSBKEP) is a public-private partnership with the Government of Finland and Nokia. This program explores how to improve the productive capacity of enterprises, particularly SMEs, as engines for sustainable and equitable development. It also evaluates how innovation facilitates development, in areas such as value-chains, policy frameworks, and broader innovation eco-systems. It incorporates a number of creative and cutting-edge activities, such as mobile applications laboratories, social networks, access to finance and market mechanisms for technology SMEs and innovative agribusiness value chains. The program has global components, but its main focus is on Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA). 

• The Climate Technology Program (CTP) aims to create a network of Climate Innovation Centers (CICs) to accelerate the development, deployment, and transfer of locally relevant climate technologies. CICs help developing countries innovate technologies and business models that meet local needs and as a result, address climate change mitigation and adaptation issues, as well as meet their “Green Growth” objectives by supporting domestic climate and clean technology sectors for economic development, competitiveness and job creation Services offered by the CICs include financing, technical assistance, market information, policy advice and capacity building. CICs are expected to contribute over 70 innovative climate technology enterprises, generate over 20,000 direct and indirect jobs, and mitigate 1.5-2m tons of C02. A global network of CICs will facilitate and catalyze cross border, south-south, and north-south collaboration, market access and sharing of knowledge and contacts.

• The “Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC)”, helps growth oriented Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Caribbean region use small business incubation as a tool to help technology enabled start-up entrepreneurs and grow competitive industries. The capacity of incubator managers and policymakers to support MSME development is an area of focus, as is the special needs of Caribbean women entrepreneurs. The program will also provide seed funding to promising MSMEs to help them successfully scale their operations, in recognition of the fact that access to finance is an important barriers for these enterprises to succeed.

The infoDev team is led by the infoDev Program Manager and includes Program Coordinators (PC), Task Managers (TM) and core program teams. The Program Manager provides strategic guidance, makes linkages between programs and and oversees relations with donors, the Bank and IFC, and other partners. PCs are responsible for overall coordination and delivery of infoDev’s work program, while TMs manage individual projects, activities and thematic areas. infoDev is assisted by a core team handling areas such as operations, communications, resource management and administration.

Duties and accountabilities

Business incubation is at the heart of all of infoDev’s programs, with activities spanning Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. For that reason, infoDev is seeking to hire a Program Officer (Business Incubation) to design, lead and advise on numerous projects and programs that use incubation to enable the start-up and growth of innovative enterprises in devloping countries.  The Program Officer will report on day to day basis to the PCs who lead our major programs listed above.  The key focus of all of the Officer’s business incubation efforts will be to find and nurture growth-oriented innovative entrepreneurs and start-ups in developing countries, provide them with the resources and tools they need to  grow, help them gain appropriate financing, mentoring and technical assistance, and ensure that the business incubators infoDev works with are well run and well equipped to help us meet this goal. 
Specifically, the Program Officer will be tasked to:
• Task manage the implementation of a range of on-going and future business incubation projects which infoDev is responsible for under the programs listed above. This will include, inter alia:
 Designing, implementing and overseeing  incubation projects and activities, in line with the results agreed with infoDev’s donors, and according to the fiduciary requirements of the World Bank, the implementing capacity of the client countries, and the specific needs of  local business communities. This includes scoping and feasibility analyses, efficient and cost-effective project planning and implementation, regular interaction and engagement with a range of local stakeholders in the client countries from the public, private and NGO communities, and regular briefings to Bank and IFC colleagues to ensure that these incubation projects support and are consistent with larger World Bank and IFC private sector development goals; 
• Providing detailed advice and hands-on technical assistance to a range of Bank/IFC colleagues, client countries and other relevant stakeholders on incubation good practices, international trends and developments for assisting small business entrepreneurs, and regularly keeping pace with innovative new approaches to assisting SMEs, start-ups, entrepreneurs and innovators in the developing world;
• Forming part of the team that designs and implements new thematic accelerators and incubators, such as mobile applications labs, agriculture innovation and entrepreneurship centers and climate innovation centers;
• Liasing regularly with infoDev’s network of business incubator specialists and regional network facilitators, updating them on developments as well as supporting their efforts and duties;
• Understanding and providing practical input on the link between infoDev’s activities to help incubators, entrepreneurs and innovators and the need for sustainable business enabling environments as well as appropriate financing for these entities;
• Assisting, engaging and regularly consulting infoDev’s large grassroots incubator network and innovation community to share information, encourage exchanges, co-create innovative solutions, and foster strong relations;
• Working with the PCs and other infoDev team members to ensure that infoDev’s business incubator, SME/start-up/entrepreneur support activities and other related initiatives are well known within the World Bank, IFC and in the international community;
• Contributing to new product development in this space for infoDev, assisting with developing and executing a fundraising strategy for infoDev’s continued work in accelerating early-stage enterprises, and forging links wherever necessary to partners around the world.

Selection criteria

At least a masters degree in business administration or similar discipline and minimum five years of related Bank and/or external experience. Experience in the World Bank would be a plus;
 Demonstrated knowledge of business incubation, business acceleration, and other relevant means of enabling early-stage enterprises to start and grow;
 Knowledge of innovation support systems, including relevant actors such as financiers, R&D and/or university institutions, government ministries, and other local and international organizations and actors;
 Demonstrated understanding of World Bank Group instruments and operations, including the relevant guidelines, procedures and fiduciary requirements will be a plus;
 Excellent project management skills and track record in successfully planning and executing projects in developing countries or emerging markets;
 Excellent communication skills, including the ability to communicate effectively with staff, clients and partners at junior and senior levels;
 Excellent writing skills and command of the English language. Additional language skills (particularly French, Russian, Spanish or Arabic) would be a plus; 
 Ability to work independently, willingness to learn, a positive, energetic and ambitious work attitude, and aptitude to work within a team environment; 
 Results orientation; and
 Capacity to manage multiple complex tasks in parallel.

The World Bank Group is committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, nationality, culture and educational background.  Individuals with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply.  All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

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