Innovation and Competitions Lead

Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF)

Job Summary

We are looking for an entrepreneurial and experienced Innovations and Program Management expert who will be responsible for stimulating an environment for innovation and entrepreneurship while providing strategic leadership in program implementation that will see AECF increase its value proposition to its partners.

  • Minimum Qualification: Bachelor
  • Experience Level: Senior level
  • Experience Length: 8 years

Job Description/Requirements

About Us
The AECF is a leading development finance organization that supports businesses to innovate, create jobs and leverage investments to build resilience and sustainable incomes for rural and marginalized communities in Africa.

The AECF’ s goal is to bridge the investment gap between early-stage enterprise and business maturity for entrepreneurs serving the poorest communities. We provide patient capital to new and innovative business models in the agribusiness and renewable energy sectors across Sub-Saharan Africa through various financing instruments. To supplement finance, we also offer advisory services, investment support, and knowledge and insights.

The AECF has successfully implemented programmes across 26 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, supporting over 343 enterprises, raising US$392 million in funding for programmes, that have created 25,000 jobs and impacted 28 million lives.

The AECF is headquartered in Kenya, with offices in Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania.

The Role
The AECF is in the first year of the 2021-2025 refreshed strategy, The Building of Resilience. To operationalize the strategy, we are seeking to catalyze innovations that accelerate Africa’s path to universal access to energy, address the challenges in the agribusiness sector, and present solutions for the climate change crisis facing the globe.

We are looking for an entrepreneurial and experienced Innovations and Program Management expert who will be responsible for stimulating an environment for innovation and entrepreneurship while providing strategic leadership in program implementation that will see AECF increase its value proposition to its partners.

The individual will be accountable for the leadership and strategic direction and oversight of the operation, management, and delivery of the AECF innovation and competition functions. Further the individual will identify, lead, and manage innovative approaches to business challenges and work with teams across the AECF to deliver products and services that generate impact and revenue for purposes of realizing AECF’s purpose.

The Role
The individual will ensure that insights and analysis of the environment in which the AECF currently operates and may operate in the future are brought into consideration and alongside investees and employees experiences, used effectively to help shape the offer to the market by AECF.

The individual will also provide strategic leadership on the AECF competition process, tapping into his/her project management skills to support the program teams in the implementation of the inception phase for new programs.

Location: This position is based in Nairobi, Kenya
Reporting to: The Chief of Programs & Innovation

Key Responsibilities:
•    Develop and deliver an innovation strategy that builds upon the foundations of existing programs, relationships with donors, and investees across sub-Saharan Africa and identify new opportunities to work in partnership that furthers the social impact and sustainability ambitions of the AECF.
•    Enable innovation at the AECF and be at the center of driving an innovation culture across sub-Sahara Africa.
•    Responsible for implementing strategic and special projects to support business growth, team effectiveness, and stakeholder satisfaction – including AECF Innovation Lab.
•    Responsible for overseeing the incubation process for AECF Innovation Lab and the establishment of a clear rhythm of business that assures the success of supported innovations and entrepreneurs.
•    Responsible for overseeing the inception phase of AECF programs, leading cross-functional teams to deliver on market assessment, program validation, marketing, and competition as well as conducting due diligence leading to the development of investment decision documents
for presentation to the investment committee and finally, contracting of companies.
•    Provide leadership and oversight for all AECF competition activities, ensuring exceptional delivery to the satisfaction of all stakeholders and meeting set timelines.
•    Bring to the team a strong sense of project-management rigor, leadership, organization, and communication with the ability to accommodate frequently changing strategies and decisions proactively and reactively
•    Play an active role in the development and implementation of tools and resources to improve efficiency across all AECF’s processes, and programs.
•    Engage the business, acting as a point of contact forcross-functional collaboration; coach the cross-functional project teams on the business perspective and strategic imperatives to inform key program or project decisions.
•    Develop the cross-functional plan and direct cross-organizational teams through project lifecycle from ideation to project execution and implementation,including executive approval.
•    Provide clear guidance on routes to the funding of designed programs, projects, or products.
•    Integrate and implement business transformational initiatives for AECF.
•    Recommend and prioritize tactical and strategic projects to deliver ongoing sustainable business improvements.
•    Manage and direct overall project team activities and monitor progress, including project health, capacity planning, developing and mentoring staff, and internal process improvement activity.

The Candidate
Suitable candidates should:

•    Hold a Master’s degree or an MBA in any stream.
•    Hold a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration,Social Sciences, Finance, or related fields.
•    Have eight (8) years experience and a minimum of three(3) years in a management role in strategy development,program management, change management, or project management.
•    Be an independent self-starter with the ability to handle multiple priorities and produce successful results in afast-paced environment.
•    Be an innovator who seeks and develops ideas and handles innovation projects.
•    Be a creative person, an inventor, or a project manager.
•    Be an enabler who creates structures and processes so that innovation can happen in organizations.
•    Be a promoter, especially in the field of culture, wheres/he works to persuade and disseminate the necessary knowledge of innovation. In the role of an enabler, s/he can also be a service provider for innovators, for example by taking care of patents or subsidies.
•    Have an understanding and capacity for systems thinking, with the capacity to develop innovative policies,systems, and new eco-systems.
•    Be a critical thinker: can understand all the information available, tie it all together, and speak to it clearly and concisely.
•    Have an accomplishment record of delivery in a complex environment
•    Be highly organized and detail-oriented.
•    Posses excellent verbal and written communication skills with the ability to present information in differing degrees of detail and form depending on the audience.

How to Apply
The AECF is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All applicants will be considered based on merit without regard to race, sex, colour, national origin, religion, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

If you believe, you can clearly demonstrate your abilities to meet the relevant criteria for the role, register and apply on:

To be considered, your application must be received by:20th October 2021.

For more information, please visit our careers page on

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

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Samuel Hall
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KSh Confidential
| Full Time |
KSh Confidential