Portfolio Manager, Small and Growing Businesses Portfolio

 Portfolio Manager, Small and Growing Businesses Portfolio
EWB Canada is seeking a Portfolio Manager to help build and manage our portfolio of
high impact early-stage ventures across Sub-Saharan Africa.
This position is your opportunity to help address a very tough and meaningful
challenge: creating a system wide shift that will enable Small and Growing Businesses in
Sub-Saharan Africa to access the financing, business development and range of other
services they need to succeed, sustainably, and at scale.
Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB) invests in leaders and innovations to create a world
free from poverty and inequitable development: a world of dignity and equal opportunity
where everyone is able to realize their full potential.
EWB raises charitable donations that allow us to make long-term, unrestricted investments whether grant, debt or equity seed funding - in early stage, high social impact ventures across
Sub-Saharan Africa. We work with innovative people and organizations that are relentlessly in
pursuit of scalable solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems.
We fund early stage social ventures, specifically focused on building the ecosystem of services
to Small and Growing Businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa. We presently work with ventures that
are innovating on one of the following three areas: 1) financing models, 2) technical assistance
provision and 3) distribution strategies for products and services. Our 2015 portfolio currently
includes 14 ventures.
The Opportunity:
As Portfolio Manager, you will play a key role in the success, development and impact of EWB’s
portfolio across Sub-Saharan Africa. This is a senior level role within EWB’s Strategy &
Investment team. In this role, you will provide management support to existing ventures by
building relationships, identifying and diagnosing key challenges and mobilizing both
financial & non-financial resources, while growing the portfolio by identifying and developing
a strong pipeline of investment opportunities.
In addition, you will 1) play a key role in shaping EWB’s portfolio strategy and influence across
Africa and across relevant sectors (ex. agriculture, impact investing) broadly, and 2) provide
direct support to the ventures within it as they work to bring about game changing systemic
innovations. The Portfolio Manager reports to the VP Strategy & Investment.
Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
1 1. Source and cultivate a pipeline of dynamic, systemically impactful venture investment
a. Pipeline: Develop the necessary network of relationships to create a dynamic,
growing pipeline of ventures for EWB to consider working with.
b. Lead due diligence and systemic impact assessment: Based on the pipeline of
potential investees, create rigorous screening and due diligence procedures,
in addition to thorough structuring and execution of investments.
c. Knowledge capture: Consistently maintain detailed documentation –
including knowledge capture and investment briefs – for EWB’s Strategy &
Investment Team, Advisory Council and Board of Directors.
2. Develop and implement a venture management and acceleration strategy.
a. Design and implement tailored venture support - including assisting ventures
in diagnosing and solving challenges.
b. Design and evaluate key metrics to measure the overall impact - both social
and financial of the ventures’ business models.
c. Enable growth of our impact by developing long-term relationships &
partnerships with external stakeholders including funders, advisors, thought
leaders, sector and functional experts to provide further support on both
portfolio strategy and venture growth. EWB is not about going it alone. You
will have a strong mandate to build a shared vision with sector partners,
participate in existing strategic discussions, and positioning EWB as an
influential actor in the ecosystem.
You will have a critical role in shaping how to strategically channel EWB’s untied funding and
extraordinary people resources. Day-to-day you will make decisions about how to increase
EWB’s portfolio size, depth, and influence, and provide strategic support and mentorship to a
set of ventures that seek to transform the systems in which they work.
The Candidate
Our work is geared towards trying to change the world in sustainable and systemic ways - so
no doubt we are looking for someone with the drive and ambition to attempt great and
difficult things. You should be someone who likes to get into the weeds - literally getting mud
on your boots - while also being able to see in systems and represent EWB at sector level
If you’ve made it this far, you should know that core to this opportunity is a belief in the value
of challenging the status quo and finding and proving better ways to address urgent human
needs. EWB has 6 core values that we come back to time and again - they should resonate
1. Address root causes for impact: We start by clearly defining the impact that we
want to help bring about, and then think through the complexity of social change so
that our actions target root causes.
2 2. Dream big and work hard: We strive to make the impossible possible, through a
combination imagination, hard work, innovation, passion and a willingness to take
3. Ask tough questions: We only improve when we ask tough questions about our
past, present, and future work to determine if we are having the maximum impact.
4. Invest in people: We know that true change will require a movement of socially
minded leaders. We support and invest in each other to help build this movement
5. Courageously commit: All change begins within ourselves. We commit to personal
growth through regular self-assessment and have the courage to ask for feedback.
6. Strive for humility: We learn by being open - open to new ideas from anywhere and
anyone, and open about our mistakes.
Our ideal candidate will have the following qualifications:
Demonstrate accomplishment through some of the following experiences:
o 7-10 years of social impact investing experience, including financial and
operational due diligence. Understanding of early stage businesses, inclusive
markets and entrepreneurs is a plus.
o Driving or enabling systemic change at multiple levels/scales of a system that
can be drawn on without being stuck with ‘one model’ of how to do things.
o A proven track record of delivering operational and management support to
companies or social businesses.
o Significant experience working on complex problems in Africa. Prior work in a
social enterprise or venture incubator an asset.
o Strong financial modeling and business analysis skills as demonstrated by
prior experience is required.
Deep theoretical and practical understanding of systemic innovation: the many forms
it can take, the critical success factors and especially management and leadership
approaches to driving towards it.
Solid operational skills, problem solving and project management skills, including
ability to work and deliver projects independently, proactively and under pressure.
Leadership and management style that allows for collaborative setting of challenging
performance goals for ventures, while providing valuable coaching and support along
the pathway to achieving those goals.
Outstanding relationship building and communication skills - quickly able to build
trust and credibility with a range of stakeholders, including finding solutions when
conflict arises and easy answers aren’t possible.
Monitoring & Evaluation experience an asset.
The position will be based in Ghana, Uganda or Kenya, and will require regular travel
throughout Africa and occasional travel to North America.
3 Travel:
There will be a need for extensive travel throughout Africa to visit ventures, attend various
strategic planning meetings, board meetings and retreats. Occasional travel to North America
will also likely be required.
This will be a senior level position. In addition to a competitive salary, you can expect us to
invest considerably in your professional growth by offering a professional development fund.
All employees are provided with a health/dental benefit package and 3 weeks of vacation
each year.
Timing and Process:
Ideally the candidate will start in late April May 2015, but we will privilege the right candidate.
Applications will close April 13, 2015. To apply, please submit a CV and cover letter, in PDF
form, by e-mail to [email protected] Include the job title in the subject line. If you have any
questions, please direct them to James Haga ([email protected]).
Additional Info on EWB’s Model:
Our model of support and incubation is built around the following:
1. Early-stage, unrestricted seed funding
We make the bets other investors aren’t willing to make. We provide unrestricted
investments - whether grant, debt or equity seed funding - between $10k and $100k
annually for 3-5 years to social businesses with high social impact potential. We seek
avant-garde ideas and social entrepreneurs that have the potential to be disruptive
and connect them with the resources they need to be successful. We identify
innovators who are ambitiously focused on creating social change and are ready to
iterate on good ideas to land on the truly transformative ones.
2. Exceptional talent
The most in-demand resource for early stage social businesses is exceptional, highly
committed talent - the people that will grow the business to financial viability while
providing social value. EWB has a well tested, proven model of recruiting, training,
motivating and enabling highly effective volunteers.
3. Whole system approach
EWB takes a whole of system approach to creating change. Practically this means that
we are connecting businesses to mentors and investors and creating a collaborative
learning environment between EWB ventures and their institutional partners. The
result will be a system change that will enable social businesses to thrive across Africa.
4 4. Long-term support
EWB works with a venture over multiple years, typically 3-5. We offer steady resources
and strategic support over a longer period, enabling ongoing innovation, progressive
iteration and the consistency of support needed for ventures to remain focused on
social impact, while remaining focused on supporting ventures to achieve scale. We
allow strong pivots by being committed to the entrepreneurs first.
Overall, EWB’s Strategy & Investment team will offer the following services to our ventures:
1. High touch strategic advisory services
Tailored venture support provided by EWB’s Portfolio team.
2. Talent investment vis-a-vis EWB Fellows
High-value talent is a major value-add for early stage ventures – EWB recruits,
trains and places Fellows with our ventures for 12-24 month placements.
3. De-risking innovation with early stage capital
Unrestricted, risk-tolerant capital is rarely available for social entrepreneurs in
the earliest stages of enterprise development. EWB provides grant, debt or
equity funding between $10k and $100k annually for 3-5 years to social
businesses with high social impact potential.
4. Facilitate access to tailored mentorship program & advisors
For social entrepreneurs that are working on immensely difficult challenges
often in isolation, good mentorship can be a transformative experience. We
have created a mentorship program that matches our ventures with
individuals that will bring specific and much needed perspective to their work.
5. Facilitate access to a range of high-demand technical assistance
We negotiate relationships with a range of valuable service providers,
including legal support, taxation advice, insurance, financial management,
market research and talent management. EWB facilitates access to these types
of services either through pro-bono service arrangements, negotiating
reduced rates for our ventures or simply undertaking due diligence on a range
of high quality providers for ventures to select from.
6. Peer entrepreneur/leaders network & learning collaboration
We have created a community of practice through our venture leaders and
other partners, enabling our ventures to access a stellar peer network of social
entrepreneurs to help problem solve on specific issues.
7. Unrelenting promotion of ventures to prospective partners & investors/funders
We are constantly expanding our networks, looking for interesting
opportunities and overlap, and making valuable introductions for our