Job Title: Chief of Party I for Closing the Opportunity Gap Project
Reports To: LACRO Deputy Regional Director for Program Quality
Country/Location: TBD – Central American Country
Background Closing the Gap:
CRS is launching a blended financing initiative, Closing the Gap, to address financing and credit for the “missing middle” – micro, small and medium sized (MSME) producer and agricultural enterprises in Central America. This initiative aims to build the capacity of MSMEs, generate jobs, raise rural incomes and bolster community resilience to climate change. The financing initiative will initially target business opportunities in Central America and in future years expand to support opportunities in Africa.
The initiative is designed to identify and strengthen MSMEs along agriculture value chains, using a combination of technical support, business development services (BDS) and investment. Target clients include agricultural MSMEs, farmer co-operatives, farmer groups and special attention will be given to support youth engagement. An 18-month pilot will lead to the design and testing of the key components of the MSME blended finance vehicle and the technical assistance mechanism.
As Chief of Party you will provide leadership and overall management of the Closing the Gap initiative to serve the poor and vulnerable. Your leadership, management and technical knowledge will ensure the delivery of high-quality design, support the identification of candidate MSMEs, drive the testing and roll-out of a blended finance and technical assistance mechanism and, finally, contribute to CRS´ agency learning.
- Lead the design process for the Closing the Gap blended finance initiative, including the development and inclusion of a technical assistance mechanism, in collaboration with HQ, country and regional teams, and financial vehicle consultants.
- Lead a multi-actor design process to develop a core set of criteria and tools for the identification, evaluation, and selection of a diverse pipeline of SME investment opportunities.
- Identify implementing partners and potential sources of philanthropic capital for the expansion of technical services in interested and affiliated countries and support related business development processes.
- Coordinate relationships between various partners and supporting organizations, including CRS headquarter, the CRS project teams, advisors and consultants, donors, and investors.
- Manage resources to create an optimal ecosystem of partners for the success of the initiative, strategically linking the interests of governments, donors, financial institutions and other entities interested in blended financing vehicles and focusing on the use of these multi-sectoral funds for the sustainability of the initiative.
- Support the different countries in the selection and hiring processes of personnel related to the initiative. Provide coaching support to these personnel including one direct report.
- Lead the development of learning – identify opportunities for learning, research and publications and implementation of MEAL policy. Facilitate the dissemination of promising practices and lessons learned to contribute to the agency knowledge management agenda. Ensure integration of innovations and best practices.
- Represent CRS in international impact investing and agricultural finance fora as well as relevant trade and agribusiness fairs and conferences.
- Lead technical input for investor materials as requested (e.g. business plans, financial models, teasers, slide decks)
- Represent CRS and coordinate site visits for investment partners and other stakeholders.
- Design and implement the initiative in accordance with donor and investor expectations including the generation of timely and impactful results, and efficient budget management and reporting.
- Ensure design aligns well with the principles of the Closing the Gap initiative and is built to have a lasting impact on the livelihoods of the rural poor.
Background, Experience and Requirements:
Education and Experience
- Highly qualified professional with 7 years’ experience leading market-based agro-enterprise initiatives in resource-challenged contexts.
- Significant experience working with farmer organizations, rural enterprises and leading value chain work in diverse agroecological contexts.
- Minimum of ten years of work experience in development, including technical advisory roles, project and budget management, and the facilitation of multi-stakeholder processes.
- History of contributing significantly to successful fundraising efforts (business development), capturing funding from public and/or private donors.
- Proven advocacy track record with government, donors, investors and other actors.
- Experience monitoring and evaluating initiatives, and then analyzing and presenting the data/evidence/information in a convincing fashion to achieve clear advocacy outcomes.
- Demonstrable experience representing an organization at the highest levels in meetings with donors, government, international NGOs, local partners, ecclesial and civil society.
- Experience managing and/or preparing budgets and basic understanding of finance.
- Mastery of MS Office packages (Excel, Word, Power Point), Online Conference applications and solid understanding of information systems and budget management and knowledge sharing networks.
- Innovative, visionary, and an ability to think at scale.
- Persuasive communicator with the ability to influence and secure agreements from partners and people in the public and private sector who are not under your direct supervision within a cross-cultural context.
- Excellent strategic, analytical, organizational and systemic thinking skills that can be mobilized to take correct decisions.
- Proactive, resourceful and results-oriented
- Excellent written and oral communication skills, including research publications.
- Excellent presentation, facilitation, training and negotiation skills.
- REQUIRED LANGUAGES:PROFESSIONAL FLUENCY IN BOTH WRITTEN AND SPOKEN ENGLISH AND SPANISH
Availability to travel at least 50% of time within Central America and the Caribbean
Key Working Relationships:
SUPERVISION: LACRO DRDPQ
INTERNAL: CRS ADVISORS FOR AGRICULTURAL LIVELIHOODS AT THE GLOBAL, REGIONAL AND CP LEVEL AS APPROPRIATE; IMPACT INVESTING TEAM
EXTERNAL: FINANCIAL FUND CONSULTANT/MANAGER, COOPERATIVES AND SMES
Institutional Competencies (for all CRS Staff):
These are rooted in the vision, values and guiding principles of CRS and used by each staff member to fulfill their responsibilities and achieve the desired result.
- Strategic Mentality
- Accountability and Stewardship
- Build relationships
- Develop Talent
- Constant Improvement and Innovation
- DISCLAIMER:THIS JOB DESCRIPTION IS NOT AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST OF THE SKILL, EFFORT, OBLIGATIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES RELATED TO THE POSITION.
The CRS talent acquisition procedures reflect our commitment to protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse and exploitation.
CRS is an Equal Opportunity Employer