Acumen is looking for a regional Director to lead our work in West Africa. We’re looking for a multi-disciplinary leader with investing experience, strong strategic and general management capabilities, and a proven commitment to tackling problems of poverty. The right candidate is bold, collaborative, and excels at translating vision to action.
Acumen is changing the way the world tackles poverty by investing in companies, leaders and ideas. We invest patient capital in businesses whose products and services are enabling the poor to transform their lives. To date, Acumen has positively impacted 309 million lives by investing $137M in 139 innovative, early-stage companies in Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and the United States. We know capital alone won’t solve problems of poverty, which is why we built Acumen Academy, a global community of emerging leaders with the knowledge, skills and determination to create a more inclusive world.
Acumen West Africa
Since 2012, Acumen West Africa has invested philanthropically-backed capital in 10 companies reaching more than 17 million people. In 2018, we launched the West Africa Acumen Academy Fellows program to equip change agents with the skills of moral leadership and enhance their ability to influence people and systems. Together, the portfolio companies and Fellows are impact-first leadership in the region.
The Director will drive the next phase of impact for Acumen West Africa, for our investments and Academy programs. On investments, the Director will refine our regional strategy, raise mission-aligned funds, add value to existing portfolio companies to help them achieve social and financial objectives, and lead a small investment team. With the Acumen Academy programs, the Director will oversee the delivery of the West Africa Fellows program and partner with the global Academy team to grow the impact of our moral leadership programs. S/he will also serve as lead voice for Acumen in West Africa, representing the organization the local impact investing ecosystem, sharing insights from our work in the region, and engaging a community of stakeholders.
Investing as a means to tackling problems of poverty:
- Refine the Acumen West Africa investment strategy, ensuring that patient capital is deployed to companies that the capital markets overlook or underserve, in service of creating positive, sustaining impact for low income populations
- Identify and close new, mission-aligned funds, primarily from philanthropic and concessionary capital providers; manage funder relationships and reporting, in partnership with Business Development counterparts
- Direct management of existing portfolio; collectively, Director and team serve on company boards, manage allocation of technical assistance funds, pro bono resourcing and impact management support to drive creation of social value and enterprise growth
- Direct portfolio expansion, providing guidance and direction to the investment team on sourcing, screening, diligence, structuring and execution of deals
- Track and report social, financial, and operational metrics of portfolio companies
- Direct capturing and sharing of insights from West Africa with support from global Insights team
Develop leaders to build a more just, inclusive, sustainable world:
- Oversee execution of Acumen West Africa Fellows program to ensure consistent, quality delivery
- Partner with global Acumen Academy team to deliver additional regionally relevant programming, which may include accelerators, online courses, additional ‘fellowship’ programs
- Support relationship management with funders
Amplify Acumen’s voice in West Africa, in service of elevating impact-first capital and the moral leadership skills we are cultivating:
- Build relationships and partnerships in West Africa with policy makers, corporations, business/development leaders, and media to garner support, strengthen our influence, and raise funds
- Oversee different community engagement activities with Fellows, funders and supporters
Maintain an operationally self-reliant regional office with a strong culture and sound management systems.
- Mentor and develop the Acumen West Africa team; support Lagos-based members of global Acumen team
- Ensure audit-ready controls, processes, and documentation for all West Africa grant funding pools are in place, and team is aware and in compliance
- Develop the annual goals and budget, in partnership with Acumen global team
- Ensure compliance with Nigerian laws/regulations and global Acumen policies, and ensure expenditures within approved budgets
Skills and Qualifications:
- 15 years of experience in investing, strategy, finance, fund raising, and operations. Very strong investment strategy and business analysis skills required.
- Proven ability to identify opportunities, develop strategy, mobilize resources, and execute, iterating and adapting as needed
- Demonstrated fundraising experience (closing or co-leading)
- Exceptional collaboration skills; ability to develop and achieve shared objectives with investees, advisors, funders, team members, and Acumen’s senior leadership team
- Demonstrated accomplishment in building, managing, and motivating teams
- Ability to create clarity in the face of ambiguity
- Excellent written and oral communication skills
- Graduate degree (MBA preferred)
- Self-reflective and aligned with Acumen values
- Extensive experience in West Africa
- Authorized to work in Nigeria
Candidates are encouraged to apply early, as applications will be reviewed, and interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis.