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Fellow – Inclusive Business Plan for Commercial Agriculture Program at TechnoServe

Location: Addis Ababa
Job Category: Volunteer

Job Description

Fellow Role: Inclusive Business Plan for Commercial Agriculture Program

Role:  Inclusive Business Plan Fellowship with Commercial Agriculture program

Location:  Variable, agribusiness location/s in Africa and Asia

Timing:  Three months (min) 12 months (max), starting in October/November

Language:  English

Background and Project Purpose

TechnoServe (www.technoserve.org) is a non-profit, economic development organisation with sustained commitment to its 50-year old founding mission to work with enterprising men and women in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses, and industries. We are business specialists assisting farmers and other entrepreneurs in 29 countries, increasing their access to information, capital, and markets. The increased income our clients derive enhances resilience and prosperity for their families and communities. In 2021, TechnoServe assisted 407,000 farmers and businesses resulting in $250 million of new revenues and wages for participating farmers, businesses, and employees.

TechnoServe was competitively selected by the UK government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) to lead part of a five-year programme – Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusinesses (CASA) – focused on driving catalytic change in how investors view and invest in agribusinesses operating in supply chains with significant numbers of smallholder producers. CASA is focused on increasing economic opportunities for smallholder farmers by:

  • Enabling more smallholder farmers to engage with and trade into commercial markets;
  • Demonstrating the commercial viability of agribusinesses with significant smallholder supply chains and attracting more investment into these businesses;
  • Deepening the smallholder impact of investments made by development finance institutions and impact investors.

TechnoServe’s role on CASA is to establish and operate a £8 million Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) to support agribusinesses that have received development finance institution (DFI) or impact investor financing to extend and deepen their smallholder impact. The facility provides grants and technical assistance to agribusinesses that have received financing from a DFI (e.g., CDC, FMO) or an impact/patient capital investor (e.g., Dob Equity, Barak Fund) for projects which will increase the volumes of purchases from smallholders and bring new smallholders into business supply chains. CASA TAF’s aim is to increase the development impact of individual deals and help build an evidence base of the potential development returns from agribusiness investments that can be used to raise expectations of investors from future deals. CASA TAF has the potential to re-define the role that private investments in agriculture can play towards driving development impact for millions of smallholder producers across the globe. Over 5 years, our objective is to work with 35 agribusinesses to increase sales and productivity of over 100,000 smallholders, and increase jobs and rural income generation opportunities.

During implementation, CASA TAF selects agribusiness investments within the portfolios of investor partners that have potential and appetite for deeper smallholder impact.  The lynchpin to our approach is the Inclusive Business Plan (IBP). The IBP maps out an inclusive business model and package of technical assistance (TA) that CASA TAF provides to introduce the model and achieve commercial and impact results. The IBP process is a critical step to align on a vision and a plan as well as ensure commitment across the principal stakeholders. Once the IBP has been approved, the CASA TAF team oversees targeted TA packages to the businesses, hand-in-hand with their staff.

Fellow Role

TechnoServe is seeking analysts to oversee the delivery of Inclusive Business Plans with agribusinesses in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. The Inclusive Business Plan is a roadmap for the agribusiness to deepen or broaden the impact of its supply chain and deliver shared value to smallholders and shareholders. The Inclusive Business Plan:

  • Diagnoses smallholder supply chain challenges;
  • Identifies or validates the inclusive business growth opportunity, aligned to commercial objectives;
  • Quantifies the opportunity in terms of commercial value for the business and impact for smallholder farmers;
  • Lays out a strategy to access the opportunity including investment and any partners required;
  • Maps out an implementation plan; a linked package of technical assistance and blended finance structure, including required partnerships to support the inclusive business model.

We are ultimately able to support clients from opportunity diagnostic through to delivery of inclusive sourcing opportunities.

The IBP Fellow will work with a CASA TAF inclusive business manager and agribusiness advisor to develop a relationship with fund managers and agribusinesses, including significant time spent in the field engaging with management and staff, as well as smallholder producers within and outside the business’ supply chain. This role offers an excellent opportunity to engage with management of a mid- to large sized agribusiness operating in rural Africa, as well as the smallholder suppliers to these businesses.

The Fellow will be able to draw on analytical resources from within the CASA TAF team as well as technical advisors from TechnoServe more broadly (e.g. gender, inputs, extension, access to finance etc). The manager will work very closely with CASA TAF management and experts in TechnoServe to understand existing frameworks and technical assistance approaches, and how they can be applied or adapted to deliver on the Inclusive Business Plans outlined above.

The IBP Fellow will be co-located at the agribusiness’ offices and collaborate closely with agribusiness teams on the ground. Specifically, the fellow will conduct activities such as, but not limited to:

  • Reviewing existing business plan materials to ensure robustness, challenging and working with the business to refine assumptions where appropriate
  • Supporting the client in further development of the business plan, including specification of critical components of the proposed solution (e.g. technology, services, etc.) and plan for implementation
  • Identifying any requirements for further investment or technical assistance from Technoserve or third parties to achieve commercial and impact objectives
  • Summarising the overall business plan as a comprehensive document for use in generating internal alignment around strategy, and in crowding in further funding from external funders

Illustrative Expected deliverables

  • To be defined in further detail with client, but expected to include:
    • Review of existing business plan assumptions
    • Inclusive Business Plan assessment materials
    • Inclusive Business Plan document (draft and Final typically ~50 pg Powerpoint deck backed by financial and impact model)
  • The project may also include other ad hoc deliverables, e.g., workshop materials on specific components of the scope

Skills & Requirements

  • Bachelor’s Degree with a minimum of three years of relevant work experience
  • Advanced degree in business management or other relevant field preferred
  • 3-4 years prior strategy consulting experience at a top-tier firm preferred
  • Experience in or passion for implementing field work in a developing country required
  • Experience working with corporations around shared value initiatives preferred
  • Proven analytical and quantitative skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication and interpersonal skills
  • Strong computer skills, including MS Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
  • Ability to work independently, flexibly, and responsively
  • Ability to adapt to changing working conditions
  • Ability to prioritize and meet deadlines

IMPORTANT NOTE:  To apply, you will complete the general TechnoServe Fellows Program application.  If we determine that your experience and availability match this particular project, we will alert you of that.  If not, you may be placed in the general pool of Fellow candidates and considered for other projects.  Please see below for details on the general TechnoServe Fellows Program application.

TechnoServe Fellows Program

TechnoServe is seeking qualified candidates to join our Fellows Program. Fellows take part in field-based projects ranging from 3 to 12 months in which they engage with entrepreneurs, industry experts, TechnoServe field staff, and other stakeholders. Please note, we review Fellow applications for our general candidate database on a rolling basis, and encourage qualified, enthusiastic candidates – especially those with French and/or Portuguese fluency – to apply.

While no two projects are exactly alike, typical Fellow roles often involve:

  • Assessing and identifying opportunities for markets, value chains, and industries
  • Crafting business and funding strategies in partnership with TechnoServe clients
  • Strengthening the operations and/or organizational capacity of TechnoServe clients
  • Designing innovative TechnoServe projects and proposals
  • Evaluating program impact

Other, less frequent projects include researching and writing communications materials, developing training curricula, and designing strategic research for our clients and partners.

Review our detailed sample project descriptions to understand the skills and capabilities most often required. View our Fellows FAQ page for more information.

This application is designed to give you the opportunity to tell us about your experience, skills, interests, and motivation to become a Fellow. We will use the information you provide to determine if a potential project match exists. Please complete the questions as accurately as possible to give yourself the best chance for consideration.

To be eligible for the Fellows Program, you must:

  • Have successfully completed your undergraduate studies at an accredited four-year program.
  • Have at least two to three years of professional, full-time work experience.
  • Be available to volunteer for a minimum of ten weeks on the ground.

When completing the application, please keep in mind:

  • You cannot change your responses once your application has been submitted. Please send an email to fellows@tns.org if your dates of availability or other required information changes.
  • You must attach a PDF document containing the responses to two essay questions before submitting your application. The essay questions will be provided within the application.
  • Your application will be reviewed within two weeks of submission. You will be contacted if your background is found to be a potential match with a Fellow role.

Please send questions about the Fellows Program or the application form to fellows@tns.org.


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