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Multiple Vacancies - Private Sector & Investment Team Opportunities with Clean Cooking Alliance

We are seeking:

  • Junior/mid-career:

    • Investment bankers

    • Management consultants

    • Private equity investment professionals

    • VC and impact investment professionals

    • Founders/management of early-stage ventures and social enterprises

    • Other strategic thinkers with relevant backgrounds and skill sets

We offer the opportunity to:

  • Join a dynamic, growing team that works hard but enjoys substantial flexibility and independence;
  • Be at the center of building a new global product category with dozens of high-growth, impact investment-backed ventures;
  • Leverage your business and finance skill set to generate meaningful social and environmental impact related to climate change and other ‘current’ issues.

The Challenge

  • One of the world’s most significant but least recognized issues, with a massive impact on public health; a major risk factor for disease and premature death in developing countries.
  • A meaningful contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in the ‘Global South’, with implications on the environment and global and local climate change.
  • A sector in which adamant perspectives are abundant, but that is in need of fresh ideas.
  • A longstanding challenge that the development sector has been unable to tackle, but one on which the private sector is increasingly poised to deliver progress through game-changing technology and business model innovation – similar to off-grid power in the past 10 years.
  • A market which is wide open, and for which the tangible opportunity is growing rapidly due to improving socioeconomic trends, financial inclusion, and advancing technologies.

Is this the sort of complex, ‘get your hands dirty’

challenge and opportunity that appeals to you?

 

Join us to help develop an industry that makes clean cooking

solutions affordable for hundreds of millions of people by 2030.

The Role(s)

We are looking to hire at various levels including Associate/Senior Associate, Manager/Senior Manager, and Associate Director/Director. We are primarily seeking candidates to be based in our Washington, DC headquarters. However, we are also open to candidates residing in the Netherlands or in other locations such as Nairobi, Kenya or Accra, Ghana – regions with active markets where the Alliance also has representation.

 

Key elements of all roles on the team are likely to include:

  • Evaluation of companies and identification of their requirements for support

    • A core component of our work is to engage with businesses in the clean cooking sector. We are looking for skilled professionals with a demonstrated ability to build strong, transparent and trusting relationships with businesses and other key stakeholders. The right candidate should have the competencies required to assess the financial viability and scalability, investment readiness, and operational feasibility of early-stage companies. You should be able to work closely with such companies to determine their gaps in terms of business strategy and market entry, sales and marketing, personnel management and development, supply chain management, R&D, financial management, and governance.

  • Design, execution, oversight and portfolio management of company TA project

    • Following the evaluation of companies and identification of their support requirements together with the management team, we will execute these projects – either by providing support to companies ourselves or with the assistance of our colleagues, or working with companies to identify and secure external TA resources (e.g. consulting firms), or structuring, deploying and managing grant funding.

    • Where third parties are relevant, we develop and manage tender processes for external providers, conduct contract negotiations, and support/monitor project implementation. After the TA has been completed, we are responsible for documenting the results and impact of the project e.g. in case studies which highlight successes, challenges, and learnings. We are also responsible for overseeing the collection of portfolio company KPIs which enable the Alliance and its funders to assess their impact.

  • Design, execution and oversight of investment initiatives

    • As mobilizing investment is a key pillar of the team’s priorities, we are involved in various investment initiatives. This includes developing relationships and further cementing our position as a trusted advisor to investors, from DFIs and commercial banks to impact fund managers and HNWIs/angel investors. We work with them to identify and assess pipeline opportunities, contribute insights and market intelligence to their due diligence processes, design and implement TA projects which align with their priorities, and measure social and environmental impacts of their portfolio companies.

  • Design and execution of market intelligence, convenings and other thought leadership initiatives

    • Given the Alliance’s role as a thought leader in private sector development and investment in the clean cooking sector, we contribute to various related internal and external thought leadership initiatives. This includes the development of white papers, reports, and other publications and tools, as well as the coordination of, or contribution to, Alliance-hosted events and roundtables. We also often represent the Alliance and the sector by participating in sector- or investment-related roundtables and conferences organized by industry associations, development partners, and governments around the world.

The Characteristics

 

We will consider experienced professionals with a variety of backgrounds and skill sets. Those most likely to pique our interest may include individuals with:

  • Entrepreneurial experience in early-stage businesses or project development in relevant industries and markets. Experience in Sub-Saharan Africa is a major plus.

  • Investment experience in venture capital, early-stage private equity, or private debt investments. Given the appeal of the clean cooking sector to impact investors, experience in social and environmental impact investments is a plus.

  • Consulting experience in management consulting or in-house corporate strategy roles. While skills and frameworks are likely applicable across industries and markets, specific experience in developing markets or the energy sector would be beneficial.

  • Policy experience including economic modeling and public policy advocacy. Government policies, and in particular fiscal policies such as taxes and tariffs, significantly impact business model viability and investment. Therefore, experience modeling economic, social, and environmental impacts or developing effective campaigns to communicate and advocate on such issues would be beneficial.

We seek applicants with the ability to evaluate companies, management teams, and business models and to identify, structure, manage and evaluate activities which help progress individual companies or the sector at large. We are interested in applicants who are able to analyze unit economics, assess growth plans and fundraising strategies, and evaluate leadership teams and business’ organizational strengths. We seek candidates with the ability to understand innovation as would a venture capitalist. One need not be a specialized technical expert, but should have the knowledge and experience to ask strategic questions to make informed judgments and to articulate their reasoning, about the viability of business models and the ability of a company to attract investment.

 

Candidates should also have an interest in the social and environmental impact dimensions of the products and business models we support, and the ability to liaise and collaborate with Evidence & Impact team colleagues within the Alliance and those in the sector at large. Our team plays a key ambassadorial role in advocating for commercial principles and approaches and is often relied upon to articulate the importance of private sector development and investment towards achieving impacts sustainably and at scale.

 

Most of all, we are seeking characteristics which are fundamental to success, including:

  • The ability to think strategically, and the willingness to exercise that ability regularly with enthusiasm so as to play an integral role in developing and implementing solutions to challenging problems;
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills and the ability to articulate complex concepts in a concise and compelling manner (given that various countries in which we work are francophone, French language proficiency is a plus);
  • Experience and wisdom, particularly in developing markets, that conveys credibility amongst stakeholders including senior management teams of companies, investors, government officials, and other ecosystem professionals;
  • A high degree of internal motivation and the ability to ‘self-start’ and work effectively in a global, often remote team spread across offices and time zones; and
  • Comfort with ambiguity and an interest to help shape an evolving and growing organization that seeks to play a key role in influencing the growth of a rapidly shifting sector.

Benefits & Compensation 

For full-time, benefit eligible employees, UNF offers an excellent range of benefits, including:

  • a choice between two health plans through UnitedHealthcare (PPO or HDHP with HSA)
  • dental insurance
  • vision insurance
  • flexible spending accounts
  • 403b retirement savings plan with a generous matching contribution
  • group term and supplemental life insurance
  • short-term disability
  • long-term disability
  • health club discounts
  • commuter subsidy
  • back-up care
  • employee assistance program

Additionally, all benefit eligible employees have 12 paid holidays, 20 vacation days, 10 sick days, 3 personal days, and 8 weeks of family leave care.

About the Clean Cooking Alliance

 

The Clean Cooking Alliance works with a global network of partners to build an inclusive industry that makes clean cooking accessible to the three billion people who live each day without it. Established in 2010, the Alliance is developing a pipeline of investable business, mobilizing investment, driving consumer demand, and fostering an enabling environment.

 

We seek to make high-impact clean cooking solutions desirable, affordable and accessible for consumers and viable for businesses to provide sustainably at scale. We support companies that design, manufacture, distribute, and retail biomass, ethanol, biogas, and LPG-based clean cooking solutions in addition to more efficient wood and charcoal cookstoves. We also support technology innovation with the aim to commercialize new technologies such as highly energy-efficient electric cookers for off-grid/mini-grid communities.

 

The Alliance is a small organization with a big name, presence and influence. We are headquartered in Washington, DC but work globally. In addition to our focus countries, we work with companies in markets around the world. We are nimble with approximately 35 staff but benefit from the resources and track record of our partners and our host, the United Nations Foundation (“UNF”), a globally-renowned organization with a $1 billion endowment, 350 staff and a $140 million per year budget.

 

Since our founding, we have advocated for clean cooking solutions on a global scale, led research studies on social and environmental impacts, and developed public goods such as the first international performance standards for biomass cookstoves. We also laid the foundation for private sector innovation by seeding companies with $8 million of grants and technical assistance (“TA”). Under new leadership, we are significantly growing our capacity to accelerate business and technology innovation, unlock commercial investment, and achieve market transformation based on sustainable, high-impact and scalable models to deliver clean cooking solutions.

 

We work closely with public, private, and non-profit sector partners through our four program teams:

  • Private Sector & Investment
  • Gender, Demand & Policy
  • Evidence & Impact
  • Global Communications & Partnerships

An integral extension of our program teams is a cadre of in-country representatives in select countries around the world. Our program teams are supported by development, finance and operations functions, as well as legal and back office support from the United Nations Foundation.

 

The Team

 

The Private Sector & Investment team has interrelated and mutually reinforcing goals: 1) building a pipeline of investment-ready businesses, and 2) mobilizing investment. We work closely with the Gender, Demand & Policy team, as driving consumer demand and improving the enabling environment are integral to business viability and investment. The work undertaken by both teams, collectively, includes:

  1. Advisory support to businesses and investors using Alliance staff resources
  2. Contract-based advisory support to businesses using external resources
  3. Targeted grant funding to businesses and others in alignment with advisory support
  4. Public goods such as consumer awareness/demand and social marketing initiatives, policy and regulatory decision-making tools and advisory support, market intelligence, private sector-oriented events, etc.

The Private Sector & Investment team is led by a Senior Director and currently consists of two Managers. As a result of new funding partnerships, we now seek to grow the team to a total of 6-8 professionals with additional hires at various levels. The work of this team will be complemented by that of our colleagues who comprise the Gender, Demand & Policy team.

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