Acumen is looking to fill a part time, 18-month contract to study current entrepreneurial approaches to workforce development in Sub-Saharan Africa, the gaps, an approach we could take, and the implications for due diligence and investment choices. This role is based in Lagos and the office operates under a hybrid working model.
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 help people living in poverty to transform their lives. To date, Acumen has positively impacted over 500 million lives by investing $154M in 167 innovative, early-stage companies in Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and the United States. But investment isnât just about capital, weâve been investing in relationships for years, connecting with emerging leaders in their own countries and engaging them in extended collective dialogue, moral inquiry, and skill building.
About the challenge
We have been working in East and West Africa for almost two decades, investing primarily in the areas of off-grid energy access solutions and organizations committed to growing the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Although Acumen has invested in workforce development in other geographies (India, America), it has not been a primary focus in Africaâ¦ until now.
Africa is a young continent. More than half the population is under age 35. Their unemployment levels are high. Lack of decent jobs is at the core of high poverty levels, regional inequality, and social and political unrest. The entrepreneurial ecosystem is not doing enough to address the jobs crisis and the cost of business remains high (high tariffs, bureaucracy, limited patient capital).
Acumen received a grant to better research and understand this issue and to invest in business models that are committed to providing pathways to decent work for disadvantaged groups: youth and women. This is a part time, 18-month contract (through April 2025). The scope of accountabilities include:Brief the team on the current state of entrepreneurial-led initiatives to improve the quality and quantity of jobs available for young Africans. Support the WA team in understanding youth and gender employment considerations during the diligence phase of investing, Based on needs identified by companies, determine technical assistance support needed and potential partners who could implement it. Manage the process of design and execution. Analyze insights from the Economic Impact studies that Acumen is conducting in partnership with an outside vendor, and design 1-2 specific deep dive impact studies Identify key insights questions to explore with new and existing investees, test the hypotheses with data and analysis. Analyze data collected across the EA and WA portfolios on jobs created and improved Additionally, Acumen will also need support for additional workforce insights commitments across our Africa and India portfolios.
Skills and qualificationsA minimum of 10 years of experience, with at least half in workforce development and research and knowledge of impact measurement,investing and due diligence Can research and report on trends and gaps in the market Can communicate complex ideas clearly and simply and never loses sight of the âso whatâ... So what does that mean for Acumen? What should we do with this information? Where can Acumen be instrumental? Facility with data Organized and able to set up efficient systems for managing data, processes and information.Â Understanding of emerging markets and experience in Sub-Saharan Africa Excellent project management skills and ability to collaborate with people across geographies (US, Europe, Africa, & Asia), toward a shared aim. Attention to detail without losing sight of the bigger picture. Able to prioritize, execute, and meet deadlines. Self reflective and aligned with Acumen values Authorized to work in Nigeria. Able to work in the Lagos office.
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