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Ongoza (www.ongoza.org/) is a fast-growing non-profit Kenyan accelerator for high-potential, early-stage, young entrepreneurs. The Kenyan labor market currently has room for only 1 out of every 10 young people! Though at the start of their journeys, the entrepreneurs in our portfolio are building companies across technology, manufacturing, agribusiness, and professional services that will transform the economy and create significant employment opportunities. To facilitate their growth, we offer an integrated solution of tailored 1-on-1 consulting, peer community, and access to capital. The average growth of entrepreneurs in the portfolio is 116% in a year, with each adding up to 10 jobs.
As CEO, you’ll join the Ongoza team at a pivotal juncture. In 2018, we doubled our portfolio to 80 entrepreneurs across Nairobi and Nakuru. Over the next three years, we have ambitious plans to serve 350 entrepreneurs/year across five towns, creating thousands of jobs.
You’ll be at the forefront of a talented and ambitious team of 17 to define and execute Ongoza’s exponential growth strategy as we look to reach thousands of scalable businesses and position Ongoza as the leading technical assistance provider for early-stage SME and technology ventures in Kenya.
Strategy And Leadership
As our CEO, you will collaborate closely with team, Board, and external stakeholders to lead in the creation of our scale strategy and drive execution. You will also oversee partnership development and fundraising, building relationships with existing donors and cultivating new ones. In addition, you will build and coach a high-performing team to deliver this ambition, overseeing the culture and systems that will enable them to excel. Your role will include:
- Engage relevant stakeholders to refine and execute on our three-year strategic scale plan in line with Ongoza’s mission and core purpose.
- In collaboration with our Program and Data & Learning teams, play a key role in guiding the evolution of Ongoza’s business model to provide maximum value for our entrepreneurs.
- Continuously stay abreast of significant trends in the business development services (BDS) field, drawing insights to improve service delivery and market positioning.
- Guide the end-to-end development of Ongoza’s team, including talent strategy, recruitment, professional growth, and culture development.
- Work closely with the Board Chair to build, strengthen, and effectively leverage the Board of Directors to broaden Ongoza’s community and global influence.
Fundraising and External Representation
- In collaboration with the team and Board, define and implement a comprehensive (global and local) fundraising and marketing strategy targeting individuals, foundations, institutional foundations, and corporations to resource Ongoza’s growth.
- Lead on building, maintaining, and cultivating relationships with current and prospective stakeholders.
- Define a partnership that will help us achieve greatest leverage as we scale. Continuously network with a range of players and build creative and impactful partnerships in line with the strategy.
- Externally represent Ongoza and our work at conferences, events, and other such public forums.
- Leverage partners and Ongoza’s marketing team to oversee the development of a strong brand (via media, public relations, marketing, etc.) to better position Ongoza in the market and attract the right entrepreneurs.
Grow Our High-Performing Team
- Define and lead Ongoza’s overall talent strategy to deliver on organizational goals. Champion Ongoza’s values (below).
- Build and maintain a culture and working environment that attracts, retains, motivates, and develops a diverse staff of top quality professionals to deliver on our growth ambitions.
- Provide coaching, guidance, and accountability across the Ongoza team to enable them to deliver against organizational objectives.
- Ensure that appropriate management and administrative systems and procedures are put in place for monitoring and enhancing performance.
Oversee Financial Strategy
- Oversee the creation and management of a significant multi-year budget and financial model.
- Work with your leadership team to ensure that Ongoza’ resources are appropriately managed and strategically invested to most efficiently drive Ongoza’s effectiveness and growth.
- Lead Ongoza towards self-sustainability by exploring different revenue models and streams.
- Ensure compliance with all legal and statutory requirements and any agreed protocols.
Who We Are Looking For
We Imagine You Will Have The Following Experience
The right person will be a visionary leader, connector, and strategist, with 8+ years of dynamic experience and a proven track-record of leading and building strong teams to launch or scale a growing company. They will be passionate about Ongoza’s mission of supporting young entrepreneurs to transform the Kenyan economy and committed to Ongoza’s long-term growth. The role will report directly to the Board of Directors and include +/- 30% local and international travel.
- Proven track record driving results and change in a high-growth environment.
- Over 8 years of practical experience in start-up acceleration, SME development, financial services, consulting, business operations or marketing, with relevant graduate degree (MBA preferred). A high level of ability to understand and empathise with an entrepreneurs’ journey is strongly preferred.
- Demonstrated senior management or executive-level experience building, leading, and coaching teams of at least 10 people, directly and indirectly. Having managed managers and leading/managing across cultures is essential.
- Demonstrated experience leading the creation and implementation of successful organizational strategy.
- Proven experience building and leveraging partnerships to have greater impact.
- Experience working with and leveraging Boards preferred.
- Ability to wear many hats and juggle many priorities and projects at any given time.
- Demonstrated competence across all aspects of a growing business or non-profit, from strategy, to human capital development, to finance and operations, to fundraising, to sales and marketing.
- An in-depth understanding of the East African business and entrepreneurial development ecosystem preferred.
- While we’d love to hire a Kenyan CEO, we’re open to qualified and committed applicants from all nationalities. Foreigners will have to demonstrate a strong understanding of the African work and business culture, with Kenyan and East African experience preferred.
- You are a visionary and inspiring leader. You are capable of aligning others behind a bold vision and have proven results of how your strong determination to rally others has created impact in past roles. You are inclusive but decisive, thoughtfully engaging others before defining plans.
- You are a connector. You are a natural relationship builder with a proven ability to build and maintain impactful relationships that add value to the organization. You have excellent collaboration, communication, and presentation skills.
- You are a systems builder and/or optimizer. You are analytical and process-oriented, always looking for ways to improve systems and build structures around you.
- You make things happen. You have a proven track record of leading teams to deliver on time and within budget, closely monitoring progress to ensure nothing falls between the cracks. You run through walls and are willing to put in the time it takes to do a good job.
- You thrive in an entrepreneurial environment. You love learning, you adapt quickly, and you are a creative self-starter who is able to navigate and provide guidance during seasons of change.
- You are passionate and stubbornly committed to Ongoza’s mission. Most of all, you believe in our vision and mission – the power of young entrepreneurs to transform the Kenyan economy. You aspire to stay in East Africa for an extended period of time.
The Ongoza Way
We base our work and internal culture on four fundamental values and take them very seriously. If these resonate well with you, you will fit well at Ongoza. As CEO, you will be responsible for championing this culture.
- Act Together. We are open and inclusive. We prize ideas over hierarchy, value differences, and proactively support each other to achieve team goals.
- Improve Always. We actively seek and implement quick feedback for learning, innovation, and improvement both in what we do and how we do it. We evolve based on data, our experience, customer feedback, research, and industry trends.
- Don’t Solve the Same Problem Twice. We proactively communicate problems and build structures to address them in a consistent, systematic way.
- Demand Excellence. We consistently go above and beyond expectations to deliver the highest quality and professionalism in everything we do.
Method of Application
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “CEO2019” with your CV and a cover letter answering the below questions. Interviews on a rolling basis until filled (latest February 2019).
1) Share a letter of interest with us how your journey was like to get you here (max 300 words).
a. Clearly illustrate what key decisions/choices and experiences in your past have prepared you for this role?
b. Should you get this role, what value are you hoping to add a) to Ongoza 2) your own personal and professional development?
2) Please make a two-part video that answers the following questions:
a. Imagine you have just 1 minute with a prospective supporter or donor to Ongoza, e.g. during a coffee break at a conference, but with their focused and undivided attention. Making a pitch of your vision for what Ongoza could become in order to capture their interest.
b. Which 3 questions do you have for the current CEO and why are they important to you?