SME Development Specialist - ACDI/VOCA



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Since 1963, ACDI/VOCA has empowered people in 145 developing and transitional nations to succeed in the global economy. Based in Washington, D.C., ACDI/VOCA is a non-profit international development organization that delivers technical and management assistance in agribusiness, financial services, enterprise development, community development and food security in order to promote broad-based economic growth and vibrant civil society.

Job Description

ACDI/VOCA is currently a subcontractor on a five-year program entitled “Feed the Future Ghana Trade and Investment (GTI) Activity” funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The aim of the GTI Activity is to enhance economic growth in Ghana by facilitating growth in export-oriented trade, stimulating investment related to high-value commercial crops, promoting job creation, particularly among women and youth, and promoting economic diversification.

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GTI’s objectives seek to improve the systems in which firms operate to support enterprise-level productivity and growth. GTI will facilitate investment to firms that trade goods across borders, spur innovation, and build the capacity of the entire trade sector.

Pursuant to its mission, ACDI/VOCA is seeking an experienced and talented professional for the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise (SME) Development Specialist position. The position will be based in Accra and is responsible for providing technical implementation support to Component C of the GTI activity, which aims to increase investments, particularly for SMEs.

The SME Development Specialist will support the project primarily in the areas of trade, commerce, marketing, product development, and business operations. This person will report to the GTI SME and Entrepreneurship Development Director.

The SME Development Specialist will be a member of the team with skills that focus on business (SMEs) growth, sales and market linkages, enterprise management, the supply side of business development services (BDS) from the perspective of providers, and the demand side from the SME dimension, with a view of supporting the overall development and growth of SMEs using an integrated enterprise development approach.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

The overall goal of the SME Development Specialist position is to support the growth of agricultural SMEs in GTI targeted value chains by facilitating solutions to the key constraints that SMEs face in terms of sales; access to domestic, regional and international markets; business management; use of technology in sales and marketing; access to services; access to finance; and export marketing.

By addressing these constraints, the project will contribute to the increase SMEs’ competitiveness, revenue, and ability to create new jobs. Over the life of the project, GTI will work with approximately 50 SMEs with cumulative revenue in excess of $2 million across the different value chains. This will entail strengthening their business practices, sales, and marketing, and ultimately, increasing their revenue and profits.

The role of SME Development Specialist will be to lead and oversee key project activities aimed at delivering comprehensive SME development services targeting these aforementioned areas.

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  • Recruitment and oversight of SMEs in the GTI-targeted value chains through value chain analysis and identification of opportunities for growth along the different segments of the chains.
  • Building a robust network of BDS providers and consultants to support the BDS market development.
  • Recruitment and management of BDS providers/ Business Advisors on business management skills, supporting SMEs in their cohorts to reach project objectives. These business advisors will be working directly with SMEs to improve and strengthen their business.
  • Working with the non-SME stakeholders to ensure delivery to timely support to SMEs.
  • Management of the relationship with project stakeholders – Corporates, NGOs, MMDAs – to ensure the enabling environment for the SMEs.
  • Develop interventions, result chains, and indicators. Document learning for enterprise market system that empower women, youth, and marginalized populations.
  • Build the business model and technical capacity of selected service providers that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of market functions.

Required Skills or Experience

  • A high level of business and entrepreneurial acumen is required.
  • Bachelor’s degree (ideally a master’s degree in agricultural economics, agribusiness, business administration, development economics, or related field).
  • Minimum 5 years of progressively responsible technical and management experience working with SMEs, especially in the agriculture sector.
  • Demonstrated in-depth knowledge of and experience managing SME development including, finance, investment, market systems, and private sector engagement programs.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills with demonstrated ability to lead collaborative working relationships with a diverse group of relevant stakeholders (producers, private sector, NGOs, government, and research institutions).
  • Experience in business development and Business Development Services
  • Experience in business planning and management, as well as financial planning and management, and/or accounting.
  • High-level computer literacy with a solid command of the Microsoft Office suite.
  • Fluency in English is required, and Ghanaian languages are preferred.

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