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SME/Incubator Expert


  • Organization: UNIDO - United Nations Industrial Development Organization
  • Location: Antananarivo
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Sustainable trade and development
    • Innovations for Sustainable Development
    • Social Entrepreneurship
    • Sustainable Business Development
  • Closing Date: Closed

​Requisition ID: 3700 
Grade: SB5 - Local Professional (Mid-Level & Senior) 
Country: Madagascar 
Duty Station: Antananarivo 
Category: National Consultant 
Type of Job Posting: Internal and External
Employment Type: NonStaff-Regular
Contract Duration: 1 year, with possibility of extension
Application deadline: 29-Apr-2024, 11:59 PM (CEST)  


Vacancy Announcement
Only nationals or permanent residents of the country of the duty station are considered eligible.
Female candidates are encouraged to apply.



The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is the specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability. The mission of UNIDO, as described in the Lima Declaration adopted at the fifteenth session of the UNIDO General Conference in 2013 as well as the Abu Dhabi Declaration adopted at the eighteenth session of UNIDO General Conference in 2019, is to promote and accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) in Member States. The relevance of ISID as an integrated approach to all three pillars of sustainable development is recognized by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will frame United Nations and country efforts towards sustainable development. UNIDO’s mandate is fully recognized in SDG-9, which calls to “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”. The relevance of ISID, however, applies in greater or lesser extent to all SDGs. Accordingly, the Organization’s programmatic focus is structured in four strategic priorities: Creating shared prosperity; Advancing economic competitiveness; Safeguarding the environment; and Strengthening knowledge and institutions.

Each of these programmatic fields of activity contains a number of individual programmes, which are implemented in a holistic manner to achieve effective outcomes and impacts through UNIDO’s four enabling functions: (i) technical cooperation; (ii) analytical and research functions and policy advisory services; (iii) normative functions and standards and quality-related activities; and (iv) convening and partnerships for knowledge transfer, networking and industrial cooperation. Such core functions are carried out in Divisions/Offices in its Headquarters, Regional Offices and Hubs and Country Offices.


The Directorate of Technical Cooperation and Sustainable Industrial Development (TCS) under the overall direction of the Director General, and in close collaboration with all relevant organizational entities within UNIDO, headed by a Managing Director, oversees the Organization's development of capacities for industrial development as well as industrial policy advice, statistics and research activities and the Organization's normative contribution to Member States and global development community in achieving the SDGs. The Directorate also ensures the application of strategies and interventions for sustainable industrial development related to Environment, Energy, SMEs, Competitiveness and Job creation, as well as Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence. Through coordination in-house and with Member States and industry stakeholders, it ensures that the services provided in these areas contribute toward effective and appropriate technical, business and policy solutions and are focused on results and on realizing any potential for scaling up and positioning UNIDO as a leading platform for industrial development in developing countries and global fora.


The Directorate houses the technical Divisions of Capacity Development, Industrial Policy Advice and Statistics (TCS/CPS); Circular Economy and Environmental Protection (TCS/CEP); Decarbonization and Sustainable Energy (TCS/DSE); SMEs, Competitiveness and Job Creation (TCS/SME); and Digital Transformation and AI Strategies (TCS/DAS). The Directorate also ensures close coordination and collaboration among the Divisions as well as with relevant entities in the Directorate of Global Partnerships and External Relations (GLO) and the Directorate of SDG Innovation and Economic Transformation (IET).


The Division of Decarbonization and Sustainable Energy (TCS/DSE) under the supervision of the Managing Director of the Directorate of Technical Cooperation and Sustainable Industrial Development (TCS), and in close coordination with other organizational entities within UNIDO, assists Member States in the transition to a sustainable energy future through the application of renewable energy solutions for productive uses, adoption of the efficient concepts of energy use by industry and the introduction of low-carbon technologies and processes. In transitioning to a sustainable energy future, the challenges of addressing energy poverty and climate change are an integral part of the Division's activities, as is the dissemination of relevant knowledge and technologies and paths to plan, manage and finance the energy transition. It collaborates closely on relevant and converging issues with the Climate and Technology Partnerships Division (IET/CTP) and analytical and strategic matters with TCS/CPS and ODG/SPU.


This position is located under the Climate Technologies Innovation Unit (TCS/DSE/CTI) which is responsible for supporting Member States with access to and uptake of low-carbon, climate-friendly and clean energy technologies and innovations promoting those among firms and entrepreneurs. In addition, the Unit is responsible, in close collaboration with other relevant entities in the Organization, for facilitating the transfer of and establishing markets for low-carbon technologies, ensuring wide use by industry and local communities, thereby contributing to climate mitigation and resilience in recipient countries. The Unit positions UNIDO strategically in the global cleantech innovation support and coordinates partnerships with the technology mechanism of the UNFCCC.




Project title: Transforming the financial system to support the development of sustainable energy solutions through technical assistance and investment in Madagascar (UNIDO Project ID: SAP 200313)


a) Context of Joint SDG Fund Project in Madagascar

The UN Joint SDG Fund (the Fund) supports countries as they accelerate their progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Fund operates through a series of calls for the United Nations (UN) system that leads to the implementation of transformative Joint Programmes (JPs), under the leadership of Resident Coordinators (RCs). In doing so, the Fund is committed to forge paths and partnerships that unlock public and private capital for the SDGs at scale. All allocations made by the Fund will be in the form of grants to UN agencies.

In January 2020, the SDG Fund Call had been launched around two components:

Component 1: “Reinforce the SDG financing architecture”: The Fund will support UN Country Teams in the development of financing strategies and enabling frameworks for SDG investment.
Component 2: “Catalyse strategic investments”: The Fund will support UN Country Teams in investing in key initiatives that leverage public and private financing in order to advance the SDGs. These initiatives will provide a demonstration of concept and will be scalable both in country and elsewhere.


Through Component 2, the SDG Fund will invest programmatic interventions or initiatives that promote the financing as well as related institutional and market arrangements that contribute to the achievement of strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth, through supporting directly and indirectly the objectives of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 goals. Interventions that can deliver a demonstration of concept at sufficient scale and be replicated will be selected. The scope has an intentionally open design based on lessons learned from development partners and the private sector. Therefore, the Fund will support the financing of non-prescriptive solutions, products, and approaches, such as a variety of catalytic capital that can leverage large-scale public and private investment to generate impact. The Fund emphasizes the need to innovate and diversify the sources of financing for the SDGs and thus, where possible and relevant, to leverage private finance and engage in public-private collaboration. This is in recognition of the fact that, while Governments play a leadership role in visioning and prioritization in the financing the Agenda 2030, a whole-of-society action agenda is essential to close the funding and financing gaps.


Thus, UNDP, UNCDF and UNIDO decided to join forces and submitted a Joint Proposal which addresses component 2 of the SDG call for and focuses on Sustainable Energy sector in Madagascar approved by the Joint SDG Fund in April 2022.


The Joint Project consists of three initiatives – a Sustainable Energy Incubator (SEI), an investment De-risking Facility, and technical assistance towards the creation of Madagascar’s Sovereign Development Fund. The SEI and De-risking Facility will solve for the energy bottlenecks noted. Following a four-year development timeline (2022-2026) the expected long-term impact of the JP is – through the availability of diversified strategic financial mechanisms - to transform the financial system of Madagascar into an integrated system responding to the needs of the public and private sectors and guaranteeing the availability of stable financial resources for the financing of the sustainable energy sector.


The three instruments will be:

  • the Sustainable Energy Incubator (SEI), that will act as an incubator for early-stage projects, coaching SMEs and providing small grants awards to start-ups related to innovative clean technology through national contests; UNIDO will be key in starting-up the incubator, selecting the national partner that will manage it and strengthen its capacity. Promising discussions during preparation phase already identified the Economic Development Board of Madagascar (EDBM) as host of the incubator.
  • the Derisking Facility (DF), that will provide De-risking Capital (grant, loans, guarantee loans) adapted to projects and SMEs for which co-financing are still needed to starting small/medium size projects; UNCDF will manage the facility on loan guarantee and loans while UNDP will have the leadership on managing the grants (only for mini-grid projects) and UNIDO will support on the project technical evaluations of projects.
  • the Sovereign Development Fund (SDF), that will invest mostly in large scale infrastructural projects; UNDP will be leading the support to the GoM in technical assistance to establishing the Fund.


The combination of the three main instruments developed in this joint project will help build sustainable solutions to the problem of lack of private and public investment in key infrastructure needs and will support the development of sustainable energy solutions for the population (including youth and women), SMEs and productive uses especially in rural areas. This JP will be essential to the achievement of several SDGs, with 7, 9 and 17 being the overarching SDGs.


b) Context of the Sustainable Energy Incubator (SEI)

A holistic transformation of the financial system to support the development of sustainable energy solutions requires a set of interventions, including at early-stage. Experience shows that it is essential to support companies throughout the continuum of business development in order to create the momentum to have a pipeline of investable projects and businesses that is adequate in quantity and quality. Therefore, incubator is an essential component to foster and enable a market for sustainable energy solutions which leads to diversified ready to invest companies and projects with high potential of financial leverage. The SEI will be market facing in nature, and will support the graduation of business from ideation towards investments / commercialization. It will be done using best-practice services by a provider to be identified – informed by the experience UNIDO has gathered along the years in spurring innovation through private sector engagement –- competitively during the inception phase.


UNIDO will be key coordinator to start up the incubator, and will work with a partner to execute the activities under its guidance. The structure that will manage and host the incubator has been selected during the inception phase of the project. UNIDO has experience is fomenting partnerships between private and public actors in numerous constituencies. Those are typically orchestrated with the objective of enabling markets and enhancing the deployment of clean energy in the way to benefits from and is in line with government priorities and support schemes. In those contexts, UNIDO has been able to engage directly with and through private sector actors. The support delivered is directed primarily at businesses, startups and small and medium enterprises in particular, whilst integrating the public efforts and strategies.


One of the key barriers for startups to grow is the inability to access adequate capital. Those early-stage businesses commonly find themselves in the so-called “valley of death”. They have exhausted ‘friends and family’ funding and available public support, yet they are unable to attract commercial capital yet. The grant provided by the SEI will be different in both nature and scale to the grant made available through the De-risking Facility (DF) which comes at a later stage of business maturity and is designed to crowd-in less concessional capital which would otherwise not be leveraged. Indeed, the SEI will provide small grants at start-ups/company level in order to test products or formalize company creation.




Under the direct supervision of the Project Manager at HQ and the National Programme Coordinator in Madagascar and overall guidance of the UNIDO Country Representative in Madagascar, the SME/Incubation expert will be directly responsible for the successful implementation of the UNIDO Component of the SDG project. The Expert shall undertake all activities envisaged in the prodoc in close collaboration with other UN implementing agencies of the Joint SDG Fund Project in Madagascar (Resident Coordinator Office, UNDP, and UNCDF), and key stakeholders, assists in appraising, adjusting and presenting project proposals, and monitoring programme execution, identifying problems and utilizing information as an input to corrective actions to ensure effective project management.   The incumbent shall carry out following main duties.


  • Locate and analyze specific economic and social data and distilling and synthesizing information relevant to proposed projects;
  • Identify, describe and justify project possibilities related to a particular project and consistent with approved technical cooperation programmes and ongoing activities;
  • Appraise, review and adjust project proposals to ensure consistency with national, sub regional, regional and sectoral priorities and programmes, and with available resources; formulate and present such proposals on the basis of technical and substantive inputs in accordance with required format for final review and approval;
  • Develop schedules, arrangements and methods for the management of the execution of individual project/s, in consultation with project personnel, technical, substantive and administrative service units;
  • Exchange information required for project formulation and execution with government officials in planning, finance, donor input coordination and sectoral functions, as well as with representatives of multilateral and bilateral donor agencies;
  • Monitor and expedite project execution systematically through discussions and correspondence with technical, substantive and project staff, field visits, analysis of periodic project progress reports, participation in tripartite reviews and mid-term project evaluations; utilize information obtained as an input to corrective decision-making and revisions;
  • Organize and conduct briefings and debriefings on project with special regard for the country, sub regional and regional aspects, resources and development characteristics, with a view to maximizing project performance levels;
  • Provide technical expertise, inputs, and draft the strategic framework for the SEI which shall include the definition of the roles and responsibilities of all identified stakeholders for the SEI;
  • Provide technical expertise and inputs for inclusive stakeholder mapping and engagement as well as validation of the strategic framework for the SEI; for the training and certification of sustainable energy and entrepreneurship experts (trainers, mentors, judges- at least 30) to support the SEI;
  • Provide technical expertise and inputs for enhancing gender equality and women’s empowerment as well as social and environmental safeguards;
  • Provide technical expertise and inputs for the review and adaptation of UNIDO’s GCIP guidebooks tailored for incubation sessions for SMEs and startups in Madagascar;
  • Provide technical expertise and inputs for the institutional capacity building of at least 150 start-ups and SMEs assessed with regard to their viability, potential for scale-up of products, financing requirements and potential impact of their sustainable energy technologies, products and services;
  • Provide technical expertise and inputs for the post-accelerator support services to at least 45 start-ups and SMEs would be supported through advanced and gender-responsive business growth and investment facilitation services towards commercialization;
  • Providing technical expertise and inputs for investment mobilization efforts with tipping-point investment facilitation support to accelerated enterprises. Organize annual acceleration and incubation cycles and provide necessary technical support;
  • Providing technical expertise and inputs for annual capitalization on incubation experience and policy recommendation for Madagascar.
  • Develop communication, advocacy and monitoring tools and document achievements of the project;
  • Develop an awareness raising campaign for the actors identified to promote the production of sustainable energy projects;
  • Promote the international visibility of SEI;
  • Monitoring and reporting of project implementation to UNIDO and to the UNCT through NPC.

Concrete/measurable Outputs to be achieved

  • One SEI is created and operational
  • Five committed partners (at least 1 partner with focus on GEEW)
  • 30 Experts trained and certified (at least 40% women)
  • One SEI guide book adapted for Madagascar
  • 150 SMEs assessed
  • 45 SMEs supported, at least 40% are women, and 5 start-ups and SMEs with high impact potential
  • 10 SMEs receiving post incubation support (at least 40% women-led)
  • 10 conferences, at least 40% of participants are women, at least one panel with focus on GEEW
  • Three international exchanges (at least at least 40% are women)
  • One website created/improved
  • Three documents of capitalization
  • Periodic monitoring reports


Education: Advanced university degree in in economics, business administration, international relations or closely relevant discipline with a specialization in business management or financing is required.


Experience, technical and functional expertise:

A minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible working experience in the field of finance and business management, energy and/or environmental technology innovation projects, including experience at the international level, is required.
Experience in the field of design and delivery of investment and financing schemes (incubator start up) for facilitating private sector investments is required.
Proven experience and expertise in engaging with the private sector, and ability to read and analyze market and investment trends especially in relation to technology-based venture companies is required.
Very good understanding of working of IFIs, DFIs, institutional and private investors including impact investors and proven track record of working with them, is required.
Experience/knowledge of SMEs and startups is required.
Experience relevant to technical cooperation in developing countries, is required.
Experience in evaluating the needs, conditions and problems in developing countries is desirable.
Experience in working with the UN system, international organizations or non-governmental organizations and with the donors’ community, is desirable.
Excellent written and oral communications skills, proficiency in the Microsoft Office software package (Word, Excel, Power Point and Project) is required.
Knowledge of SAP enterprise recourse planning and prior experience using Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems is desirable.  


Languages: Fluency in written and spoken French and English is required. Written and spoken Malagasy is desirable. Fluency and/or working knowledge of another official UN language is desirable.




Core Values

WE LIVE AND ACT WITH INTEGRITY: work honestly, openly and impartially.

WE SHOW PROFESSIONALISM: work hard and competently in a committed and responsible manner.

WE RESPECT DIVERSITY: work together effectively, respectfully and inclusively, regardless of our differences in culture and perspective.


Key Competencies

WE FOCUS ON PEOPLE: cooperate to fully reach our potential –and this is true for our colleagues as well as our clients. Emotional intelligence and receptiveness are vital parts of our UNIDO identity.

WE FOCUS ON RESULTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES: focus on planning, organizing and managing our work effectively and efficiently. We are responsible and accountable for achieving our results and meeting our performance standards. This accountability does not end with our colleagues and supervisors, but we also owe it to those we serve and who have trusted us to contribute to a better, safer and healthier world.

WE COMMUNICATE AND EARN TRUST: communicate effectively with one another and build an environment of trust where we can all excel in our work.

WE THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX AND INNOVATE: To stay relevant, we continuously improve, support innovation, share our knowledge and skills, and learn from one another.


This appointment is limited to the specified project(s) only and does not carry any expectation of renewal.
Employees of UNIDO are expected at all times to uphold the highest standards of integrity, professionalism and respect for diversity, both at work and outside. Only persons who fully and unconditionally commit to these values should consider applying for jobs at UNIDO.

All applications must be submitted online through the Online Recruitment System. Correspondence will be undertaken only with candidates who are being considered at an advanced phase of the selection process. Selected candidate(s) may be required to disclose to the Director General the nature and scope of financial and other personal interests and assets in respect of themselves, their spouses and dependents, under the procedures established by the Director General.

Visit the UNIDO website for details on how to apply:

NOTE: The Director General retains the discretion to make an appointment to this post at a lower level.

Notice to applicants:
UNIDO does not charge any application, processing, training, interviewing, testing or other fee in connection with the application or recruitment process. If you have received a solicitation for the payment of a fee, please disregard it. Vacant positions within UNIDO are advertised on the official UNIDO website. Should you have any questions concerning persons or companies claiming to be recruiting on behalf of UNIDO and requesting payment of a fee, please contact:

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