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Business Specialist - SDG Investment Pipeline, SMEs and Impact Venture Accelerators (IPSA11)


  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Colombo
  • Grade: IPSA-11, International Personnel Services Agreement
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Development Cooperation and Sustainable Development Goals
    • Physics and Mathematics
    • Banking and Finance
    • Environment
    • Sustainable trade and development
    • Innovations for Sustainable Development
    • Social Entrepreneurship
    • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
    • Sustainable Business Development
    • Impact investing, Social venture capital
  • Closing Date:
UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.
UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.

Following growing need in scaling up financing for the SDGs, UNDP’s priorities include involvement with the private sector to mobilize its capital towards achieving the SDGs at policy and specific investments levels through facilitating and providing advice on blended finance, impact investment, SDG alignment and Impact Measurement and Management.  UNDP’s Sustainable Finance Hub (SFH) developed several service lines availed to businesses and investors to align their investments towards the SDGs - these include engaging and enabling institutional and private investors; co-creating and innovating impact factored financial tools for development; leveraging private capital into SDG and climate aligned investment opportunities.  In Asia and the Pacific region, the SDG Finance team of Regional Bureau for Asia Pacific (RBAP), in collaboration with UNDP Global Policy Network, provides support to 24 UNDP Country Offices (COs) in the region in pioneering dedicated catalytic facilities and engagement frameworks to implement those service lines and through their application elevate social, economic and environmental impacts of private sector investments in the context of SDGs.

Mobilizing private sector sources for  SDG finance is achieved through combination of activities focused on impact advisory (impact measurement and management (IMM) approaches, metrics and standards), identifying SGD targeting business-based solutions,  aligning business strategies and operations with SDGs, impact performance incentives for both capital providers and recipient businesses.

SDG Finance in Bangkok Regional Hub (BRH)  have been working on developing range of business cases through structured research on identifying SDG investment opportunities, setting-up network of impact venture accelerators (IVA), partnerships with PE/VC funds, working  with banks, stock exchanges and other capital market ecosystem stakeholders. Following range of successful cases, UNDP currently plans going beyond pilots to scaling up and expanding the successful frameworks for such engagements with the private sector.
Duties and Responsibilities
Under matrix reporting lines to the Senior Advisor, SDG Finance Private Sector in the Bangkok Regional Hub and the Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Sri Lanka CO, the incumbent will be also working closely with the other team members in the SDG Finance Team, particularly with regard to the portfolios related to SDG investor mapping, impact venture accelerators, impact advisory,  as well as will tightly collaborate with the  UNDP SDG Impact, BCTA teams, UNDP offices in Geneva and Denmark.  The Specialist will support related scope at the regional level and in other countries of the region in coordination with the assigned focal points in the UNDP COs

UDNP’s work on identifying SDG investment opportunities is based on its traditional MSME support programs and relatively recent offerings more focused not only on businesses that incorporate inclusivity and sustainability issues in their strategies, but also on scalable ventures offering systemic, transformative and scalable solutions to challenges manifested by the SDGs. The incumbent will focus efforts on developing further and implementing several UNDP offerings (such as IVA, SDG Investor Maps and Platform etc.) that target identifying and/or generating risk-informed investment opportunities throughout all stages of enterprise development i.e. from start-ups to large companies. Specifically, this will include:

  • Structuring multifaceted SME support programs targeting business development, resilience, scaling, SDG-alignment  of ventures, policy and advocacy efforts and financial access. Work on needs assessments, recruit and manage trainers and consultants, coordinate training and technical assistance, provide other support in implementation of the SME support programs.
  • Identify new opportunities and help further deployment UNDP IVA offering and integrating it in the UNDP COs’ programmatic tools for private sector engagement. Support IVA implementations, their integration in IVA network and collaboration with relevant teams and initiatives in UNDP.
  • Contribute to designing research and solicitation initiatives to identify SDG-targeting investment opportunities, activities supporting impact ventures ecosystem, screening and assessing potential of investible impact ventures, development of training and mentoring  programs, matching process between ventures, consultants, mentors and  potential investors. Support organisation of convening events for enterprises, investors, financial intermediaries, business service providers and other actors to activate SDG-enabling investment opportunities.
  • Identify large-scale partners in business and investor networks and collaborate with regional colleagues to accelerate strategic partnerships through Resource Mobilization and broaden the RBAP’s Partnership ecosystem and network. Work with regional colleagues to tap into new funding opportunities and partnerships for UNDP programming in these areas and to support the roll out of the regional SDG financing offer.
  • Coordinate, shape up and provide inputs to enterprise technical assistance and acceleration programs to increase investment absorption capacity and investment attractiveness of ventures, scale up effectiveness and impact, technology and business solutions.
  • Develop rapport, compile and keep updated database of key stakeholders engaged: ventures, mentors, institutional and individual investors, donors and other funders for SDG-aligned investible projects. Contribute to the design and development of digitalized, online/web-based tools for scaled implementation of IMM and SDG alignment frameworks.
  • Contribute to development of proposals, prospects and presentation materials for the related initiatives.
  • Supporting the rollout of training programmes on SME support, IVAs, SDG Investment pipelines generation for UNDP COs and RBAP/BRH staff, developing relevant in-house capacity.
  • Identifying and promoting cost recovery/advisory services to sustain UNDP’s support (e.g., through the use of Development Service Agreements for IVAs and other services).
  • Identifying where legal support is needed and mobilizing advisory support and due diligence support to COs. 

Core competencies:

  • Achieve Results:    LEVEL 3: Set and align challenging, achievable objectives for multiple projects, have lasting impact 
  • Think Innovatively: LEVEL 3: Proactively mitigate potential risks, develop new ideas to solve complex problems 
  • Learn Continuously: LEVEL 3: Create and act on opportunities to expand horizons, diversify experiences
  • Adapt with Agility: LEVEL 3: Proactively initiate and champion change, manage multiple competing demands 
  • Act with Determination: LEVEL 3: Think beyond immediate task/barriers and take action to achieve greater results
  • Engage and Partner: LEVEL 3: Political savvy, navigate complex landscape, champion inter-agency collaboration
  • Enable Diversity and Inclusion: LEVEL 3: Appreciate benefits of diverse workforce and champion inclusivity

People Management:

  • People Management: UNDP People Management Competencies can be found in the dedicated site.

Cross-Functional & Technical competencies:

Business Direction & Strategy    

  • Business Acumen and Commercial Thinking: Ability to understand and deal with a business situation in a manner that is likely to lead to a good outcome 
  • Entrepreneurial thinking: Ability to create clarity around UNDP value proposition to beneficiaries and partners and to develop service offers responding to client needs based on UNDP’s organizational priorities and mandate

Business Development     

  • Knowledge Generation: Ability to research and turn information into useful knowledge, relevant for content, or responsive to a stated need
  • Knowledge Facilitation: Ability to animate individuals and communities of contributors to participate and share, particularly externally

2030 Agenda: 

  • SDG Finance: SME Development; Impact Investment, incl. SDG Impact Finance; Responsive investment and impact measurement

Required Skills and Experience

  • Master’s degree in business administration, entrepreneurship, finance, economics, or closely related fields is required.
  • Minimum 7 years of experience in business consulting, PE/VC investments, corporate banking/ NBFIs lending to  SMEs, start-up and SMEs supporting programs and ecosystem entities, entrepreneurship, business, technology commercialization.
  • Knowledge of Entrepreneurship in the developing world and ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations is highly desirable. Understanding of the particular challenges faced by MSMEs for growth and development in developing countries such as access to finance, enabling environment, connection to value chains, skills, etc.
  • Track record / work experience in the field of SME development, or in financial institution servicing SME sector and/or involvement in the provision of advisory services to institutions serving SME sector.
  • Established connections in the major global start-up development ecosystems, wide network and strong working relationships with individuals and firms with investment and relevant technical backgrounds and perspectives. 
  • Strong ongoing knowledge of market context, investment landscape in the region, and close familiarity with needs of global investors.
  • Developed network and engagement experience with the financial and corporate industries (banks, non-bank financial institutions, impact funds, HNWI, relevant philanthropies, development finance institutions), with relevant businesses, investment promotion agencies etc.
  • Sound analytical, organizational, project management and negotiation skills and the ability to conduct training and workshops/seminars
  • Excellent advocacy skills relating to finance, business climate.
  • Strategic thinking capability, with an entrepreneurial mind-set, as well as being adaptable and able to deal with large organizations.
  • Demonstrated experience in resource mobilization, stakeholder engagement, project management, and programme development and implementation are distinct advantages.
  • Understanding of and experience working with SDG financing, the financial sector, impact measurement and management, and/or private sector actors are distinct advantages.
  • Experience working for/with multi-lateral institutions and IFIs, major development agency (e.g., World Bank, IFC, USAID, DFID, etc.)  is an asset.
  • Experience working in a development finance context in emerging markets in Asia Pacific is desirable.

Language requirement: 

  • Excellent oral and written communications and presentation skills in English are required; 
  • Knowledge of another UN language is an asset.


  • UNDP will cover the cost of travel of the individual to the duty station, as well as their return to their home upon completion of their services. Travel costs are covered only in the event that the function will be undertaken physically in the duty station and excludes working from home arrangements. As part of performing the above functions, there might be need for official travel to the countries within the  Asia-Pacific region.

Under US immigration law, acceptance of a staff position with UNDP, an international organization, may have significant implications for US Permanent Residents. UNDP advises applicants for all professional level posts that they must relinquish their US Permanent Resident status and accept a G-4 visa, or have submitted a valid application for US citizenship prior to commencement of employment. 
UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications.
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Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.
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