The Iraq Durable Communities and Economic Opportunities (DCEO) is a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) program implemented by Chemonics International in Iraq. DCEO aims to support vulnerable communities to build community resilience against destabilizing factors by increasing their adaptive capacity and economic well-being. The project consists of two objectives. Objective 1, Adaptative capacity of vulnerable communities increased is achieved through two components. Component 1.1 seeks to mitigate drivers of conflict in targeted communities and Component 1.2 seeks to enhance community leadership of inclusive local development. Objective 2, Economic well-being of communities advanced, will rest on the assessments, analysis, foundations, and groundwork of Objective 1.
The anticipated Iraq Business Competitiveness and Job Creation Initiative (BCJCI) Task Order under DCEO Objective 2 will promote sustainable enterprise competitiveness, increase employment, and expand private sector development by working with micro, small, and medium size Iraqi businesses and entrepreneurs. Business counselors will be the face of the project in Iraqi communities, working collaboratively with businesses, entrepreneurs, and relevant associations.
The Business Counselors report to the Business Counselor Team Lead.
- Identify, profile, and assess potential partner firms, leading and/or actively supporting the selection process within the wider BCJCI team, and build and maintain close and trusting professional relationships with selected partner firms within their portfolio.
- Work closely with selected Iraqi businesses, of all sizes and in any sector, to identify key constraints to sales and jobs growth faced by partner firms and support the development of Client Growth Plans under the guidance and leadership of the BCJCI Director and other staff.
- Identify needs of buyers and markets, and opportunities for those buyers and markets to source from local companies in the targeted geographic zones of the program.
- Provide direct technical assistance and/or identify other means to provide agreed upon targeted support to firms within their portfolio, in line with agreed Client Growth Plans, in order to overcome the identified growth constraints; for example, by improving business operations, strategic planning, upgrading packaging, product design, packaging, production techniques, organizing supply, upgrading technological innovations, assessing credit and finance needs and investment portfolio and/or cash flow management options
- Coordinate with the BCJCI team to identify, deploy and monitor short-term technical assistance from specialists where this is needed by partner firms.
- Coordinate with the DCEO Enterprise Support Fund in the development, oversight, and management of all technical assistance scopes of work, consultants, and support mechanisms to ensure cohesive demand driven activity implementation.
- Work with the Business Association leads in the BCJCI team to aggregate firm-level information in order to identify common constraints that partner business associations can systemically address.
- Coordinate with the DCEO MEL team to incorporate explicit data collection and verification requirements into all Client Growth Plans, and ensure that these plans set realistic targets and periodic data collection requirements to track key indicators over several years.
- Track progress in client firms towards overcoming their growth constraints, in close cooperation with the DCEO MEL team, including but not limited to determining and monitoring annual sales, employment, and investment targets.
- Actively contribute to and support coordination of private sector outreach and communications
- Actively coordinate with and across geographically dispersed business counselors’ team, and across the entire project portfolio.
- Undertake other duties as assigned by supervisor.
- Bachelor’s degree or higher, preferably in a field related to business administration, finance, or economics. DCEO may consider equivalent years of working experience and exceptional skills in lieu of a formal degree.
- Minimum six years of work experience, with three years of direct, demonstrable experience working with or in the Iraqi private sector sector, including business, finance, sales, production, marketing, and management consulting, especially in a managerial capacity.
- Clear understanding of the common growth constraints faced by firms of all sizes and in all sectors in their governorate.
- Experience providing and/or coordinating assistance to increase sales and jobs, and remove growth constraints, for entrepreneurs, start-ups, SMEs and/or medium-to-large businesses in Iraq.
- Actively involved and/or demonstrated knowledge of business networks (formal or informal) preferred
- Proven knowledge, and/or understanding of market demand, flow, opportunities working backwards from market driven demands, not supply push
- Good knowledge of the political and social context of business in Iraq.
- Knowledge of USAID project management policies, procedures and reporting requirements helpful but not required.
- Flexibility and willingness to adapt to a changing business environment.
- Demonstrated problem solving and analytical skills.
- Good English language skills are required, Fluency in Arabic or Kurdish language is also required.
- Strong business ethics
- Excellent verbal, written communications, and interpersonal skills, ability to work closely within a team and across a matrixed organization.