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Tech Ecosystem Consultant
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The African tech ecosystem grew exponentially in 2021 with capital investments hitting all-time highs. More and more tech-enabled startups are coming up with tech innovations that are disrupting the way business is conducted. Are you excited by the prospect of developing an emerging tech and innovation ecosystem in Africa? Do you have experience of working in emerging tech and innovations ecosystems through designing initiatives, programs, developing policies and relationships that create a conducive environment for tech startups to thrive? Do you thrive on driving the end-to-end delivery of transformative projects? If so, we want to hear from you.
The Tony Blair Institute (TBI) is scaling up its support to multiple governments in Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia to accelerate reforms and progress, through better delivery support, technology and private sector engagement. Focused on supporting TBI’s growing technology programme in Malawi, the post holder will join a fast-growing team supporting the Government of Malawi to deliver its digital transformation agenda, focusing on Malawi’s national digital infrastructure.
The Tomorrow Partnership is the Tony Blair Institute’s work with political leaders and governments to bring tech and digital solutions to their biggest challenges, because we believe tomorrow will belong to those who responsibly harness the power of technology for the good of all people, and to leave no one behind.
Through The Tomorrow Partnership, we broker strategic partnerships between governments and leading tech organisations and innovators to help foster environments that enable tech to deliver practical change in people’s lives.
Working closely with the Head of Tech, as well as the Global Tomorrow Partnership team, the role will seek to bring together the actors, enablers and key stakeholders within the tech ecosystem who play a role in technology innovation through their activities. The Consultant will also be instrumental in promoting, supporting, facilitating and undertaking the development and commercialisation of technologies and innovations in the form of products, services or processes, from idea through to socio-economic markets. The Consultant will work with the Malawian tech ecosystem players to design systems that will create opportunities for incubators, accelerators, venture capitalists, investors, hubs and ecosystem support organisations to emerge, flourish and scale across the three regions of the country.
As part of TBI’s holistic in-country offering, the post-holder will contribute to the development of policies and regulations that attract investment, knowledge and skills transfer through incubators, accelerators, makerspaces and other forms of innovation hubs, adoption and scalability of innovations. Bringing substantial sector expertise, and in line with Presidential priorities, the post-holder will help develop strong relationships with key public and private stakeholders, undertake landscape and feasibility assessments, identify critical stakeholder gaps, propose practical ways and requirements to address them.
- Tech Ecosystem Assessment: A detailed and complete document providing a detailed overview of the existing tech and innovation landscape, and recommendations for potential investments and commitments for TBI to concentrate to accelerate the growth of the tech and innovation ecosystem in Malawi
- Programs Plan: Develop a plan of action for government’s increased contracting with local tech ecosystem companies, highlighting programs opportunities and role that TBI should play
- Policy Paper: Develop a detailed and robust policy recommendation paper. Review the current tech ecosystem policy and legal framework and make policy recommendations to make the ecosystem to be vibrant
- Workplan: A detailed workplan on how to engage with the tech ecosystem stakeholders in Malawi, support and enhancement of the existing activities
Working closely with the Head of Tech, the Tech Ecosystem Consultant is expected to conduct assessments of core components of Malawi’s tech, innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, make recommendations on areas of intervention, and provide expert input for delivery. Responsibilities will include:
- Tech Ecosystem Assessments: The assessments will identify the existing ecosystem players and initiatives across Malawi, noting strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for growth. Analysis of existing and potential sources of finance to support venture capital and early-stage investment will also be undertaken. The result will be an overview of the existing tech and innovation landscape, and recommendations for potential investments to accelerate the growth of the tech and innovation ecosystem in Malawi
- Policy Review and Recommendations: Government policies and regulations on business registration and technology adoption will be reviewed. The Advisor will work with stakeholders to benchmark policy shifts in other countries that have initiated tech transformation and make recommendations suitable for Malawi. The need for Startup Acts and Startup friendly incentives will be proposed in a structured way
- Facilitate the creation of tech ecosystem thinktanks: The Consultant will champion the creation of a network of tech players to collaborate on the provision of entrepreneurship support and:
- determining and collecting appropriate entrepreneurship performance indicators and statistics, including those relating to intangible assets;
- capacity building and training of entrepreneurship support, facilitation and/or promotion enablers;
- devising, developing and sharing operating models for entrepreneurship and innovation support, facilitation and/or promotion organisations;
- intellectual property education and management;
- promotion of the benefits and value of tech entrepreneurship and innovation activities in Malawi
- Tech Ecosystem Engagement – The Consultant will be a first point of contact for TBI to engage with the ecosystem to among others:
- To raise awareness and visibility of the tech ecosystem actors, enablers, and key stakeholders, and promote more collaborations, partnerships, and networking to enhance the probability for successful technology innovation
- Strengthen Malawi’s tech ecosystem policy and legislative frameworks, to facilitate investments, and clearly map the role of relevant stakeholders and their mandates regarding the growth of the tech ecosystem.
- Promotion of best practice in the various areas of tech entrepreneurship and innovation support, facilitation, and promotion. To work with partners to standardise business development support service,
- To advocate for tech entrepreneurship through activities such as Hackathons, Business Plan Challenges, Pitch Editions, Deal Rooms with enablers in the ecosystem.
- To advocate for shared technology platforms for tech startups like sandboxes, Application Program Interfaces (APIs), open-source systems and clear documentation of systems.
- Develop innovative partnerships, with Development Finance Institutions, impact investors and venture capitalists to unlock financial opportunities that are supportive of tech businesses to enable access to investment
- Initiative Proposal and Delivery Plan: Based on the identified opportunities, develop initiative delivery plans, including timelines for implementation, milestones, as well as risks and challenges to implementation. The advisor will also work to develop an ecosystem best practice playbook
- Reporting: Regularly inform TBI country level and central TBI tech colleagues of progress through reporting and engagement sessions, and proactively escalate issues for further support as needed
The successful candidate must demonstrate a good understanding of the tech, innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Sub-Saharan Africa. Prior work with tech ecosystem stakeholders and governments in the region is highly desirable. Additional skills and competencies required include:
- Experience working with tech startups, entrepreneurship support organisations, governments or development partners supporting enterprise development programs
- Expertise in issues relating to tech innovation, business development support, intellectual property, innovation challenges, investments, business modelling and development
- Prior experience working on technology, innovation and entrepreneurship projects in emerging markets, especially in Sub Saharan Africa is highly desirable
- Experience working on policy reform and legislative frameworks in the tech space would be a considerable asset
- Experience of comprehensive engagement with public and private sector stakeholders to support programme delivery
- Ability to present information in a concise, insightful and structured manner, in written and oral form
- Problem-solving and analytical skills, including sound knowledge of data analysis, strategic planning, and project management practices
- Experience in analytical and research studies in the public sector, within public reforms, national and investment projects
- Experience in development and/or implementation of risk management/matrix frameworks
- Ability to coordinate with team members across multiple locations and develop relationships with multi-disciplinary advisors
- A minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Information Systems, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, or equivalent
- High quality communication, drafting and presentational skills
- Excellent relationship building and management skills, including the ability to navigate complex political environments
- Fluency in English (oral and written)
About The Institute
The Tony Blair Institute (TBI) is a mission-driven not for profit organisation. We exist to equip political leaders and governments to build open, inclusive and prosperous societies. We work hard, every day, to make a difference. When governments work well they are able to create economic and social change in a way that promotes fairness, social justice and opportunity. We work relentlessly to support leader and governments with the challenges they face. Giving them practical solutions and actionable insights, that once implemented, can be transformative for their people
We do this within two connected divisions:
Our Government Advisory teams work directly with political leaders and governments around the world to implement reforms that improve the lives of their citizens. It works with a variety of partners and its outputs cover a range of disciplines and projects across countries in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and South Asia.
Our Policy Futures work encompasses three broad areas:
- Renewing the Centre: developing a bold and innovative domestic policy programme to help renew the centre ground of British politics;
- Tech and Public Policy: exploring the policy challenges and opportunities presented by the technological revolution; and
- Extremism Policy Unit: creating solutions designed to tackle the threat of extremist ideologies in the UK and around the world.
As an organisation, the core beliefs we all embrace are:
- Open and Progressive: you’ll believe in the value of teamwork
- Bold and Pragmatic: you’ll approach everything you do with integrity and authenticity
- Optimistic Changemaker: you’ll be focused on results
TBI believes embracing diversity and inclusion make us a better place to work. It’s our goal to reflect everyone in society and we actively welcome applications from individuals and groups who are under-represented in the workplace. We celebrate difference be it ethnicity, religion, age, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation or disability. We will only ever assess you on your abilities and fit for a role. We’re happy to discuss any adjustments you need to ensure a level playing field during recruitment and, if you\'re successful, discuss any adjustments you might need to thrive in your role.