Specialist, Innovation Challenge Fund (ICF) and Women Ventures (WV)

Report to: Head of Innovation and MEL
Location: Islamabad
Application deadline for the position is April 13, 2022


About Us

Guided by Karandaaz vision, we believe that every Pakistani deserves to be Financially Included and Economically Empowered. Our Mission at Karandaaz is to foster economic growth and create jobs through financial inclusion of unbanked individuals and unserved enterprises.

Karandaaz Pakistan is a not-for-profit organization, based out of Islamabad, registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan under Section 42 of the Companies Act 2017. We are supported by Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). Karandaaz is governed by an eminent board that sets the strategy of the organization and steers it towards achievement of its objectives.

Karandaaz Innovation through its programmatic interventions, Innovation Challenge Fund (ICF) and Women Ventures (WV), aims to address gaps in the financial architecture to improve access to finance. The ICF is designed to overcome challenges in financial inclusion by investing in innovative products and services. Karandaaz works with private sector firms to invite solutions to these challenges and reduce the risk of product development by funding the projects. Challenge funds are designed to leverage the innovative power and commercial instincts of the private sector, and financial service providers to overcome developmental challenges. The challenge fund can help overcome market failures that would otherwise prevent a solution-provider from making an initial investment, either from the cost of information discovery, costs of mitigating risks or simple lack of available funding. The incumbent will be responsible for research, selection and contracting of partners for challenge fund rounds, and its subsequent implementation.

Position Summary

Karandaaz Pakistan seeks to hire a Specialist, ICF & WV for the Karandaaz Innovation function for the management and implementation of its growing portfolios of Innovation Challenge Fund and Women Ventures.

Women Ventures is a programmatic intervention by Karandaaz to provide growth capital and business development support to female entrepreneurs who are aspiring to scale up expand their business operations. Women Ventures is currently supporting 31 women-led businesses and has provided business development support to more than 95 businesses. These businesses belong to a range of sectors and are actively contributing to job creation and economic development. Women Ventures has also entered into institutional partnerships in order to expand its outreach and also to strengthen support available to businesswomen within the ecosystem. The incumbent will manage the institutional partnerships and the selection/investment process for WV, as well as the post investment monitoring of selected women-led businesses.

The incumbent will be supported by an Analyst level position in the execution of the responsibilities described above. The ideal candidate will have work experience in managing impact investment funding and a passion for private sector development, particularly the financial inclusion space. The candidate would have a versatile skill set covering financial modeling, impact fund management, and market research and comprehensive knowledge of the areas of direct experience.

Job Responsibilities

Role and responsibilities of the Specialist are linked to the following programme components and overall support to the KRN Innovation function:

Challenge Fund (ICF)

  • Undertake research and analysis in areas of financial inclusion to develop thematic concept notes for challenge rounds (these should include identification of suitable funding instruments, eligibility and selection criteria, advisory committee constitution, application forms, guidance notes and systems for fund disbursement, governance, transparency and performance monitoring etc.) and budgets.
  • Manage the competitive process for challenge rounds, including outreach, lead generation, proposal screening and selection of partners with a special focus on innovation, “new to market” products and capacities of implementing partners.
  • Manage onboarding and contracting of selected partners, including development of project milestones, deliverables, grant disbursement schedules and reporting templates.
  • Monitor projects funded through ICF, including management of the funds disbursement process, assessment and oversight of key milestones, institutionalizing regular progress updates from partners, flagging delays and problems in implementation to Head ICF, reporting lessons learnt into ICF design, and successfully closing projects.
  • Regular engagement with ICF implementation partners during the design and implementation phase to keep track of implementation progress and timely redressal/flagging of implementation challenges.
  • Achieve results targets agreed in the project financing agreements and the results commitment with KRN sponsors and Board.

ICF Green

  • Implementation of ICF Green. This will include annual selection process and existing portfolio of green projects with green techs, SMEs, research institutions, other green focused entities. Contribute to the strategy development and product refinement for this segment.
  • Onboarding and contracting of awardees. This will include drawing up of term sheets and clear results framework for each project within stipulated timelines. Post investment activities include actively monitoring project delivery, regular engagement with implementation partners, progress reporting to Head Innovation, and support MEL activities for ICF Green.
  • Achieve annual performance targets agreed in financing agreements and results committed to the KRN Board and sponsors.

Women Ventures

  • Support the WV Investment Panel (IP) in selection of businesses through light touch initial due diligence of businesses, review and develop Business Growth Plans, and provide business growth potential analysis to the IP.
  • Negotiate the term sheets and contracts with selected WV awardees and manage the financing agreement with the businesses.
  • Oversee the post-investment monitoring process, manage relationship with investee companies and provide feedback to senior management on performance, associated risks, and repayment behavior of the portfolio.
  • Conduct financial analysis of the WV portfolio for periodic reporting to the CEO and KRN Board. Tracking financial and operational performance of each business, provide technical assistance to strengthen business performance and institutional development of WV businesses.
  • Engage with and manage service providers (business development support, legal counsel, and other technical assistance) for efficient programme delivery and high quality support to WV portfolio businesses.
  • Achieve annual WV targets on onboarding new businesses, managing performance of existing portfolio, controlling non-performing assets, and portfolio monitoring and development targets identified in the WV Investment policy and programme log-frame.

Overall Programme Support

  • Ensure a strong emphasis on due diligence, value for money, and transparency within Innovation activities.
  • Proactively identify opportunities to highlight Innovation activities and outputs to relevant audiences through use of different communication platforms such as social and print media, events etc. Work closely with the Communications team to develop and document success stories and key lessons from ICF supported activities. These may include blogs, articles, videos and case studies.
  • Work with the M&E team to ensure that development objectives of Innovation are measurable and reported at all stages. Assist M&E team in executing monitoring and evaluation of Innovation related activities.
  • Develop annual and quarterly work plans, budget forecasts and updates and updating risk frameworks for review by Head Innovation
  • Develop reports and documents for audiences such as Karandaaz sponsors, Board and Management Committee
  • Manage internal and external audit processes as required under supervision of Head Innovation
  • Any other task as may be required by the supervisor for achievement of the desired results.


  • 4 years Bachelor’s/Master’s degree in Business, Economics, Finance or related field of study with an understanding of project management and social science research
  • CFA qualification (Level II) will be an added advantage but is not a mandatory requirement.
  • Minimum 6 years of relevant experience in programme and grant management in the financial inclusion space. Experience in SME investment management or the credit/ portfolio management in the banking sector will be an added advantage.
  • Experience in working with various stakeholders from the public and private sectors.
  • Demonstrated experience of client management, portfolio management, working independently, strategic thinking and managing a diverse project portfolio.
  • Strong financial analysis and forecasting skills
  • Understanding of the corporate governance/regulatory requirements of the SMEs
  • Strong analytical skills in terms of research, sectoral analysis and programme design
  • Excellent English writing and presentation skills
  • Knowledge of the financial access space and impact investing will be a significant advantage.
  • Highly organized, self-driven with demonstrated project and time management skills.
  • Should have strong decision-making skills, analytical skills and problem-solving skills.
  • Ability to interface with and effectively manage stakeholders at multiple levels
  • Ability to work to multiple and tight deadlines with a commitment to quality, accuracy and attention to detail.
  • Team player and self-starter who shows initiative; works independently; has innate curiosity; passion for research, analysis and delivering insights to the market.
  • Willingness to travel to different locations in Pakistan, as required.

Culture and Values at Karandaaz

Karandaaz Culture is guided by our values of Innovation, Collaboration, Accountability, Respect and Equity (ICARE). These values shape our choices on what we do and how we do it, both with colleagues internally and partners externally. We also believe that we are all responsible for creating a great place to work and are constantly looking to hire individuals who bring the same level of passion and commitment to the purpose of the organization.

If you believe in Karandaaz vision and values and feel excited about the work we are offering, please send us your resume for this position to careers@karandaaz.com.pk clearly mentioning the position title in the subject line. We will be accepting submissions till 13th April 2022. 

Karandaaz is an equal opportunity employer. Women and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

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Non-profit company registered under Section 42 of the Companies Act, 2017