Head Of Innovation Funding in Lagos, Nigeria

Financial Services
Consulting/Business Strategy & Planning
Minimum Qualification
Master's Degree
Required Experience
10 - 15 years
Employment Type
Full Time
Male or Female

Job Description

Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) is a financial sector development organisation working to promote financial inclusion in Nigeria. Established in late 2007, EFInA's vision is to be the leader in facilitating an all-inclusive and growth-promoting financial system. EFInA is funded by the UK Government's Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

EFInA is seeking to recruit dynamic, strategic, and committed individuals to newly defined roles to build on its current achievements and accelerate the impact of financial inclusion in Nigeria. EFInA is a rapidly growing organisation with considerable influence in the financial sector. Employment with EFInA offers an exceptional and challenging opportunity for the right candidate.


The Role 
The Head of Innovation Funding will assist the CEO in developing EFInA’s financial inclusion agenda by initiating, managing and monitoring grants designed to increase the financial options available to the low income segments of the population. By stimulating product innovation and increasing the number of grants awarded, the Head of Innovation Funding will play a central part in achieving EFInA’s strategic objectives. Through these activities, he/she will maximise the impact of the Innovation Fund, by increasing the pipeline of fundable projects and showcasing the demonstration effect of the projects funded. 

With strong leadership and fund management skills and experience, the Head of Innovation Funding will convene existing grantees and draw on support from the Head of Programmes to ensure a strong pipeline and diversity of applicants for the Fund. He/she will evaluate proposals (including budgets, assumptions and milestones); lead the setup, implementation and improvement of grant monitoring systems; provide oversight of the Innovation Grants process; and conduct due diligence of potential grantees. He/she will also identify the need for, establish and implement new funding mechanisms aimed at taking EFInA’s targeted financial inclusion initiatives to scale. He/she will provide information to the Head of Knowledge and Evidence to support EFInA’s research agenda, and ensure that the lessons learned from grantees are disseminated.

The Head of Innovation Funding will possess the gravitas, credibility and ability to build and maintain a network by proactively developing relationships with key stakeholders across the Nigerian financial sector. By representing and marketing EFInA’s Innovation Fund at events, conducting workshops and engaging in institutional dialogue, he/she will trigger interest in, and gain commitment to supporting financial innovation, and provide the funding for developing relevant business models. He/she will also demonstrate strong influencing and interpersonal skills, and ideally possess a good overview of EFInA’s programme areas and of financial inclusion in Nigeria, which will enable him/her to liaise effectively with EFInA’s CEO, Head of Programmes and Head of Knowledge and Evidence. 

This is a market making role which requires a highly numerate and analytical individual who demonstrates a high degree of maturity and integrity. He/she will have a strong strategic focus, be results driven, and committed to high standards of performance. He/she will proactively identify institutions with the capacity to deliver new projects that are both innovative and inclusive. 
The successful applicant will be comfortable negotiating change, taking responsibility and making complex strategic and operational decisions. Highly adaptable, creative, and used to delivering results in a dynamic and fluid working environment, the Head of Innovation Funding will rapidly assume a wide range of responsibilities and make decisive and tangible contributions to EFInA as soon as he/she joins the organisation.

Primary Relationships 
Reports to: Chief Executive Officer 
Department: Grants 
Directly Supervises: Grants Manager 
Manages external relationships with: Financial Services Providers; Regulators, including CBN, PenCom, SEC and NAICOM; Ministry of Finance; Industry Associations; Funders; Grantees; Consultants 

Principal Responsibilities and Accountabilities 
The role will include, but not be limited to the following responsibilities and accountabilities: 

Innovation Fund Management

  • Identify potential projects for the Innovation Fund that catalyse product innovation and support the delivery of EFInA’s programme at scale
  • Manage and ensure strategic oversight of all aspects of the Innovation Fund, including identifying projects, reviewing all proposals received and ensuring compliance with the Fund’s policies and procedures
  • With technical support of the Programme Managers, evaluate grant proposals and provide preliminary recommendations to the CEO, in compliance with Innovation Fund policies and procedures
  • Prepare comprehensive evaluations for all proposals for approval by the CEO and the Innovation Fund Committee
  • Review and finalise grant agreements prepared by the Grants team for the CEO’s approval
  • Support the implementation of funded projects by sourcing technical experts if required
  • Develop and establish a grants monitoring system and provide oversight on its application and ongoing development to ensure it meets EFInA’s needs; ensure all grantees are adequately monitored
  • Review and finalise the quarterly project monitoring reports prepared by the Grants team for the CEO’s approval
  • Review and finalise the project completion reports prepared by the Grants team for the CEO’s approval
  • Undertake or facilitate the due diligence process for potential grantees as required
  • Prepare the grant funding request to the Innovation Fund Committee for Technical Assistance Grants that have been pre-approved by the CEO
  • Update the Innovation Fund’s Policies and Procedures as required
  • In conjunction with the Head of Programmes, prepare Requests for Proposals for Innovation Grants, for approval by the CEO
  • Upon completion of the grantee’s project, commission an impact assessment of the project and ensure lessons learned are disseminated

EFInA’s Strategic Development and Implementation of the Innovation Fund

  • Support the CEO in expanding EFInA’s funding activities in line with the organisation’s five year strategy. This will include ensuring that projects funded reach scale
  • Ensure EFInA’s research is used to stimulate product innovation to deepen Nigeria’s financial sector
  • Support EFInA’s strategic objectives by producing succinct notes, backed by evidence (data) and/or feedback from stakeholders and grantees, which clearly identify potential new areas for strategic focus
  • Represent EFInA as directed by the CEO, promoting EFInA’s vision, mission and strategic goals
  • Contribute to the development of the financial sector and EFInA’s position as a thought leader within it by engaging in relevant discussions
  • Identify and take actions to mitigate any risks associated with the grant making function

Stakeholder Management

  • Work with the Head of Programmes to cultivate and manage relationships with key stakeholders such as financial services providers, regulators (especially the CBN, SEC, NAICOM and NDIC), Ministry of Finance, and industry associations and trigger interest in, and gain commitment to the uptake of grants to deliver innovative projects
  • Actively market the Innovation Fund to key external stakeholders, to build a strong pipeline by using a variety of channels including events, workshops and engaging in institutional dialogue. This includes developing and executing a marketing strategy that increases the awareness and understanding of the Innovation Fund

Staff Development 
For all staff directly reporting to this position: 

  • Lead, coach, and mentor the Grants team to ensure customer focus and high standards of delivery
  • Ensure that any output from the Grants team meets EFInA’s high standards of delivery
  • Develop a learning culture by sharing best practices and successes between the Innovation Funding Department and different parts of the organisation
  • Identify and provide ongoing formal/informal capacity development opportunities
  • Monitor, manage and report on the performance including setting monthly performance objectives and timelines, as reflected in their annual job plan
  • Conduct monthly reviews
  • Conduct annual performance appraisals and ensure that their annual job plans are complete

Additional Responsibilities

  • Leverage other DFID related projects/programmes, as required
  • Take responsibility for own continuous professional development by proactively identifying and participating in formal/informal learning opportunities
  • Ensure that EFInA’s Total Quality Management systems are embedded across all activities undertaken in the Grants Department, to create an environment in which all team members are committed to maintaining high standards of work in every aspect of EFInA’s operations
  • Perform any other duties as may be assigned by the CEO


Job Competencies and Capabilities 
Qualifications & Experience 


  • Master's degree in Statistics, Economics, International Development, Public Policy or related field, from a reputable institution
  • Minimum of ten years’ financial sector experience with a proven track record in a fund management role
  • Demonstrated experience in a complex or pioneering environment and of managing or facilitating change
  • Strong relationship management experience with the ability to effectively engage with a diverse range of stakeholders at the highest level
  • Supervision and leadership experience
  • Experience in assessing and evaluating proposals


  • Experience working in a successful financial sector innovator
  • Direct experience of working in Nigeria and internationally
  • Experience in statistical modelling and analysis
  • Experience in one or more of EFInA’s strategic areas


  • Fund management skills
  • Inspires and leads teams to achieve results and high standards of excellence
  • Demonstrated ability to drive continuous improvement in processes and systems
  • Works well independently and as part of a team
  • Highly numerate, with strong analytical and problem solving skills
  • Proven ability to produce concise, well-structured, and very high quality reports and presentations
  • Ability to interpret and analyse large amounts of information and data
  • Very high level of attention to detail and accuracy
  • Very strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Very strong presentation skills
  • Strong public speaking skills
  • Effective influencing and relationship building skills, including at senior levels
  • Advanced level competency in Microsoft Word, Excel. Project and PowerPoint
  • Fluency in other languages desirable

Personal Qualities

  • Commitment to the financial inclusion agenda
  • Energetic leader with a strong vision and passionate commitment for EFInA’s strategic objectives who will drive sectoral changes
  • Committed to delivering high quality results, with cost-effective use of resources
  • Highly professional, organised and efficient; able to multi-task effectively and prioritise work based on minimal direction and multiple competing priorities
  • Gravitas, credibility and ability to initiate and develop strategic partnerships and alliances
  • Integrity and high personal ethical standards
  • Works well under pressure and meets deadlines
  • Can-do approach
  • Driven and a self-starter
  • Innovative
  • High levels of initiative
  • Enterprising attitude that is quick to search out alternative solutions to needs or problems
  • Positive, flexible, supportive attitude to work
  • Exhibits a helpful behaviour beyond strict job requirements
  • Discreet and respects confidentiality
  • Confident
  • Resilient

Remuneration: Competitive

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