Mobile World Live GSMA Intelligence

Market Engagement Manager, Ecosystem Accelerator Programme

Role type
Mobile for Development
South East Asia - Homeworker
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Ecosystem Accelerator Programme

The Ecosystem Accelerator scales innovative and sustainable mobile services in emerging markets through partnerships between operators and innovators. By opening the dialogue between start-ups and operators, the programme helps operators contribute their assets and expertise to the most promising ideas. This in turn supports start-ups to secure the funding and direction they require in order to bring their products and services to scale. In fostering these partnerships, the programme brings the most impactful mobile solutions to the people and places that need them most, generating the greatest socio-economic impact. Through its Innovation Fund, the programme provides funding, technical assistance and matchmaking with mobile operators to carefully selected mobile start-ups with a positive socioeconomic impact in Africa and Asia Pacific. The team is structured around Insights & Dissemination, Market Engagement, Marketing and Project Management.

The Market Engagement Manager will report to the M4D Director for Asia Pacific, and work directly with the Senior Market Engagement Manager based in Nairobi and the rest of the Market Engagement team across Africa and Asia Pacific to:

  1. Identify and coach applicants to the Innovation Fund, and mentor selected Innovation Fund start-ups across emerging markets in Asia Pacific

  2. Promote robust partnerships between start-ups and mobile operators, in particular for Innovation Fund start-ups

  3. Support regional and local operators in their efforts to develop start-up-friendly strategies, for instance around the use of APIs

  4. Build and manage other relationships with key regional and local stakeholders, including local tech hubs, VCs, etc.

Responsibilities will include and are not limited to the following

  1. The Market Engagement Manager will be actively involved in the selection and support of start-ups to the Innovation Fund, including due diligence and contracting. The final selection however is managed by an independent Selection Panel

  2. The Market Engagement Manager will be responsible for mentoring a sub-portfolio of start-ups financed and contracted through the programme’s Innovation Fund. Management and coordination of regular meetings with grantees and reporting with the independent Fund Manager

  3. By working with the Senior Market Engagement Manager, be responsible for managing and supporting the delivery of projects leading to the achievement of the objectives of the programme

  4. Input on monitoring and evaluation framework and guidelines to assess grant impact

  5. Support on projects (including running workshops) which provide hands-on support to selected operators that are willing to serve as innovation partners. Work with selected mobile network operators to develop a plan to strengthen their position in the innovation ecosystem.

  6. Provide thought leadership and advisory support to start-ups and mobile operators to analyse market opportunities, conduct consumer insights research, design products and services, launch and scale existing initiatives, and monitor commercial and social results

  7. Build relationships with operators across the region in order to identify strategic opportunities to provide support and develop initiatives that align with the programme’s core objectives. Provide support to mobile network operators on key programme activities and market opportunities

  8. Help identify practical examples of key barriers which are currently limiting the opportunity for innovation partnerships or ecosystem development - and best practices in overcoming these barriers. Support development of reports for internal and external stakeholders in cooperation with the Insights team

  9. Where relevant, drive – in collaboration with the Insights team – the efforts of the programme on promoting innovator-friendly APIs approaches by Mobile operators. Translate the programme’s plan into on-the-ground actions when it comes to supporting mobile operators in implementing innovator-friendly APIs initiatives across selected countries in Asia Pacific.

  10. Participate in and present at relevant GSMA events and those of external regional partners to disseminate resources and insights, as well as to continue to position the programme in these forums. Contribute to local GSMA-branded events where applicable.

  11. Input on reporting for internal purposes, Programme Leadership Group (operator steering committee) and donors amongst others, in collaboration with the Programme Manager.

  12. Collect and analyse data and document insights and learnings. This would include producing blogs and other publication material.

  13. Collaborate with other programmes in Mobile for Development department, to maximise the impact of programme activities


The right candidate will be able to draw on a solid foundation of industry and emerging markets knowledge, project management expertise, as well as the ability to engage stakeholders, communicate effectively, and rapidly adapt to different cultures.


  • Experience of working with multiple stakeholders including mobile operators and ‘innovators’ (i.e. start-ups, developers, entrepreneurs, SMBs, social enterprises)

  • Strong commercial background and ability to set up and drive multi-stakeholder projects

  • Working experience within a mobile operator highly desirable. Good understanding of telecom APIs (mainly SMS, USSD and Billing) a plus.

  • Experience of working in Asia Pacific, with a good understanding of the innovation ecosystem in the region. Working experience supporting (or running) start-ups in Asia Pacific highly desirable.


  • An MBA, International Development, Business, Engineering or Computer Science post-graduate degree is preferred.


  • Strong strategic skillset – able to work on the “cutting edge” of M4D services, to help determine how to successfully scale innovation.

  • Strong analytical capabilities – able to assess different business models, understand what is working or not in different contexts as well as to identify potential solutions.

  • Excellent communicator, able to express complex technical or commercial issues clearly.

  • Excellent cultural awareness and desire to work with teams around the globe.

  • Excellent relationship management skills at an executive level.

  • Fluency in English.


  • Genuinely interested in both the commercial and social benefits presented by mobile technology.

  • A self-starter, highly motivated to manage projects and drive them through to completion.

  • A team player; experience working in a remote team.

  • Ability to demonstrate sound judgment in escalating issues and formulating solutions.

  • Willingness to travel on a regional and international basis. Market Engagement Manager should expect to travel 30% of the time with peak times.

  • Strong preference for candidates with the appropriate work permit in place for the location they are applying to be based in.