Create extraordinary impact in a globally critical sector
We’re looking for an impact-driven technologist to join a leading social business in Myanmar that is poised to make lasting change at scale. Myanmar’s 5+ million small farm households produce over 90 percent of the country’s food, yet remain largely poor, underserved, and lack access to critical agronomy services, farm technologies and farm finance. Proximity Designs currently serves hundreds of thousands of small-scale farmers each year. We’re looking to scale our solutions to impact greater numbers of rural people.
Since 2004, Proximity Designs has been disrupting the rural market with innovative, affordable products and services designed to increase farm productivity and incomes. We’ve reframed the way companies relate to small farmers and treat them as entrepreneurial customers, who want and deserve well-designed services. We’ve enabled over 900,000 farming households (approx. 3.9 million people) to increase their farm productivity and incomes, and prosper beyond extreme poverty.
We’re tackling another 1 million farm households over the next five years. To accomplish this, we’ll build a nationwide platform offering climate-smart farm products and services, provided by both Proximity and mission-aligned business partners.
This is a unique position for a technologist who is ready to support the transformation of agriculture into a key economic sector that can support millions of struggling, yet aspiring, rural people.
Transforming small-scale farming in Myanmar also has global implications. By 2050, global food production will need to exponentially increase to feed a predicted population of 9.6 billion. Yet, in many poor countries like Myanmar, small farms remain at the epicenter of hunger, extreme poverty and inequality, while facing extreme challenges from climate change. Farming has an outsized impact on global energy consumption, water, soil and climate change, so finding ways to meet the rising demand for food in a sustainable way will be essential to the long-term health of people and the planet.
Myanmar has digitally leapfrogged to become one of the most connected developing countries in the world. With the liberalization of the telecommunications market, mobile phone penetration in Myanmar skyrocketed, from 15 percent in 2013 to 97 percent by the end of 2017. With rapid advancements of digital infrastructure and explosive growth in mobile ownership (mostly smartphones), the farming sector is primed for transformation. While mobile money and e-commerce are still at early stages, the potential for using digital technology in Myanmar’s fast-changing landscape is huge.
Proximity Designs is now navigating this new landscape. Our customers are evolving to become “multi-channel” farmers who want to engage online, over the phone, in-person, or through ‘brick and mortar’ retail shops. As a business, our digital and data capabilities will be key to supporting our diverse sales channels, marketing and delivery of products and services. These digital capabilities will also be key to broadening our menu of farm services offerings from third party providers.
In this role, you will build the technology systems and strategies to undergird our shift to more virtual customer interactions and their related, multiple data sources. These systems are also critical to adding customer-facing digital services and apps in the future. Over the course of a two-year assignment, you will build our local team and develop our internal systems to scale alongside our growing operations. The work will start remotely. As Myanmar’s travel restrictions ease in mid-2021, you can begin making visits to Myanmar as needed. Relocation to Myanmar will also be an option.
Once You’re Here, You Will:
In addition to leading Proximity’s overall technology strategy, you will focus on the following areas:
1. Build and architect Proximity’s digital strategy.
You will work together with our CEO, Head of Operations and other senior leaders in pursuing Proximity’s ambitious, multi-year growth agenda. You will formulate and execute a technology strategy that supports our business + impact goals, and create a roadmap for our external and internal technology stacks. You will set best practices and an approach to building our digital infrastructure by integrating what we currently have, identifying upgrades needed and introducing new strategies where they will be the most impactful.
2. Identify and implement scalable IT systems, with particular emphasis on the growth and variety of our customer and operational data.
We are integrating our current businesses, strengthening our customer-facing brand and expanding our active customer base to serve over 500K farm families yearly by 2024. We’ll need to put in place common digital and data infrastructure that can scale alongside our expanding multi-channel sales operations. Our sales channels include: 1) a frontline field force that meets farmers in villages; 2) a network of hundreds of dealers and dozens of field branches; 3) a digital chatbot and virtual farm extension services; 4) a centralized contact center managing inbound queries and outbound sales; 5) a customer-facing app; and 6) in the future, external partners offering their own products and services to our customers. You’ll bring your business acumen alongside your technical skills, to work smoothly with functional teams leading each of these sales channels.
3. Build the capacity of our technology/digital teams, based on evolving business needs and emerging trends.
You will grow our IT Services, Digital and Data Analytics teams with the right talent. You will nurture existing teams by developing their skills, helping them set and achieve objectives, and fostering collaborative working relationships. In addition, you’ll identify additional talent and capabilities needed to grow our teams (with on-the-ground support from our People Operations team).
4. Manage external consultants, vendors and tech partners to implement key projects.
This is not a C-suite, hands-off position. To succeed in a startup-like culture in an emerging market, you’ll need to be able to dive into the details. Where our internal capacity requires additional support from consultants or vendors, you’ll need to effectively oversee and manage these projects. With the growth in ag-tech, especially for organizations serving developing markets, there will also be opportunities for partnerships to implement other technologies. Understanding the technical details, you will help filter through the sales pitches and noise to determine which partners make practical sense for our needs.
As the Chief Technology Officer, you will bring your wealth of technology experience and business acumen to our forward-thinking organization. You will be an impact-driven, intellectually curious and strategic leader with a successful track record of managing teams. You are able to create alignment between an organization’s product/service and technology strategies. You may be looking to take the next step in your career in technology-related roles. You will have an aptitude for critical thinking and creative problem solving, especially useful in difficult environments like Myanmar. You will be a hands-on people manager in a challenging and fast-paced environment, with the interpersonal skills to lead and motivate multi-disciplined and cross-cultural teams. You are willing to go the extra mile and are motivated to build the capacity of local staff.
Here’s your opportunity to:
- Join an award-winning and scaling social business
- Provide leadership to a large team of emerging Myanmar leaders
- Deliver innovative products and services at scale to a substantial, underserved frontier market
- Pioneer the use of technology and seize opportunities to leapfrog
- Engage with thought partners, supporters, innovators and investors from leading global institutions
If you are interested in joining us, please submit us your CV and
cover letter to [email protected]