Acceso Fellowship Program for Graduate Students and Young Professionals

Acceso Fellowship Program

The Acceso Fellowship Program is a two to twelve-month program giving graduate students and driven young professionals the opportunity to obtain hands-on, real-world experience supporting or working within a portfolio of innovative social businesses.

About the Fellowship Program

Acceso currently operates a portfolio of four social businesses in Colombia, Haiti, and El Salvador, with several new opportunities under analysis in new geographies. Across our agribusinesses, we have impacted more than 15,000 smallholder farmers and farm workers, generating more than $44m in farmer income to date.

Changing lives at scale through innovative social business models is a task requiring the collaboration of creative, entrepreneurial, and bright minds from a variety of backgrounds from around the globe. The Acceso team, including senior management of its businesses, is currently comprised of 20+ individuals in four countries from a variety of backgrounds including private equity, engineering, impact investing, consulting, logistics, agriculture, international development, sales, and accounting. In just over five years, our innovative model has scaled to annual portfolio revenues of over $20m and breakeven EBITDA. Our model incorporates numerous partners including major national and international retailers, fast food chains, hotels, foundations, and impact investors including Acumen and Global Partnerships.

As we continue to scale our businesses and replicate our model, we are seeking motivated graduate students and young professionals looking to tackle the intricacies of operating social businesses first-hand. By joining our team, Acceso fellows will directly learn from Acceso experts about operations management, business case development, best practices in farmer management, financial and social reporting, and other topics.

The Acceso Fellowship Program is a two to twelve-month program (dependent upon agribusiness project needs and fellow schedules), throughout which Acceso fellows will have the unique opportunity to obtain hands-on, real-world experience within a portfolio of social businesses.

There are two types of placements:

  • New York-based placements working with Acceso’s central team in New York for graduate students or young professionals in the U.S.
  • In-country placements working directly with Acceso agribusinesses in Colombia, Haiti and El Salvador. At this time because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, candidates must be local and already based in those countries to apply.

Based on experience and interest level, Acceso fellows will tackle real issues, develop strategies, and oversee projects in diverse work areas ranging from data management, finance and accounting, operations, social impact, and fundraising. The fellowship is unpaid, however Acceso will cover all fellowship-related travel expenses and in some cases provide a modest monthly stipend. Additionally, we are exploring partnership opportunities with universities so that students can obtain academic credit and/or funding from their institution.


Examples of past fellowship projects

  • Overseeing setup and deployment of farmer network management platform (Haiti).
  • Developing marketing plan for new export products (New York).
  • Developing and deploying operations dashboards (Côte d’Ivoire).
  • Coaching local sales teams and developing new sales dashboard tools (Haiti).
  • Updating and delivering new farmer training modules (Haiti).
  • Planning and executing operational expansion to new regions (Indonesia).
  • Financial modeling and rollout of new systems and software (Colombia).

 

Current projects seeking Acceso fellows

  1. Developing and implementing export strategies for multiple products from Acceso agribusinesses (New York with possible travel to Haiti, Colombia and El Salvador) Filled
  2. Improving Acceso agribusiness financial, operational and social data analytics (New York with possible travel to Haiti, Colombia and El Salvador) Filled
  3. Leading pre-construction phase for new processing and collection centers (Haiti)
  4. Deploying farmer to consumer traceability tool (Colombia and El Salvador)
  5. Improving farmer training programs and incorporating updated services (Haiti and Colombia)


Fellow profiles and requirements

Fellows are proven professionals who contribute valuable business acumen and experience to our teams on the ground. Skills we look for include:

  • strong analysis and research
  • business plan development
  • financial modeling
  • operations
  • organizational development
  • project and time management
  • marketing


Experience and other criteria we look for:

  • Minimum of two years’ full-time work experience, often in management consulting, financial services, corporate strategy, logistics, international development or industry
  • High degree of enthusiasm and flexibility
  • A passion and commitment to effect social change
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to work comfortably in unfamiliar, entrepreneurial, fast-paced, and challenging environments
  • Strong team player and experience working with cross-cultural and international teams
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite including Excel and PowerPoint
  • Proficiency in Spanish, French, and/or Haitian Creole is required for in-country positions


How to apply

We welcome applications on a rolling basis. The Acceso Fellowship Program aligns candidate skills and interests with project requirements, and applicants are interviewed as new opportunities emerge. Please note that the process for becoming an Acceso fellow is highly selective and competitive.

To apply, please email your resume and a cover letter detailing your interest in the program, what part it will play in your career development, current project of interest, and timing/length of service to info@acceso.org with the subject “Acceso Fellowship Program”.

 

Current project overviews

Fellowship 1: Developing and implementing export strategies for multiple products from Acceso agribusinesses (Filled)

Location: New York, U.S. with possible travel to Haiti, Colombia and El Salvador
Language requirements: English
Minimum duration: Two months

Objectives: Acceso agribusinesses typically service local demand prior to launching export operations. Given operations, supply, and sales are now well established, Acceso agribusinesses are commencing expansion into export products to grow demand for existing products, increase margins, and/or diversify sales portfolios. More specifically, Acceso Haiti launched initial sales of Lavi Spicy Peanut Butter (www.laviforhaiti.com) in the U.S. in December 2019 and Acceso El Salvador plans to start export of tilapia in 2021. Acceso is seeking a fellow to evaluate and develop export strategies for individual products across its portfolio agribusinesses, as well as support implementation of strategies for products ready or soon to be prepared for export.

Description: The fellow will work directly with Acceso’s Associate Directors and agribusiness managers to organize and assess top export opportunities and develop detailed and data-driven strategies for implementation. For products under consideration, the fellow will develop frameworks and assess and rank opportunities based on market size, margins, risk, and other considerations. Following this analysis, the fellow will then make recommendations on which opportunities should be pursued with detailed strategy. For previously selected products in export pipeline, the fellow will assess, update and organize export strategies, and plan and support execution with Acceso and agribusiness managers.

Tasks:

  • Develop opportunity analysis framework to rank and organize potential export products. Include market sizing and trends, competition, required certifications, potential customers, logistics, etc. to complete preliminary opportunity analysis.
  • Produce or update multi-year financial models using data from agribusinesses, sales targets, logistics costs and other assumptions based on research, case studies, and real quotations.
  • Develop detailed strategy for shortlisted opportunities including targeted sales channels, marketing plan, certifications, partnerships, legal, and key responsibilities.
  • Support execution of export strategies for targeted shortlisted opportunities working directly with Acceso and agribusiness teams to meet or exceed sales targets.


Deliverables:

  • MS PowerPoint-based opportunity analysis framework with selection of top five export opportunities across Acceso agribusinesses
  • MS Excel-based, five-year financial model for top five export opportunities
  • MS PowerPoint-based detailed export strategy for top five export opportunities
  • MS PowerPoint-based progress report for three shortlisted export opportunities
  • MS Word-based handover report outlining key responsibilities and recommendations on next steps


Specific qualifications:

  • Entrepreneur or business/market analysis experience
  • Strong financial modeling skills
  • Ability to work with diverse stakeholders and make data-driven assumptions
  • Strong project management skills and ability to work independently

 

Fellowship 2: Improving Acceso agribusiness financial, operational and social data analytics (Filled)

Location: New York, U.S. with possible travel to Haiti, Colombia and El Salvador
Language requirements: English
Minimum duration: Two months

Objectives: Acceso agribusinesses capture large amounts of financial, operational, and social data from trading, provision of credit, training, and other activities with thousands of smallholder farmers. Given rapid growth of operations and day-to-day complexities of operating in highly challenging environments, Acceso agribusiness managers often have limited bandwidth for in-depth data analysis and visualization. Specific examples for further analysis include correlation of training attendance to yields and sales volumes, patterns in credit deployment and repayment, and trends in seasonal pricing fluctuations. Acceso is seeking a fellow to organize, analyze and improve financial, operational and social data analytics across its portfolio of agribusinesses.

Description: The fellow will work directly with Acceso’s COO and agribusiness managers to organize and analyze existing financial, operational, and social impact data and provide data-driven insights and recommendations. The fellow will identify gaps in data collection and reporting at individual Acceso agribusiness or overall portfolio levels and make recommendations for improvement. The fellow will also help design and deploy a standardized and streamlined data collection, reporting, and analysis process from Acceso agribusinesses to Acceso central team, as well as develop improved data and performance visualization tools for reports to key Acceso stakeholders.

Tasks:

  • Organize and analyze existing financial, operational, and social impact data and provide data-driven insights and recommendations.
  • Identify gaps in data collection and reporting at individual Acceso agribusiness or overall portfolio levels and make recommendations for improvement.
  • Design and deploy a standardized and streamlined data collection, reporting, and analysis process.
  • Develop improved data and performance visualization tools for reports to key Acceso stakeholders. 


Deliverables:

  • MS OneDrive shared folder with all existing financial, operational, and social impact data and reports
  • MS PowerPoint and Excel-based analysis and data-driven insights and recommendations based on existing financial, operational, and social impact data
  • MS PowerPoint-based summary of areas for improvement and design of improved collection, reporting, and analysis process
  • MS PowerPoint and Excel-based (or other dashboard tool such as Tableau, Adaptive Insights, etc) reports for targeted Acceso stakeholders
  • MS Word-based handover report outlining key responsibilities and recommendations on next steps


Specific qualifications:

  • Management consulting experience
  • Strong financial modeling and data analysis skills
  • Experience with dashboards and other data visualization tools
  • Strong project management skills and ability to work independently

 

Fellowship 3: Leading pre-construction phase for new processing and collection centers

Location: Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Language requirements: Haitian Creole, French and English
Minimum duration: Three months

Objectives: Since 2014 Acceso Haiti has supported over 7,400 farmers through trainings, credit packages, seedling distribution and purchase commitments at fair market prices, generating over $4.38m in farmer income. Through these efforts, Acceso Haiti has aggregated, tested, and delivered over 1,300 MT of peanuts to dozens of buyers, and served as a critical, value-creating intermediary between smallholder farmers, domestic and international buyers, and numerous organizations in Haiti. Acceso Haiti’s next phase of growth will be driven by expanding existing activities, as well as adding new, high-value, and locally-processed products. To support this growth, Acceso Haiti has secured funding and developed design of two new facilities: 1) a new central aggregation and storage facility and 2) a new rural moringa processing facility. Acceso Haiti is seeking a fellow to lead pre-construction activities for both facilities to launch construction in Q3 for completion before end of 2020.

Description: The fellow will work directly with Acceso’s Associate Director and Acceso Haiti agribusiness managers to lead all pre-construction activities to ensure cost-effective, high-quality and on-time construction of new aggregation and processing facilities. The fellow will update project plans and budgets, finalize all design documents, request and obtain competitive bids, make recommendations on preferred contractors, assure all legal compliance, organize contract documents, and provide regular status updates on progress.

Tasks:

  • Update project plans and budgets based on new quotations and proposals from contractors.
  • Develop request for proposal documents for all key construction activities, distribute to targeted companies, and assess proposals based on standard criteria.
  • Make recommendations for preferred contractors and support contract negotiations.
  • Finalize all design documents with contractors using existing design information and expert input as needed.
  • Obtain all required legal documents and organize all contract documents, warrantees, and permits.
  • Develop progress tracking tools to report on project status against planning and budget.


Deliverables:

  • MS Excel-based project plans and budgets
  • MS Word-based request for proposals to solicit bids from contractors
  • MS PowerPoint-based assessment of bids and recommendation of contractors
  • AutoCAD or similar-based final design documents
  • MS Excel-based database of contracts, permits, and other legal documents
  • MS Excel-based tracking tools for project schedule and budget.
  • MS Word-based handover report outlining key responsibilities and recommendations on next steps


Specific qualifications:

  • Construction background and/or degree in civil or construction engineering
  • Strong network and knowledge of local contractors
  • Experience managing construction projects and budgets
  • Strong project management skills and ability to work independently

 

Fellowship 4: Deploying farmer to consumer traceability tool

Location: Bogotá, Colombia or San Salvador, El Salvador
Language requirements: Spanish
Minimum duration: Three months

Objectives: Our win-win model has helped major national and international retailers, fast food chains, and hotels increase their local sourcing and use their demand to drive impact in poor farming communities. To further cement Acceso’s value-proposition to buyers, as well as simplify the connection between consumers and the farmers that produce the products they buy, Acceso is deploying a traceability tool across its portfolio of agribusinesses. Acceso started this deployment in Acceso Haiti, for its export Lavi Spicy Peanut Butter, and is now seeking a fellow to lead setup of the farmer to consumer traceability tool in Colombia and El Salvador.

Description: The fellow will work directly with Acceso’s Associate Directors, Acceso’s Agronomy Manager, and Acceso Haiti agribusiness managers to lead deployment of the farmer to consumer traceability tool in Colombia and El Salvador. Working closely with Acceso and the technology provider, the fellow will analyze and develop selection criteria for selection of crops for rollout, gather all needed farmer data, photos and videos, develop detailed supply chain mapping and visuals, setup production community landing pages and deploy pilot for in-store sales.

Tasks:

  • Analyze and recommend optimal crops for rollout based on agribusiness and buyer feedback.
  • Gather all required farmer information using smallholder network management / data platform (FarmForce) as well as all necessary photos, videos, and other assets for each community selected for the pilot.
  • Complete visual supply chain mapping for selected crops from farm to buyer, obtaining all of the required photo and video assets.
  • Guide setup and content for community landing pages linked to pilot crops and QR codes.
  • Oversee pilot for in-store sales including marketing and troubleshooting to ensure smooth rollout.


Deliverables:

  • MS PowerPoint-based assessment and recommendation of pilot crops
  • MS PowerPoint-based compilation of data for landing page including farmer info, community description, photos and videos
  • MS PowerPoint-based supply chain mapping for pilot crops
  • Finalized landing pages linked to QR codes for pilot crops
  • MS Word-based handover report outlining key responsibilities and recommendations on next steps


Specific qualifications:

  • Graphic design, photo editing and/or database management experience
  • Strong project management skills and ability to work independently

 

Fellowship 5: Improving farmer training program and incorporating updated services

Location: Port-au-Prince, Haiti and Bogotá, Colombia
Language requirements: Haitian Creole and English or Spanish for Haiti, Spanish for Colombia
Minimum duration: Six months

Objectives: In addition to market access, credit distribution, and targeted inputs, Acceso agribusinesses also provide trainings to improve farmer productivity, efficiency, and production quality. Acceso agribusinesses use technicians based in highly productive sourcing regions that help plan production, host farmer trainings, and visit farmer parcels throughout production seasons. Acceso has developed dozens of targeted trainings, services, and contract structures across its agribusinesses. Acceso is seeking fellows to update all farmer training documents and tools based on latest best practices, the impact of previous trainings on farmer productivity, and the current portfolio of services and contract offerings.

Description: The fellows will work directly with Acceso’s Associate Directors, Acceso’s Agronomy Manager, and Acceso’s agribusiness managers to review all farmer training programs and services. Additionally, fellows will evaluate training needs based on importance of crop as a part of current and future portfolio, and shortlist target crops for training program focus. Based on review and assessment of existing tools, as well as latest best practices, services, and contract offerings, fellows will produce an updated, comprehensive and integrated farmer training program. Farmer training program will include recommended training and visit schedule, training materials, farmer contracts, service descriptions, and other promotional materials.

Tasks:

  • Aggregate and review all existing training programs, services, and contract documents.
  • Assess impact of previous training programs and evaluate and shortlist targeted focus crops for future training program based on agribusiness feedback.
  • Update and ensure integration of all training program documents and tools, including updated Acceso branding.
  • Develop schedule for updated training program deployment and ensure integration into FarmForce for ongoing impact assessment of program effectiveness both at individual technician and overall network levels.


Deliverables:

  • MS Word-based assessment of existing farmer training materials and programming
  • MS PowerPoint-based assessment and recommendations of crop-focused trainings
  • MS PowerPoint-based updated training materials including overview of services and contract schemes
  • MS Word-based comprehensive summary of training program and all corresponding documents and tools
  • MS Word-based training program schedule for technicians including integration into FarmForce
  • MS Word-based recommendations for future, on-going evaluations of training effectiveness and impact
  • MS Word-based handover report outlining key responsibilities and recommendations on next steps


Specific qualifications:

  • Farmer training, extension and sourcing background and/or degree in agronomy
  • Familiarity with interactive training methods
  • Experience developing training programs for farmers
  • Strong project management skills and ability to work independently