I2E Talent Tool Project Manager

Posted by: NESsT

Oakland, CA, US


NESsT invests in enterprising solutions that provide dignified livelihoods and lift people out of poverty. Based on our belief that social innovators are best poised to solve social problems, we invest funds, business skills and mentor networks into social enterprises in emerging market countries.

The Idea2Entrepreneur (I2E) Talent Tool is one module of a suite of NESsT-developed tools to assist aspiring social entrepreneurs to identify pathways for developing their competencies in order to grow their enterprise and scale their impact. Many aspiring entrepreneurs hope to bring an idea to market but lack the entrepreneurial and managerial skills to succeed and very few resources currently exist to assist with evaluating preparedness for leading new ventures. The tool focuses on 12 core competencies that each entrepreneur should have during a specific stage of enterprise development. The entrepreneur completes a self-assessment survey and receives a summary of where they stand in relation to each competency as well as ways that they might address or overcome talent gaps. The outcomes of the assessment provide a baseline that is then used by the entrepreneur and his or her mentor to generate a talent development plan. With better talent at the helm, enterprises have a better success rate and can reach sustainability at a faster rate and serve more people in need. The online format of I2E allows entrepreneurs to chart a path forward tailored to their needs, supported by a mentor, and mapped out as they grow.

Over the next five years, NESsT will upload several capacity modules used with its portfolio to an online suite of tools that it will make available to a larger group of entrepreneurs. It is part of NESsT´s mission to strengthen the social enterprise ecosystem and given the well-documented talent gaps that currently exist in the sector, NESsT plans to disseminate widely the I2E Talent Tool among both aspiring and more seasoned entrepreneurs.

Progress to date

To date, NESsT has conducted research, incorporated best practices, and piloted a prototype of the I2E. Through the pilot, nearly 50 entrepreneurs and 40 intermediaries tested the tool and provided feedback. Overall, users felt that tool provided a tailored assessment of and feedback on talent gaps for the enterprise stage (prototype was done for validation stage). However, users found the tool to be text-heavy and a lacked a user friendly design.

NESsT is now seeking to incorporate these outcomes in a streamlined and user-centered I2E platform. As part of the development, NESsT plans to directly engage and test with 50 active users -through its own portfolio as well as that of several partners that work directly with entrepreneurs. NESsT will use this iterative development process to roll out the final tool.

NESsT anticipates sustaining and growing the program over time upon completion of the Cisco Systems support. By the end of the project timeline, NESsT will develop a sustainability plan for the tool, which includes an assessment of its potential to scale among the overall sector, and to become financially sustainable over time. The plan will include gathering market data from intermediary organizations as well as from other clients of the tool.

Through the sustainability plan, we anticipate scaling the adoption of the tool in 2018 and beyond and hope to reach approximately 5,000 entrepreneurs annually within 1-2 years. NESsT is actively pursuing additional funding opportunities for I2E and the broader suite of tools in development. Our hope is that this would allow us to strengthen the dissemination and adoption of the tool.

Objectives, timeline and deliverables

Objective One: Complete Technology Development (November)

  • Upgrade the current I2E Talent Tool static website to an online platform

Activities with milestones:

  • Review existing pilot technical feedback and User Experience Design project feedback
  • Develop specs and complete bidding process for product development provider
  • Develop a product development work plan.
  • Work with provider and complete technology development.


  • Signed contract with web/tool development provider
  • Product development work plan
  • New product completed

Objective Two: Complete Content Development (November-January)

  • Complete content development for all three stages of the enterprise lifecycle to expand its talent offering to a broader variety of social enterprises.

Activities with milestones:

  • Complete content development changes to Validate stage (both English and Spanish).
  • Expand content development beyond for Prepare to Scale and Startup stages (both English and Spanish).


  • Advisory Council created and feedback obtained
  • Expanded content completed
  • Tool translated to Spanish

Objective Three: Test the platform, gather feedback and make final changes.(February-April 2017)

  • Apply the tool with 50 social entrepreneurs, develop baseline and assess talent development progress in six months. NESsT will also gather feedback on redesigned tools effectiveness from entrepreneurs and mentors and make final changes to Tool.

Activities with milestones:

  • Coordinate the roll out of the tool with the NESsT Team and 1-2 intermediaries that will use the tool in both due diligence and portfolio processes and gather the baseline data of 50 entrepreneurs.
  • Gather qualitative feedback on redesigned tool’s effectiveness from 25 entrepreneurs and 5 mentors.
  • Make final content and technology changes to the Tool.


  • Baseline data
  • Feedback on tool’s effectiveness
  • Final tool
  • 6 month evaluation data from entrepreneurs and mentors

Objective 4: Lead project management.

  • Manage all activities, milestones and deliverables within deadlines and maintain NESsT Team informed of progress.

Activities with milestones:

  • Hold regular project management meetings with Project Lead (Nicole Etchart) and, when necessary, with NESsT Global team (Melanie Finke, Director of Operations and Communications, Roxana Damaschin, Global Portfolio Director) (ongoing)
  • Draft quarterly reports to be submitted to Cisco with support of Global Team


  • Meeting notes
  • Draft quarterly donor reports

Project Manager Qualifications

  • Degree in relevant field plus five years’ experience working with social entrepreneurs
  • Proven capacity to develop enterprise tools
  • Strong understanding of entrepreneur talent needs
  • Strong ability to write in both English and Spanish
  • Excellent project management skills
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Experience in online technology product development
  • Experience with user designed platforms a plus

Read more here:: Idealist