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Head of Innovation

£45,000 - £55,000 per annum (depending on experience)
London, UK
Download Job Description

Youth Business International is seeking a Head of Innovation to help us deliver our ambitious strategy to deliver a step change in the number of young people accessing our products and services and, in our ability, to equip them to thrive in a digital, globalised world.

This role provides an exciting opportunity to become a key member of a dynamic international NGO supporting under-served young entrepreneurs around the world.

About YBI

Youth Business International (YBI) is a global network of expert organisations supporting underserved young people to turn their ideas into successful businesses, creating jobs and strengthening communities.

Locally rooted network leading to global impact

Established in 2000, YBI brings together organisations with aligned goals to develop and scale the most effective solutions to the critical challenges facing young entrepreneurs and catalyse positive change in entrepreneurship culture.

Since 2014 we have supported over 95,000 young people to start or grow a business by delivering a range of practical entrepreneurship support services, from guiding a young person to register a new business and improving their bookkeeping skills to helping them write a business plan or grow their fledgling business through facilitating access to finance.

Our expert members

Our members operate in over 50 countries around the world.

They are diverse, ranging from training organisations, microfinance institutions, mentoring specialists to business associations and incubators.  Locally rooted and locally led, members combine deep contextual knowledge with YBI’s sector-leading global expertise and tools.

The Network effect

YBI is supported by the Network Team, based in London, UK and Bogotá, Colombia.

This small, passionate team are committed to equipping members with the most effective solutions to empower youth with the right tools to start and grow sustainable businesses. As a network, we learn, innovate and influence together to drive impact for young entrepreneurs and their communities.

Our values are embedded in everything we do:

  • Tenacity - We won't give up until every young entrepreneur has the opportunity to succeed
  • Collaboration - We work together as a team, building trust to connect and empower
  • Quality - We strive to set the highest standards in youth entrepreneurship support

Role Overview

This is an exciting opportunity for someone with a passion for innovation to work for a dynamic, international charity, leading and championing innovation across the YBI Network.

You will be working with the team in London and our network members around the world to ensure they receive the support they need to ideate and develop new and innovative products and services that can have a positive impact for young entrepreneurs and be scaled on a regional and global level.

As the Head of Innovation, you will be a strong motivator who views innovation as a way to unlock the ideas of others through using user-centred design and creating the right conditions for innovation to flourish.

You will lead this relatively new area of our work looking to test new approaches and evolve our emergent innovation services for our members. You will also explore and test our very early plans around an “Innovation Lab” approach to support our work and will be essential in guiding our medium and long-term strategy as well as an approach on innovation in general. 

We are looking for a professional who has extensive knowledge and experience in the innovation space, ideally with digital and non-digital innovations, demonstrating ability to take a pragmatic and hands-on approach to finding creative ways to resolve issues and drive the benefits of adoption of innovation approaches and thinking in our work.

It is also essential that you can work from a place of empathy with our various stakeholders: members, YBI network team, young entrepreneurs and finally our partners/funders.

Key Responsibilities


  • Support YBI in the development and execution of medium and long-term Innovation strategies focused on our member services and products, and related delivery approaches. 

Member services

  • Review, refine and oversee the next steps in our emerging Innovation services – currently these are:
     - Innovation Challenge: awards grants to members to fund development or scaling of an  Innovation through a global competition;
     - Digital Accelerator: supports our members to advance on their journey to digital maturity and explore or expand digital solutions to improve their services or operations;
     - Innovative Business Models Programme: helps members identify and test new ways of organizing and selling their services to increase sustainability and scale.
  • Design and run online capacity building activities on innovation (e.g.

    webinars and Q&A sessions) for YBI members;

  • Lead the initial design, prototyping and testing of our approach to more effectively transferring services and innovations across the network through some type of marketplace of ideas and products;

  • Gather, analyse and share insight generated content through work delivered and from the broader world of innovation via writing blogs and opinion pieces; 

  • Own the creation of digital content, templates and best practice guides on innovation for the YBI network in the online community that will best support members.

    Engage with experts in the sector to produce content where possible. 

Network team

  • Design, test, launch and lead plans for our “Innovation Lab” – where the focus will be creating and upskilling an internal team to work and engage a range of stakeholders in problem-solving activities to drive collaborative innovations both for the broader network and for our own innovation led services;

  • Support the design and implementation of innovative projects, products and services across all teams, guaranteeing that principles of UCD are embedded in every stage of their development;

  • Work collaboratively with YBI development team to contribute to innovation aspects of proposals, plans and budgets;

  • Support programme managers on all reporting requirements related to innovation deliverables.

External events

  • Attend conferences representing YBI on the topic of innovation and share and present our work at external events for the network;

  • Support the design and delivery of all innovation related content for our annual global events for members and partners;

  • Refine the YBI Innovation Awards, to be held at our Global Masterclass in June, and support the communications team in producing case studies and external materials about winners.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying, please send your CV (maximum 2 x A4) and a covering letter to [email protected]

Your covering letter (maximum 2 x A4) should: 

  • Explain why you want this job; 
  • Explain how your background and experience make you a suitable candidate – please use examples of specific projects and achievements; 
  • Show what relevant skills and knowledge you will bring, referring to the person specification; 
  • Confirm you have an existing right to work in the UK (we are unable to accept applications otherwise);
  • Confirm where you saw this job advertised.

Youth Business International is an equal opportunity employer and we are opposed to discrimination on any grounds.

We are committed to creating a diverse environment, therefore all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to disability, race, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, or ethnic or national origin.

At YBI, your right to privacy is important to us.

From IPOs to Innovation

By applying for this job, your information will be entered into our recruitment system for YBI’s employment purposes only and for no longer than one year after the post has been filled; then personal data will be disposed of in a GDPR compliant manner. We store all data securely and will not disclose it to any third parties without your consent. Please see our Data Protection Policy here to find out more.


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