The Entrepreneurship and Private Sector Development program (EPSD) works with leading academic researchers, governments, foundations, international organizations, NGOs, and private sector partners to develop policy-relevant evidence on entrepreneurship, business growth, and job creation. EPSD grew out of IPA’s Small and Medium Enterprise program which has generated nearly 200 rigorous evaluations to date, a strong and active network of researchers and partners, and leadership and guidance from a world-class group of academic advisors to the program.

Together with its partners, the EPSD program is pursuing a broad set of priorities, including, women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment, innovation and technology adoption, and environmental sustainability. The broader mandate of the program also allows for further explorations into industrial and trade policy, and other contributions to economic growth.

The EPSD Director will be IPA’s in-house expert on entrepreneurship and private sector development, working externally at a global level and internally with IPA’s policy, global communications and Right-Fit-Evidence teams and 22 country offices to develop a robust-body of policy-relevant evidence and move effective interventions along the path to scale.

  • Refine the EPSD Program’s vision, scope, and research agenda in collaboration with EPSD’s academic advisory group
  • Work closely with EPSD’s research network and IPA teams to identify and develop policy-relevant opportunities for new projects contributing to EPSD’s priority research agenda
  • Build relationships to expand EPSD’s research network with a focus on diversity and inclusion, and representation of researchers from countries where the research takes place
  • Represent IPA and share evidence at high-level external policy and research functions
  • Develop and maintain relationships with key partners in the sector, including academics, funders, governments, NGOs, and policy partners.
  • Spearhead fundraising efforts to support core sector activities and new research studies
  • Produce evidence summaries, policy brief, blog posts, and other communications materials to share findings and highlight new projects and sector trends
  • Lead global policy outreach and policy relationships in the sector, and coordinate with IPA teams for local policy outreach in individual countries
  • Hire and manage global staff, and support IPA country office staff, particularly in countries where EPSD is a priority sector, engaging with IPA partners to implement the Sector Program’s research and policy objectives in those countries
  • Design, fundraise for, and manage the administration of research funds to allocate funding to high-quality research projects which contribute to one or more elements of the Program’s priority research agenda.
  • Ensure smooth administration of the Program, including financial and administrative oversight, project management, and grant reporting
  • Advanced degree in Economics, Business, International Development, Finance, Public Policy, or related fields.
  • At least seven years of relevant work experience (three minimum with a Ph.D.) in research and evaluation and/or policy design and implementation in entrepreneurship, private sector development, small and medium enterprises, or related fields
  • Strategic thinker with strong vision for how to develop key partnerships that will lead to groundbreaking research and position IPA as a major voice in the sector
  • Excellent communication, client management and presentation skills
  • Demonstrated ability to raise funds; experience in proposal writing essential
  • Familiarity with quantitative research, impact evaluations and randomized trials, as well as with private sector development policies and issues facing small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain high-level relationships with both western and developing country partners, including donors, international development practitioners, or academic researchers
  • Experience managing staff and successfully working across teams
  • Project and grant management experience, including budget management, grant reporting, and coordinating diverse and diffuse co-workers
  • Demonstrated project management skills, including budgeting, attention to operational and research details, and ability to manage multiple projects efficiently
  • Notable experience with field research or program implementation in developing countries a plus.
  • Experience building a program and/or team a plus
  • Experience organizing policy events as well as producing policy resources and publications a plus
  • Ability to speak Spanish or French a plus.


Where do you want to work? As a truly global organization, IPA operates in 22 countries around the world. For most of our positions, staff can be based in any of our countries of operation.   We value and support flexibility as part of our hybrid workplace model for in person or remote work experiences to support individual workstyles, while balancing business needs. We believe in a hybrid workplace model in which employees have the option of working from home and/or any of our office locations, except for essential onsite roles. Throughout the recruiting process, you can discuss the options with your recruiter and hiring manager. See below for our country office locations:  

  • US: AZ, CA, CT, DC, FL, IL, IA, MD, MN, NJ, NY, NC, PA, TX, WV
  • Asia: Myanmar, Philippines, Bangladesh
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru
  • Africa: Burkina Faso, Côte D’Ivoire, Ghana,, Kenya Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zambia

Other Options: IPA also works through third party employer arrangement (Employer of Record) to accommodate global deployment of staff in locations where we don’t have official registration. Candidates must have work authorization for the country in which they would prefer to work.

Application Instructions 
About IPA 

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy nonprofit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor. In recent decades, trillions of dollars have been spent on programs designed to reduce global poverty, but clear evidence on which programs succeed is rare, and when evidence does exist, decision-makers often do not know about it. IPA exists to bring together leading researchers and these decision-makers to ensure that the evidence we create leads to tangible impact on the world. Since its founding in 2002, IPA has worked with over 600 leading academics to conduct over 900 evaluations in 52 countries. This research has informed hundreds of successful programs that now impact millions of individuals worldwide. 

IPA's Commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) 

As an organization, IPA is dedicated to improving the lives of the world's most vulnerable populations through evidence and policy. We also recognize how important it is for our staff to reflect the diversity of the places where we work and the communities we work with. As such, IPA is committed to hiring from a diverse pool of candidates, from a range of backgrounds, beliefs, experiences, and perspectives. We know that this makes our work stronger and more responsive to the challenges faced by those we work with and for and we encourage people from historically underrepresented groups to apply. Click here to learn more about IPA’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Innovations for Poverty Action is an affirmative action equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other protected class. IPA will endeavor to make a reasonable accommodation to a qualified applicant with a disability unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of our business. If you believe you require such assistance to complete this form or to participate in an interview, please contact us at or via phone at 1-202-386-6200. The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work to be performed by the specified position. The statements are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all possible duties, tasks, and responsibilities. Management reserves the right to amend and change responsibilities to meet organizational needs as necessary. Please note that IPA will never request any form of payment from an applicant. Applicants are encouraged to confirm the information listed above with IPA prior to releasing any extensive personal information to the organization. Please direct questions to

** Please note that only qualified applicants will be contacted by the hiring manager.