Small business advisers

We need small business owners and managers to advise organisations in poor communities.

Roles are generally longer term, ranging from one to two years, but we also have occasional short term assignments for up to six months.

You’ll have at least three years in management, with specific experience of small business development or advising small businesses (five years for short-term roles). An MBA is preferred for some (but not all) roles.

You’ll bring with you experience in marketing, business planning, financial management, staff management and training. You'll also be confident in identifying and implementing new business opportunities. Experience and knowledge of supply and value chains is highly desirable.

What you’ll be doing

You'll mainly be working with community-based organisations helping to develop all aspects of their business.

You’ll advise them so they'll become more productive, more sustainable and, most importantly, more prosperous, so they contribute to their local economy.

Countries in which you could be working include Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi, Nigeria or Sierra Leone.

  • Example role

Please note this is just an example placement to illustrate the kind of roles that may come up in your skill area. To view our live roles, click ‘Get started’ below.

Agribusiness adviser
The Philippines

The Philippines is an amazingly rich and diverse part of South East Asia, with more than 7,000 islands spread over 1,600 km. The Municipality of Hernani, on the Island of Samar, is struggling to ensure economic development and is trying to find ways to overcome this. This volunteer placement will focus on contributing to economic development though developing and improving various agriculturebased livelihood activities.

What you'll be doing

  • Identifing agribusiness opportunities and developing these into viable livelihood opportunities for communities
  • Mentoring communities who are involved in agribusiness projects
  • Assisting in the accessing of resources/writing of fundraising proposals for small enterprise development projects
  • Networking, coordinating and sharing expertise with the neighbouring municipalities

What you'll need

You will need a degree qualification in agribusiness, or another relevant subject, with at least three years of professional experience working in commerce. You will need to be able to work fairly autonomously, and be confident in decision-making. Excellent communication skills and the ability to work with others are important traits for this role. Flexibility, patience and a sense of humour are essential qualities for all VSO placements, as they will help you to adapt to live and work in a different culture. You’ll also need to be happy to work in a multicultural environment and work creatively with limited resources.

Next steps

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Bola Ojo, education manager, Rwanda

Bola Ojo (Rwanda - Education)

Giving something back to the community has been a life long passion for education manager Bola Ojo. Taking early retirement and volunteering with VSO International meant she could continue to contribute to the community – but this time internationally. She opted for a 12-week volunteer placement in Rwanda. At the same time as sharing valuable teaching and management skills that will help to improve standards in 126 local schools, she helped lay the foundations for a long-term volunteer to take her crucial work even further.



Are there any age restrictions?

VSO volunteers range between 28 and 75.