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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

Programme Director, Canopy, Accelerator and Incubator
Salary: £56,587-£60,022
Ref: EN31813
Closing Date: 14 August 2022


This is an exciting and visible role for a talented individual to lead CISL's Canopy start-up incubator and accelerator programmes, and to grow our portfolio of sustainable innovation activities within a leading international community for sustainability leadership.

The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) is a globally influential institute working to develop leadership and solutions for a sustainable economy. Through focused collaboration between business, government and finance institutions, we believe the economy can be 'rewired' to deliver positive outcomes for people and the environment. Our global network of 27,000 individuals is taking action on every continent.

The Programme Director will be responsible for the effective delivery and oversight of the Accelerator team and Canopy, CISL's new startup incubator and co-working space in central Cambridge. This is a substantial part of CISL's new headquarters, that has been retrofitted to very high sustainability standards. Essential to this will be effective collaboration with other business support providers and incubation environments. The post holder will develop and manage the team to deliver a unique sustainability programme to support the growth of innovative startups and SMEs with potential solutions to global issues.

Core to this role is creating a public facing service in the heart of Cambridge, which leverages the best of Cambridge University spin outs with sustainability solutions, alongside the wider ecosystem of sustainability driven SMEs regionally, nationally and internationally. It is also about creating a productive interface between global corporations, policy-makers and decision-makers and the SMEs who can bring the innovation needed to positively disrupt business-as-usual for a sustainable economy.

You will seek to leverage the CISL network of staff, international offices, Fellows, Corporate & Finance partners - and Cambridge academics - to form a supportive, open and ambitious ecosystem for fledgling sustainability innovations to take hold and scale - under our Canopy.

Applicants must be committed to the values that underpin CISL's work and demonstrate the following essential skills and experience:

  • Experience working with entrepreneurs, start-ups and SME businesses through capacity building, incubation and/or acceleration services
  • Strong track record in proposition development and in identifying and securing major funding and developing strategic partnerships.
  • Proven ability to identify potential business opportunities and turn them into active revenue generating projects, particularly around innovation support activities.
  • In-depth understanding of sustainability challenges and opportunities for business, mainly small businesses but also how they interface with large companies and organisations.
  • Experience in working with senior leaders from business or the public sector.
  • Excellent relationship skills and a proven ability to build, grow and maintain relationships with key leaders.
  • Understanding of relationship marketing techniques and project management techniques.

The following qualifications and experience are desirable:

  • Accelerator and/or co-working or incubator experience
  • Experience of developing products and services in a sustainability context relevant to business.
  • An active network of contacts within the sustainability or related fields such as partnership, diversity management, governance.
  • Experience in turning one-off projects into repeatable programmes.
  • Major partnership development and management.

Entopia is an international exemplar sustainable office space for our 140 staff, 200+ membership of sustainability-focused startups and SMEs; and a convening point for our 27,000 global community of action, and the Cambridge sustainability community.

How to apply

Click the 'Apply' button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

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If you have any questions about this vacancy or the application process, please contact Human.Resources@cisl.cam.ac.uk.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society. To find out more on how the University supports equal opportunities please visit https://www.equality.admin.cam.ac.uk/.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.


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