Openings

We are looking for Head – Urban Inclusion Policy at the Jana Group

At the Jana Group, we are committed to fixing India’s cities
Jana Group is one of India’s best-known groups of social enterprises working towards the mission of fixing India’s cities. Swati Ramanathan and Ramesh Ramanathan co-founded Jana Group in 2001 and it presently works across domains of citizen participation and city governance reforms (through Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy), city planning and design (through Jana Urban Space Foundation), banking and financial services(through Jana Small Finance Bank) and affordable housing(through Janaadhar). Towards our mission, we work through the above four different operating organisations each with its own distinct institutional form.

We are looking for Head – Urban Inclusion Policy at the Jana Group
The promoter stake in Jana Small Finance Bank and Janaadhar are held in a non-profit company called Jana Urban Foundation (the Foundation). The co-founders of Jana Group do not earn any salary, dividend or capital appreciation from any of its activities. The Foundation is an urban think tank based in Bangalore with a vision to transform urban India where enhanced quality of life is assured to all urban residents. The Foundation constantly strives to understand the world of aspirational urban households and incubates viable and scalable social business models that are central to inclusive development.

We are now looking for a deeply committed systems thinker and practitioner to join our team as Head – Urban Inclusion Policy based in Bengaluru and reporting to the Co-Founders. The Jana Group is a practitioner group. “Policy” in our vocabulary includes 1) actionable and solution-oriented research on challenges and solutions, 2) Publication of high quality engagement material 3) convening and aligning opinion leaders around our cause, diagnosis of problems and identification of solutions, and pathways to solutions 4) policy advocacy with governments and 5) facilitating implementation.

You will push the envelope on urban inclusion from new perspectives.

You will focus on the following areas in this role:

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
We believe there are far greater number of micro (rather nano) entrepreneurs in India than is currently understood. The flower seller, the tender coconut seller, the momo seller are all entrepreneurs who belong to the bottom of the pyramid, but have chosen to help themselves by displaying a true spirit of entrepreneurship. Yet, policy definitions in India, the financial services industry in general and the urban/inclusion/MSME policy frameworks today are not geared to understand and serve this already burgeoning and thriving community of entrepreneurs. With rising urbanisation and migrations, we in the Jana Group believe understanding and solving for truly small enterprises, by understanding their landscape fully, by defining them, and by evolving and advocating for policy and practice solutions that enable them to access full range of financial services, improve productivity and scale their enterprises will be crucial to the next phase of economic growth, job creation and livelihoods in India. This will include codifying the degrees of formalisation that currently exist, evolving ways to locate enterprises along this axis and evolving policy and practice innovations based on the same (e.g. formalisation scorecards, graded credit scoring, reducing frictional costs to trade licences and other official requirements, aiding scale etc.).

Property Titling
We believe property titling (including but not restricted to land titling), again (?) policy and practice, will be crucial to enabling aspirational households as well as informal entrepreneurs. Understanding the landscape of property titling, housing types, slum and habitation related issues in cities, creating typologies or hierarchy of property titles and linking them to access to financial services and the enterprise economy would be an important catalytic solution that solves for affordable housing, access to credit, and access to services, all at one go.

Academic partnerships for research on development and inclusion in cities
You will also identify and lead academic partnerships for further research that complements our work on urban inclusion, with the support of an appropriate team member. We have an existing relationship with the Brown University, USA for a research project called Jana-Brown Citizenship Index that seeks to understand among other things the relationship between citizenship and access to infrastructure and services in cities.

Synergies with Janaagraha and Jana Urban Space Foundation
Other organisations in the Jana Group such as Janaagraha and Jana Urban Space work in complementary areas such as urban infrastructure and services (policy), city governance reforms, municipal finance, master planning, land titling, urban design projects and so on. These are systemically linked to the above focus areas. You will closely understand the work of Janaagraha and Jana Urban Space, identify linkages with them and in due course explore and realise synergies between these efforts.

We are looking for you…
We are looking for you if you possess

  1. Appropriate academic background and professional work experience (preferably over 12 years), preferably in policy, social sector consulting, banking and financial services or other related fields
  2. Unlimited passion for transforming our cities over the long-term, particularly in the areas of financial inclusion, livelihoods and economic development – both at the level of families and as well as at city, regional and national levels
  3. Hands-on experience in the functioning of enterprise ecosystems, especially in informal sectors (through the entire value chain of micro-enterprise creation and scaling, access to credit and other banking services, dependencies on land and property, enterprise formalisation etc. and a recognition of the various interconnected components of development, in a framework that can be called ‘systems thinking’
  4. Ability and willingness to identify funding opportunities, write donor proposals and raise funds for ongoing and new projects and for building a sustainable organisation in the medium to long-term
  5. Ability to balance urgency in accomplishing daily/weekly/monthly activities and tasks, with patience in navigating the complex systems change of transforming citizenship in our cities; willingness to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty to get things done
  6. Experience, professionalism and communication skills required to engage with very senior stakeholders in business, government, academia, philanthropic and development sectors
  7. Excellent all-round communication skills, particularly writing
  8. The nuance to identify partnership opportunities and the perseverance to convert, nurture and scale them
  9. Systematic and responsive work approach to project management
  10. Ability and willingness to work with and across teams of diverse competencies including field surveyors, academics, design-thinking professionals, media, government officers and others, to pull projects to completion
  11. Reasonable familiarity or presence in social media and orientation to digital

You will be part of one of the most important development journeys in contemporary India
You will be part of one of the most important development journeys in contemporary India, that of enabling hundreds of millions of aspirational urban households, and hundreds of millions of migrants who will be moving to cities over the next few decades in search of opportunities and livelihoods for themselves and their families.
You will be part of a work environment that is characterised by passion and commitment, strong focus on practice and implementation yet backed by data and evidence, urgency in getting things done but patience to negotiate complex systems change, humility to recognise limitations of individuals and organisations and therefore recognition of alliances, networks and partnerships, is hugely innovative and oriented to big, bold ideas.
You will in due course be able to play a leadership role in the sector by shaping agendas at the leading edge of inclusion ideas not just in India but globally. You will not just be a policy wonk or thinker, but someone who translates vision into action.

If you are looking for us, please write to us at reachus@janafoundation.org