Innovation & Entrepreneurship Head – Central and Eastern Europe

Climate-KIC CEE
25 Jul 2018
Director CEE
As soon as possible
Warsaw, Poland

Business Background

EIT Climate-KIC (Knowledge and Innovation Community) is the EU’s largest public-private partnership addressing climate change through innovation. Our community consists of over 300 leading partners from business, academia, the public sector and NGOs. Our purpose is to help create a prosperous, inclusive, climate resilient society founded on a circular, zero-carbon economy.

We focus on levers of systemic change, looking for where innovation is most needed to accelerate deep decarbonisation (elimination of fossil fuels and negative carbon) and effective adaptation. EIT Climate-KIC is predominantly grant-funded by the European Institute for Innovation and Technology, a body of the European Union and acts as a platform to work across boundaries and across sectors, fostering innovation as a catalyst for transformation. We:

  • provide funding,
  • facilitate the creation of innovation consortia,
  • work together with our partners to take a portfolio approach to innovation options,
  • challenge and seek to enrich business model design,
  • offer tailored support for experimentation, implementation and scaling, and
  • incubate very early stage ideation and pre-seed innovation.

To make ourselves accessible to key actors and ‘challenge owners’, we work along four priority themes: urban transitions, sustainable land use, sustainable production systems, and decision metrics and climate finance. In all four areas, we place an emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation design, on education as a driver of behavioural change through new skills and capabilities and on policy innovation. We run programmes for students, start-ups and innovators across Europe via centres in major cities and regions, convening a community of excellence in people and organisations.

We balance strategic innovation, aimed at renewing core business models, with a significant portfolio of bottom-up innovation – e.g. through our start-up accelerators – to learn, evaluate and continuously adjust our efforts to impact climate change. Ultimately, we aim to become a leader in systemic innovation that contributes to a paradigm shift from a linear, industrial production system to a circular, regenerative model, leveraging the power of our unique community of innovators and inspiring change beyond it.


Purpose of the role

As Innovation and Entrepreneurship Head for the CEE Geography you will be accountable for developing and implementing an effective innovation and entrepreneurship strategy for CEE region, working closely with the Director – CEE and our partners in the region. You will take advantage of Climate-KIC’s network across Europe and potentially beyond, connecting innovation opportunities to help accelerate progress and impact. You will be working with the central Entrepreneurship team and the Director of Entrepreneurship, in both development of new strategic start-up activities and in ensuring the smooth running of and continuous high quality and relevance for start-ups of our current entrepreneurship programmes such as Greenhouses and the Accelerator. Climate-KIC needs to increasingly commercialize our entrepreneurship and start-up offerings, and you will be expected to help deliver on the business development aspects of this work.

You will lead a team tasked with identifying and supporting innovative solutions for tackling climate change that have the potential to achieve considerable mitigation and adaptation impact. Your activities will span the full range of Climate-KIC’s portfolio approach, engaging at all the stages from ideation to scaling, in a way that is embedded with our thematic priorities. You will work closely with our identified focus cities/regions and our partners embedded in those locations to help stimulate climate innovation clusters. This will include tailoring innovation programming to local needs and working alongside local authorities to design innovation components.

Together with your team you will manage our innovation & entrepreneurship competitions, funding streams and project pipeline, along with any programme delivery tasks that we pass to partners. You will maintain a regular dialogue with our partners and offer services to them in line with agreed partnership benefits, including helping them with applications, reporting, budgeting and impact.

You will work to embed our education programme within the wider innovation and entrepreneurship framework, recognizing the role of education as underpinning its success. You will work alongside our operations and business development functions to aid their success and draw on their expertise to support successful innovation. You will manage the innovation and entrepreneurship team, setting high expectations for its performance and supporting individuals to advance their careers by producing excellent results.

Key responsibilities

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Portfolio Management

  • In coordination with the Director for CEE, the Business Development Lead and the Entrepreneurship Director prepare the strategy for the development of the innovation and entrepreneurship portfolios in CEE
  • Manage the delivery of an integrated innovation and entrepreneurship portfolio approach in CEE, from initial ideation, to acceleration, demonstration and scaling
  • Manage the relationships with those partners directly involved in delivering programmes associated with the innovation and entrepreneurship portfolio approach.
  • Support the local partner and start-up ecosystem for successful project application, accelerator pitches and interlinking with other geographies and themes
  • Create synergies between local projects and the start-up portfolio in priority thematic areas
  • Work closely with the Business Development Lead and the local team to engage the partner network in the different programmes which sit within the Climate-KIC innovation portfolio approach.
  • Fully integrate our education programme within the innovation and entrepreneurship portfolio and tailor education opportunities to achieving innovation impact

Relationship Management

  • Manage the relationship with partners in the geography in close collaboration with Business Development and other members of the Climate-KIC Entrepreneurship team
  • Manage the relationship with start-ups in the geography in close collaboration with wider innovation and entrepreneurship team
  • Develop a strong collaborative working environment with delivery and strategic partners across our priority climate innovation clusters
  • Help build up a network of local investors corporates, policy makers and innovation actors, to ensure that we embed the startups in the local network, and that we generate value and impact of our investments in startups
  • Organize outreach and collaboration events for the Climate KIC start-ups and the local eco system

Project Management

  • Facilitate the set-up of the agreements for new projects and then planning and organising regular review meetings to ensure that projects stay on track
  • Play the role of “honest broker” to identify and resolve problems within consortia to ensure that our investment of resources is well deployed
  • Identify and implement an effective and professional structure for managing partner interests and helping them to maximise the benefits of being a Climate-KIC partner

Financial Management and Reporting

  • Contribute to the Climate-KIC strategy, business plan and grant application processes
  • Ensure accurate reporting on all project activity within the region in line with deadlines
  • Manage the allocation and tracking of Climate-KIC’s budget in start-up and project activity for the region, working with the operations function as appropriate

Partner Acquisition and Business Development

  • Contribute to development of the partner strategy for CEE and aid partner acquisition together with the Director and the Business Development Lead
  • Jointly with the CEE leadership team, work on generating new opportunities for diversifying our revenue stream
  • Represent the organisation at external events, conferences and in key meetings as appropriate

Team Management

  • Manage the innovation and entrepreneurship team for CEE, consisting of Climate-KIC staff and partner resources / contracts
  • Manage the innovation interface with key delivery and strategy partners working to achieve our strategic objectives
  • Ensure a strong relationship with Climate-KIC’s themes and their delivery teams to maximise the advantages for the CEE innovation landscape.

Key working relationships

  • Director of CEE


  • Fluent knowledge of at least one of the CEE languages (preferably Polish, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak) and fluent English
  • Fluent in English


  • Relevant and extensive (7 years plus as an indicator) experience from working in a senior-level strategic role in complex organisations
  • Strong network of high level connections with the decisionmakers in the CEE countries
  • Solid experience in innovation management, entrepreneurship or related fields, and of managing programmes with an international dimension
  • Experience of working at the interface between public and private sector
  • Experience and ability to work with an international team and in a multidisciplinary context
  • Strategy and business development experience
  • Experience of managing and leading a small team

Key skills

  • Solid reporting skills with attention to detail, business planning and activity-reporting
  • Familiarity with the skills and knowledge needs of organisations working on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

Qualities, Personal style and Approach

  • Good understanding of the interaction between research, education and business desired
  • Strong ability to reconcile differing expectations, objectives and requirements of multiple organisations and stakeholder to create collaborative solutions
  • Entrepreneurial mindset
  • Highly self-motivated and driven
  • Flexible and embracing of change

Additional Information

Please note that candidates must have the right to work in the EU prior to applying for the position. The successful candidate will normally be based at the nearest EIT Climate-KIC office to where they are currently living.

Application Process

Climate-KIC values diversity and welcomes applications from all suitably qualified candidates regardless of age, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or ethnic background.

Your application should consist of a full curriculum vitae and a covering letter describing briefly how your profile, skills and experience meet the criteria outlined in the person specification, and outlining your interest in and vision for the role. You should also tell us your current salary and where you saw this role advertised.

Please send your full application using the “apply now” button above.

We are:

Dynamic • Passionate • Engaging • Open • Inspiring • Excellent • Empowering

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