Business Development Project Officer

Programming San Juan, Puerto Rico


US work authorization required. Spanish and English fluency required. Position ends November 30, 2019.

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible.In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.

Program / Department Summary

Hurricane Maria, the worst storm to hit Puerto Rico in over 80 years, arrived only two weeks after Hurricane Irma passed just north of the island. The storms caused massive damage and left hundreds of thousands of residents and small businesses in need of assistance.

Following Hurricane Maria, Mercy Corps began response efforts with an eye toward longer term rebuilding and recovery, providing meals, financial support, solar and water filtration tools to households and community centers in both rural and urban settings.

Many small businesses suffered significant or total loss of services and assets. In August 2018, Mercy Corps launched a project aimed at supporting small businesses and jumpstarting the recovery of tourism in Puerto Rico. Specifically, this project is focused on (1) promoting business recovery, growth and resilience; (2) rehabilitating natural areas; (3) facilitating tourism through outreach campaigns.

General Position Summary

The Project Officer (PO) assists the Project Manager and other team members in the daily smooth running of the Business Development Project. The PO supports strategic, impactful, high-quality Business Development programming in Puerto Rico. S/he supports the Project Manager (PM) in many aspects of the project assessments, administration, coordination with communications and marketing material production, public events/small and small scale street festivals logistical support and coordinations, communication with beneficiaries, monitoring, and follow-up.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Project Management

  • As delegated by the PM, the Project Officer oversees all activities associated with the development, strengthening and enhancement of the Micro, Small and Medium business (MSMB), in close collaboration with the PM and the Marketing Strategies Specialist.
  • Provide technical assistance (TA) to MSMB supported by Mercy Corps focusing on maximizing financial efficiency and eventual financial sustainability of targeted beneficiaries, including financial and administrative systems based on regional and global best practices and tourism sector appropriateness.
  • Work closely with the project team to develop MSMB operational and marketing research and outreach systems, as well as training tools for both MC targeted business and Mercy Corps partners.
  • Support beneficiary events logistics including workshops and activities open to the public designed to enhance the visibility of the regions of focus.
  • Assist the targeted SMMB to develop, pilot, and launch appropriate financial services, web pages, marketing and products for its target market segments.
  • Work closely with the targeted MSMB to identify and develop additional tools and systems relevant to their business, including Google business tools, and other innovative softwares or tools for better business management.
  • Prepare monthly progress reports and work plans.

Project Administration

  • Liaise with and support key project staff to ensure that Business Development Project is running effectively and making best use of project resources.
  • Update and manage electronic and hard-copy filing system of on-going proposals and projects according to Mercy Corps minimum standards.
  • Promote and adhere to the principles and objectives of the BD Project and Mercy Corps.
  • Visit project sites regularly and stay up to date on activities as well as assessing any problems and initiatives while investigating appropriate action.
  • Monitor daily project activities to provide weekly overviews to the Project Manager on progress, challenges and suggestions.
  • Supervise sub-grantee activities and support them as directed by PM.
  • Assist in communications with Program partners.
  • In coordination with the M&E and Reporting Officer, gather appropriate quantitative and qualitative data from program initiatives for reporting and impact evaluation purposes.
  • Assist project staff in coordinating logistics and project activities.
  • Assist with overall program development and future proposals for program follow-on activity.
  • Conduct himself/herself both professionally and personally in such a manner as to bring credit to Mercy Corps and to not jeopardize its humanitarian mission.


  • Ensure personal compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
  • Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.

Organizational Learning

  • As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.

Accountability to Beneficiaries

  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
  • Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

Supervisory Responsibility



Reports Directly To: Project Manager

Works Directly With: Business Strategist Specialist, project Assistant(s), Program Intern(s), M&E and Reporting Officer, procurement and finance team members.

Knowledge and Experience

  • Intricate knowledge of Puerto Rico tourism industry including key players, resources, and opportunities.
  • Must be able to work independently and show initiative.
  • Experience in an NGO setting, preferably related to business development and/or program administration would be a plus.
  • At least 3-5 years demonstrated experience in tourism business and project management role in Puerto Rico.
  • University degree in tourism, hospitality, project management or similar fields.
  • Master’s Degree in Business Administration, Project Management or working toward a Masters would be a plus.
  • Minimum 5 years’ experience with supporting micro and small business development and resilience, such as startups, business strategy and market development, business mentoring, etc.
  • Strong computer skills (MS Office and Google Drive), filing, and organizational skills.
  • Ability to make recommendations for improvement in project execution and related events.
  • Advance knowledge of written and spoken English and Spanish is essential.
  • Ability to produce English-language reports according to Mercy Corps and donor guidelines.
  • Proven ability to provide oral and written translation from Spanish to English and vice versa.
  • Willingness to travel throughout the project areas.
  • Legally authorized to work in the United States.

Success Factors

The successful candidate is a problem solver, who is adept in successfully dealing with issues of complexity and demonstrates the ability to serve as a mentor for the Project Assistants and Interns. S/he brings an intricate knowledge of Puerto Rico’s tourism industry, small business development and natural resource restoration and can offer insights into the ways in which the Business Development program can meaningfully impact resilience in Puerto Rico. S/he is a skilled communicator, able to develop and utilize strong relationships with staff, partners and donors. S/he will coordinate with his/her supervisor and be effective at building working relationships with stakeholders. S/he will collaborate with Mercy Corps’ diverse program support teams, including members of Operations, Logistics, Human Resources, and Administration to support impactful partnerships with smooth program operations. S/he will be a skilled writer and synthesizer of diverse and complex information, helping the Business Development team generate new insights into its work, the needs of its beneficiaries, and how program impact can be scaled. A robust sense of humor and patience under pressure that does not lose sight of daily demands and overall project completion is necessary.

Environmental Conditions

The position is based in San Juan and is expected to travel up to 50% of the time and as directed - sometimes on short notice - to areas with limited access to medical facilities and amenities. Must be comfortable traveling in small air and water craft with limited personal space. Position requires working on occasional weekends and holidays.

Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision. Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.