As part of the GIIN’s mission to accelerate the scale and effectiveness of impact investing, we publish job openings from members of the GIIN Investors’ Council and other impact investing leaders.

Manager - Applied Research

at Lifeco UnLtd SA in Fourways, Johannesburg, South Africa

About the Job

Impact Advancement and Intelligence within the group will initially be focused on strengthening and enhancing the existing social enterprise ecosystem in South Africa. Due to the fact that social/impact entrepreneurship is relatively new in South Africa, it is important to consolidate knowledge that will enable LifeCo UnLtd to understand trends and compile best practise models relevant to the social sector. This is to be done through practise-orientated research, designing processes and systems refinement around the supporting mechanisms that surround emerging social entrepreneurs, as well as highlight the landscape within South Africa. LifeCo UnLtd, as one of the founding members of the Global Social Entrepreneurship Network (GSEN), will utilise this platform as well as others to showcase some of its findings for the benefit of the social entrepreneurship community. Impact Advancement and Intelligence is primarily concerned with ensuring sustained impact within LifeCo UnLtd and in the sector at large. Along with this, LifeCo UnLtd plans to increase its advocacy role to focus on creating awareness and disseminating pivotal information to the sector and beyond. This will involve:

  • Collating, aggregating and analysing intelligence that will better position the organisation to engage with the sector
  • Undertaking applied research, practice refinement and advocacy
  • Sharing learnings with the sector broadly

The Impact Advancement and Intelligence activity will have a number of complementarities with current projects tasked with fundamental research and development of the ecosystem. LifeCo UnLtd, through its applied research, will share and disseminate pivotal information to the sector and beyond. The purpose of the applied research is to build, test and refine solutions in the market place and within LifeCo UnLtd to drive its social mission and mandate.

LifeCo UnLtd is looking for an experienced manager to work with a multi-disciplinary team through all phases of the applied research process, including study design, instrumentation, and establishment of data sharing agreements, data collection, analysis, quality assurance and helping stakeholders use findings.
The manager should be proficient and experienced in the following:

  • Action research, social impact studies, cost benefit analysis, evaluation research and quantitative and qualitative research
  • Working with multiple stakeholders and operated within the social/impact enterprise sector
  • Manage the planning, execution and delivery of a range of quantitative and qualitative applied research projects ranging from quick turnaround surveys to multi-part, multi-stakeholder projects
  • Ensure the delivery of high quality, on time outputs – in a range of styles and formats
  • Conduct all activities in a collaborative, consultative and professional manner
  • Manage projects to agreed budget and timeframes
  • Participate effectively in the ongoing processes of team meetings and the organisation’s performance management process



  • Master’s in education research, public policy, applied social sciences or related field
  • Demonstrated expertise in quantitative or mixed methods research and evaluation methodology, design, and analysis
  • Demonstrated content knowledge and expertise in one of the following areas: psychosocial education, social entrepreneurship and enterprise and psycho-economic education
  • Excellent small and large-group facilitation and communication skills; excellent written and verbal communication and client-interaction skills; experience in communicating technical topics, research findings, and methods to nontechnical audiences
  • Excellent project management skills with experience in managing research projects including coordination and collaboration skills, establishing project timelines, monitoring budgets and supporting team members
  • Ability to travel between locations to meetings and events
  • Enthusiasm for working in culturally diverse environments and actively contribute to a positive work culture

To apply

Lifeco UnLtd SA

LifeCo UnLtd has over 100 established, market-based entrepreneurs/enterprises in its network currently. It also takes equity stakes in selected impact enterprises that can go to scale, deliver consistent impact and financial returns.
It is an impact enterprise itself – with 100% of all profits and dividends from commercial activity re-invested in its social mission: to invest in individuals for enhanced enterprise and life performance. LifeCo UnLtd SA is a founder member of the Global Social Entrepreneurship Network (, along with UnLtd UK and UnLtd India (currently 50 countries strong).
More detail…
LifeCo operates nationally and has reached over 100 000 people and over 4000 young entrepreneurs over the last 20 years. The organisation facilitates the development of people and enterprises through critical thinking, practice and capital. It also selects, funds and supports early stage impact entrepreneurs (those entrepreneurs who use business principles for social and/or environmental impact). The organisation has an investment portfolio and commercial business units, some directly connected to growing impact entrepreneurs/enterprises and others specifically for commercial purposes in order to sustain its social mission. LifeCo UnLtd was established in 1997.