Position Description

Business Plan – Volunteer Expert
Location Lebanon
Department Programs
Employment Type Volunteer
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Position:                                  Business Plan – Volunteer Expert

Location:                                Lebanon

Level of Effort:                       15 days

Start Date:                              February/March 2017





The Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program is designed to enhance agricultural competitiveness in the MENA region in order to ensure reliable and consistent national food supplies; offset imports; improve rural and urban food security and employment opportunities for the rural poor, especially women and youth; and improve on-farm natural resource management practices.


The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) economies depend heavily on agricultural production, processing, and associated industries. Although many of the countries in the region have optimal growing conditions, the region as a whole imports most of its food. With a strategic focus and the right technical assistance, MENA farmers can leverage favorable agro-climatic conditions, physical proximity to key markets, and counter-seasonal production potential to reach higher value export markets, increase domestic market share, and boost their profits.




IESC and the Farmer-to-Farmer Program seek to recruit a volunteer expert to support the development of a mushroom farming business in Lebanon. The volunteer expert will support the host organization with developing a business plan.


Anticipated outcome:

  1. Increased host knowledge on the mushroom production techniques with all related equipment 
  2. Business plan written for button mushroom farm
  3. Business and management structure of the mushroom farm identified





The host organization is starting a mushroom farming business in the village of Lebbaya, West Bekaa Region in Lebanon. This business model will start on a small scale and grow according to market demand. The host is planning to start the farm on privately owned property in the village. They are in the process of gathering all available resources to start the business.


The main problem they are facing is the lack of available resources to start such a business, thus the host is requesting the assistance of an expert to help them in creating a business plan that will include all the details needed to build a profitable and successful project.    

The host organization believes that this project, if established, would be profitable as there is high demand for the local market and few mushroom farms to supply it. Additionally, this project will offer work opportunities for local labor.



The host organization is starting a mushroom farm which will supply the Lebanese market with locally produced button mushrooms, ideally adding value to the Lebanese agricultural sector. This project will help create job opportunities for local families.


During this assignment, the volunteer will visit the site located in the village of Lebbeya, West Bekaa, Lebanon, at an average elevation of 1200 m above sea level and nearly 100 km away from the capital of Beirut. The expert is expected to assist the host in writing a business plan including organization and management, marketing, and financial projections. This document will constitute a roadmap to help the business project how to grow its revenue within the coming years.


During the visit, the volunteer shall conduct some site visits and meetings with the stakeholders in order to start the implementation process.


Objectives of the Assignment

  1. Understand the available resources
  2. Conduct a SWOT analysis
  3. Draft a business plan


Host Profile:

The Mushroom Farm project will be the first step in our start up organization. Rami Alouta, a Landscape Architect Graduate from the American University of Beirut, is currently working with Esri Inc. as a Platform Configuration Engineer with the Professional Services Department in Dubai office.

Mr. Alouta is teaming up with Zeinab Charara a colleague of his and a Landscape Architect Graduate from the same program who is currently based in Beirut, Lebanon and will be running all the management parts of the project. Both are interested in developing the agricultural sector in Lebanon, and think that with starting such a project they will be adding some value to this sector and helping in transforming it to a key player in the Lebanese economy.


Specific tasks:


·         The volunteer is encouraged to bring any media or training materials such as manuals, journals, literature, DVD/video that will serve as good resource materials for training and for the library of the host organizations and Land O’Lakes office in Lebanon.



·        Attend orientation meeting at Land O’Lakes Beirut Office

·        Meet with hosts for an overview of the constraints being faced

·        Explore all the existing resources, constraints and opportunities and help the host in understanding them

·        Work in conjunction with a technical expert in identifying needed resources for the project

·        Write a business plan for button mushroom farm

·        Provide recommendations to the F2F Program staff on potential follow-up assignments with the host

·        Attend a debriefing session with F2F Lebanon Country Director and host organization staff members to provide feedback and discuss the recommended future plans to follow up on volunteer recommendations and capture impact.


  • Final report, submitted to the F2F Program and host organization containing detailed recommendations on the assignment. This final report should include:
    • A summary of tasks and observations from site visits
    • List of 5-7 specific and actionable recommendations for the host organization
    • A final report summarizing observations and recommendations, as well as follow-up plans.


  • Outreach:  Upon return to the United States, the volunteer is requested to communicate his or her F2F experience.  Outlets to share the volunteer experience include home groups (e.g., civic and religious groups, professional associations, etc.), workplace presentations, local newspapers, community or workplace newsletters, personal blogs and social media sites. It is important to give recognition to USAID for funding F2F. At least two outreach events are requested and should be communicated to Carybeth Reddy at creddy@iesc.org.




  • U.S. Citizen or U.S. permanent resident (as required by the Farmer to Farmer Program).
  • University degree in business management or agribusiness, or related
  • Practical experience with mushroom farms preferred
  • Previous experience with group training. Familiar with conducting trainings through translators/interpreters. 
  • Very good communication, presentation, and analytical skills.
  • Sufficiently physically fit, with appropriate medical clearance.
  • Regional experience in MENA highly desired.
  • Writing Skills: Reporting requires good computer skills including, but not limited to, working and generating reports with MS Word. Experience with PowerPoint presentations is desirable.
  • This is a United States government funded program. Therefore, for the purpose of achieving desired results in accordance with the work plan and submitting requisite reports, written and spoken fluency in English is required. Ability to work through translators in the field, however, is essential. This requires deliberation and sensitivity to cultural issues in communication.




IESC provides comprehensive support to pro bono experts before, during, and after the anticipated assignment. Support to include:

  • All travel and logistics arrangements and costs to be provided by IESC including airfare, visas, medical examination, medevac and emergency travel insurance, and transit expenses;
  • Project management and oversight from the country office and the home office in Washington, DC;
  • All accommodation, transport, meals, and incidental expenses throughout the duration of the assignment in country;
  • Follow up and administrative support for the production and dissemination of the final report and deliverables for the project.