Acumen Blog

1601152_10151883362215069_1738887032_n

Acumen Pakistan Signs MoU with Punjab Board of Investment & Trade

Lahore, Pakistan, 13 February, 2014: Acumen Pakistan and the Punjab Board of Investment & Trade (PBIT) signed a $3.5 million Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Public-Private Partnership basis to alleviate poverty by providing critical goods and services to those at the bottom-of-the-pyramid. Acumen, a pioneering social impact investor, has identified sustainable solutions in the solar energy and water sectors, which is expected to generate employment opportunities as well. The MoU was inked by Mr. Farrukh H. Khan, Country Director, Acumen Pakistan and Syed Maratib Ali, Vice Chairman/CEO, PBIT. Acumen CEO, Ms. Jacqueline Novogratz was also in attendance.

This path breaking initiative will allow two Acumen companies, namely Pharmagen and SRE Solutions, to scale their operations to provide low-cost drinking water and solar energy solutions in the Punjab. PBIT’s joint effort with Acumen is expected to enable Pharmagen and SRE Solutions to provide critical services to 180,000 individuals over three years. This is a first of its kind initiative that will apply Public-Private Partnership principles to sustainable development in the Punjab.

“Partnerships such as these allow for greater synergies to be established between the public sector and institutions such as Acumen,” said Ms. Jacqueline Novogratz at the signing MOU ceremony at PBIT. “We are hopeful that this initiative will act as a catalyst for future collaborations between the Government and organizations tackling poverty.”

“This partnership is expected to enable our companies to provide affordable and high-quality critical goods to the communities that need it most,” said Mr. Khan. “The innovative aspect of the model is that funds will only be leveraged as a catalyst and will be a one-time cost; after 3 years, the communities will continue to be serviced by the companies on a sustainable basis”.

Emphasizing the importance of public-private partnerships Syed Maratib Ali said, “The Punjab Government is dedicated to finding sustainable solutions to help eradicate poverty and we are excited to work with Acumen to achieve this goal. Our aim is to roll this initiative out to the entire province as quickly as possible and impact millions of lives.”

Comments

Four Emerging Leaders Building the Future of Pakistan

With 60% of Pakistan’s population living under less than a dollar a day, the external narrative of Pakistan is characterised by what the country lacks; a lack of security, a lack of women’s rights, a lack of access to education, and the list goes on. What this narrative ignores are the individuals who work tirelessly to plug those gaps. From human rights to education to food security, Acumen Pakistan Fellows are affecting change through organizations committed to tackling poverty. Their work is truly inspiring, promising a hopeful future for Pakistan. Here are four fellows that are building this future for Pakistan and come together periodically to share learning experiences and grow as leaders. Through five seminars, the fellows have strengthened skills of adaptability, communication, empathy and problem solving through listening. If you are committed to creating change in your community, apply now to be an Acumen Pakistan Fellow. The deadline is 29 September. [Read More]

Acumen Partners with AlphaSights to Better Access Global Expertise

In our work investing in social enterprises that deliver critical goods to the poor, there is a substantial amount of work to evaluate each investment opportunity. A critical part of the diligence process, particularly when it comes to emerging markets, is speaking with industry experts who can provide reliable information about sector trends, market dynamics and public policy – all of which affect our evaluation of potential investment opportunities. [Read More]

DE-BUNKING THE BURDEN MYTH: IMPACT DATA GOES LEAN

Our manifesto begins, “it starts by standing with the poor.” Yet for good reasons, the sector has found it challenging to measure which customers are actually being served through social impact investments – getting accurate data on incomes is notoriously difficult and the logistical challenge and cost of conducting surveys in person prohibitive. [Read More]

Questions for Aspiring Leaders

Bavidra Mohan, Acumen’s India Fellows Manager, attended this years Aspen IDEAS festival as a Scholar. The Scholarship program was established to invite guests from around the world to bring a diverse set of experiences, voices and perspectives to the rich conversations that take place at the IDEAS festival each year. [Read More]

Give Impact Investing Time and Space to Develop

Impact investing has captured the world’s imagination. Just six years after the Rockefeller Foundation coined the term, the sector is booming. An estimated 250 funds are actively raising capital in a market that the Global Impact Investing Network estimates at $25 billion. Giving Pledge members described impact investing as the “hottest topic” at their May 2012 meeting, and Prime Minister David Cameron extolled the potential of the sector at the most recent G8 summit.  Sir Ronald Cohen and HBS Professor William A. Sahlman describe impact investing as the new venture capital, implying that it will, in the next 5 to 10 years, make its way into mainstream financial portfolios, unlocking billions or trillions of dollars in new capital. [Read More]

10 Books We’re Reading This Summer

What are you reading? It is a common question here at Acumen, an organization full of avid readers constantly trading favorite book titles that discuss leadership, impact, development and branding. Here are 10 stellar books we’re reading this summer. These books and others provide a framework of thinking, a spark of new ideas, a platform for debate. So, what are you reading? [Read More]

How Acumen Brought Back my Fire

Eda is an East Africa Regional Fellow from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Founder and Director of Halisi Trust, an organization that seeks to challenge the vices that plague society and encourage transformational development in Kenya’s youth. When Eda applied for the East Africa Fellows Program, she felt disillusioned and stuck. Below, Eda discusses how Acumen’s Regional Fellowship Program brought back her fire. Now, Eda has engaged nearly 6,000 people through outreach events and the Mkenya Halisi movement continues to grow. Acumen is currently accepting applications for the next class of East Africa Fellows. APPLY TODAY! [Read More]

Imagining the world as it could be

Christine Gitau is an East Africa Fellow and an enterprise coach at Craft Afrika, which provides business support services to craft entrepreneurs, enabling them build viable and thriving businesses in Kenya. At Acumen we often use the term “Moral Imagination” when talking about leadership. Christine wrote a reflection on how this concept has shifted her thinking. We could not be more proud of what she is building! [Read More]

How two Acumen Fellows are disrupting the education model in India

Whether its running youth soccer programs, providing vocational training services, or transforming the education system in India, Acumen India Fellows are driving real change in their communities.  Abbas Dadla and Abhilasha Sinha are India Fellows who are addressing the teacher shortage in India through the use of technology and peer collaboration. Find out what they are building below.  If you have grit, resilience and a commitment to creating change in your community in India, East Africa or Pakistan, we encourage you to apply for the Regional Fellowship Program! [Read More]