Acumen Blog

Socor & Caferwa112

Announcing a New Investment: KZ Noir

Acumen has made a $1.2M convertible debt investment in KZ Noir, a Rwanda based speciality coffee producer and subsidiary of Kaizen Venture Partners.  This represents Acumen’s initial investment in Rwanda and first in the coffee sector, a key contributor to the Rwandan economy and an important source of employment.

Socor & Caferwa112

Globally, there are over 2.25 billion cups of coffee consumed on a daily basis, making coffee one of the most highly traded commodities. In Rwanda, KZ Noir exports fully and semi washed green coffee and has two roasted coffee brands. It sources its coffee from over 10,000 smallholder coffee farmers in Rwanda and markets its coffee across the globe, selling to blue chip buyers such as Starbucks, Sustainable Harvest, Mercanta, Stumptown and Taylor of Harrogate, of whom they were Supplier of the Year for 2013.  KZ Noir also won first place in the 2013 Rwanda Cup of Excellence and earned the first Rain Forest Alliance certification in the Rwandan coffee sector.

Socor & Caferwa102

“This investment presents a great opportunity to impact the livelihoods of small scale coffee farmers in Rwanda, while building a scalable and financially sustainable company” said Duncan Onyango, East Africa Director, Acumen. “Acumen is committed to investing in game changing companies delivering critical goods and services to people at the bottom of the pyramid. We have invested over $30M, created over 44,000 jobs and impacted 81M lives through our investments in East Africa since 2007.”

Socor & Caferwa100

Gilbert Gatali, KZ Noir’s Managing Director said, “We are committed to sourcing our coffee in Rwanda and supporting the people of Rwanda. We employ over 1,200 seasonal staff, of which over 800 are women. Acumen’s investment will further strengthen the company’s capacity to expand through value added projects.”

“Our goal is to become the leading integrated coffee company in Rwanda, with expertise across the value chain, and Acumen’s investment represents a significant step in that direction,” said Ngozi Dozie, Director at Kaizen Venture Partners.

Comments

Warning: Fake internship post on WhatsApp in our name in East Africa

It has come to our attention that an anonymous source in the East Africa region is soliciting individuals over social media and WhatsApp to provide personal information to apply for an Acumen paid internship. THIS IS A SCAM. The false solicitation includes a link to a Google form asking for personal and sensitive information, which could easily be used for identity theft; you should NOT submit any information through the provided links over social media. PLEASE BE CAREFUL and if you have already submitted information, consider taking steps to protect your information and identity. If you are interested in Acumen, opportunities are posted on our website at www.acumen.org, which is Acumen’s primary channel for recruiting. [Read More]

Solar Home Systems: Over-investment or overvaluation?

When you hear the term “unicorn,” you usually think of Silicon Valley. Your mind goes to companies like AirBnB and Snapchat, startups that seem to grow from zero to $1 billon overnight, not to social enterprises trying to bring energy to the poor. But we’re seeing a trend emerge in the off-grid sector, in which some young solar home system companies are being overvalued before they’ve had a chance to prove themselves. [Read More]

Skills Partnerships: Start with Listening

The relationship between the social sector and the corporate world is complex. Skills Partnerships have emerged as a way of engaging both sectors. This form of engagement may have started with activities like leveraging a corporation’s expansive workforce to build a house for the homeless or help underprivileged students with their resumes, but it has since evolved to include highly skilled workers sharing their expertise with all types of organizations. [Read More]

ANDREA SOROS COLOMBEL RETURNS TO ACUMEN’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS

We are thrilled to announce Andrea Soros Colombel’s return to Acumen’s Board of Directors. Andrea played an integral role in the development of Acumen as a Founding Partner in 2001, then deepening her commitment by serving on the Board from 2005 to 2014. During that time, she helped shepherd a number of major projects at Acumen, including the inception of our portfolio of off-grid energy companies. Andrea has returned to the Board after three years and we welcome her thoughtful leadership and generous support. [Read More]

Models of High-Level Partnerships with Social Enterprises: Venture Partnerships

How can corporations and social enterprises partner to create a world that works for everyone? On April 4, 2017, Acumen hosted a workshop on high-impact partnerships for leading social enterprises, global corporations, and the organizations that work to link them as a part of the Skoll World Forum Ecosystem Events, to explore this question. Supported by EY, Sainsbury’s, Pfizer and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, the session explored three different kinds of partnerships: Skills, Channel and Venture. [Read More]

A Cleaner Path: Solar Energy’s Impact on Health

Imagine for a moment that the light used in your home was a poison. One that could damage your lungs, irritate your eyes, even impact the health of your unborn child. You’d think twice about flicking on that switch. Kerosene lamps—used by an estimated 290 million people across Africa—contribute to household air pollution. Such pollution is responsible for more deaths a year than tuberculosis, malaria and HIV combined. [Read More]

Acumen Hosts Workshop on Building High-Impact Partnerships at Skoll World Forum

Acumen, with support from EY, Sainsbury’s, Pfizer, and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, is hosting their second Beyond Dialogue workshop today as a part of the Skoll World Forum. The event, Beyond Dialogue: Three Models for High Impact Collaboration, will bring together leading global corporations, innovative social enterprises, experts and intermediaries to work together to uncover new knowledge and opportunities to partner. [Read More]