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

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]

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]

Meet Manjushree Patil, Founder of Aatman Academy

This month saw violent tragedies in Pakistan and Kenya, regions where Acumen works and which five classes of Acumen regional fellows call home. Among them there are dedicated teachers like Acumen India Fellow Manjushree Patil, crusaders against sex trafficking, builders of government, creators of liberating mobile medical technologies, and curators of slum sports programs. The need for strengthening the connections between those who are working for positive change against seemingly impossible odds has never been greater. We at Acumen have never been prouder to be the thread tying together these courageous individuals. Read more about Manjushree and how she is changing her community in India below! [Read More]

No, not silence again!

The Acumen Fellowship’s Cambridge Leadership Associates (CLA) training is notorious for digging deep, breaking Fellows down to reveal their deepest fears, identifying the sources of resilience that will fuel them with the tenacity to continue along the path to social change. Kahabi G. Isangula is an East Africa Regional Fellow living in Tanzania and recently participated in our CLA training. Get an idea of what it is like, below!  [Read More]

Announcing the Class of 2015 Acumen Global Fellows

Acumen Global Fellows are architects for the impact sector. They are innovators, game changers, visionaries, with various professional experiences looking to make substantial change in the world. They have thrived in companies such as Google; they have started their own companies in Sri Lanka, Canada and Malaysia.  They are choosing the challenge of working alongside our portfolio companies and immersing themselves in a rigorous leadership training. [Read More]