Acumen Blog

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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.

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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.

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“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.”

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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.


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Robert (Bob) Collymore of Safaricom Limited Joins Acumen’s Board Of Directors

Acumen announced today that Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom Limited, will join its Board of Directors. Collymore, who has been at the helm of the Kenyan communications company since 2010, previously sat on the Advisory Council of the nonprofit social venture fund founded by Jacqueline Novogratz. He has more than 30 years in the telecommunications sector working in Africa as well as Asia and Europe. [Read More]