Acumen, Dow and Unilever Support Social Enterprises Across East and West Africa Through Technical Assistance Initiative

Acumen, together with The Dow Chemical Company and Unilever, launched its third annual Collaboration Summit in Nairobi today. Bringing together Acumen’s social enterprises from East and West Africa with leading international companies, the summit is part of Acumen’s Technical Assistance Initiative, which aims to accelerate the growth and impact of enterprises working in agriculture, energy, health care, and water and sanitation to better serve the region’s poor. By creating an occasion for emerging companies and multinational corporations to collaborate, the summit cultivates partnerships to bring social enterprises to scale and establish sustainable businesses committed to alleviating global poverty while also improving standards of living and expanding opportunities for the poor to lead lives of dignity. [Read More]

TEDxOsu: Ghana travels together to go far

Ghana is rising. It is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world deriving its economic strength from exports such as gold, oil, diamond and cocoa. There is a growing middle class and a significant influx of foreign investment. And earlier this year, the country has announced a project to build Hope City, a 10 billion dollar IT hub which will have Africa’s tallest building and employ over 50,000 people. [Read More]

Jacqueline at Skoll World Forum (VIDEO)

At this year’s Skoll World Forum, Jacqueline Novogratz gave a talk titled “Impact Investing: A New Chapter.” Within the talk she outlines the history of the sector and projections for growth. She discusses the need to have realistic and honest conversations about the types of financial and social returns that impact investing can achieve. The growth of the sector is exciting, but there is a risk that people will lack the necessary patience to change the way the world tackles poverty. She ends by sharing our Manifesto with the audience. [Read More]

The Power of Connections: Reflections from the India CEO Summit

On May 22-23, Acumen India held its first CEO Summit to reflect on lessons learned over the past few years, explore opportunities for collaboration across the Acumen community and discuss the path forward. The Summit was held at the Aravind Eye Care System campus in Madurai and brought together 15 CEOs from Acumen’s portfolio companies across India, as well as the India team and a few sector-specific experts. [Read More]

Reflections on Skoll Forum: A call for leadership

Having trained as a Biomedical Research Scientist for over 7 years, transitioning into the social innovation space comes with its advantages of being unlimited by preconceived notions. Attending the parallel conferences of Oxford Jam and the plenary sessions of the Skoll Forum this year, I could feel a difference. Even just being in the presence of Nobel Peace Laureates Muhammad Yunus and Kofi Annan, was quite a unique experience, a mix of inspiration and reality. That is not to say medical professionals cannot provide both; in fact, I had a warm reminder of the overlap during the Skoll plenary session when Richard Jefferson, a molecular biologist who has won several awards for his social entrepreneurial ventures, highlighted how the human DNA is hard-wired to innovate but there are only about half a dozen “novel discoveries” out there. He emphasized the greater need for problem solvers than innovators to transform existing models to help alleviate poverty. This was a notion that was echoed by Jacqueline Novogratz who eloquently articulated where Chapter 2 of the Impact Investing story needs to go. She identified that in Chapter 1, social innovators focused rightly on the experimentation phase and that Chapter 2 is about moving  on to the next rung of the ladder: Leadership. [Read More]

Photos: Investor Gathering 2012

Last week Acumen Fund held its annual Investor Gathering, a chance for our partner community to come together to hear updates on our work here at Acumen.  It is a day filled with learning, sharing, collaborating, and of course, a little celebrating.  It is a time of great change and enormous opportunity at Acumen, and we are so grateful for everyone who has supported our work over the last 11 years. Thank you. [Read More]