Acumen Blog

IMGP3235

Announcing a New Investment: LabourNet

LabourNet Services India Private Limited (LabourNet) today announced an undisclosed equity investment from Acumen, a pioneering nonprofit global venture firm addressing poverty across South Asia and Africa, and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, an organization focused on improving the lives of impoverished children through education and health in the United States, South Africa and India. LabourNet is a leader in the private vocational training & education sector in India, enabling livelihoods via work-integrated job training for informal sector workers in trades such as construction, manufacturing, leather, and beauty among others.

LabourNet Feature 2

While most vocational training companies in India focus on the formal sector, over 90 percent of the over 500 million workers are in the unorganized or informal sector where benefits, contracts and security of livelihood is highly uncertain. “We are excited to partner with Acumen and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to help scale our work in training the largely overlooked informal labour force in India,” said V. Gayathri, CEO of LabourNet. The company has enabled livelihoods through training for over 50,000 people to date and plans to train over 125,000 workers annually within the next five years.

LabourNet Feature 1

“In spite of the size of India’s unorganized workforce, very few organizations seek to help youth in the informal sector to improve the skills they need to earn a reliable income. LabourNet has a unique focus on such clients, and an innovative delivery model to reach them,” said Satyam Darmora, who oversees the Family Economic Stability portfolio at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. “Moreover, the LabourNet team has extensive experience in education and livelihoods, a scalable business model, and a deep commitment to creating sustainable social impact.”

Since 2006, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation have invested more than $120 million in transforming the lives of children living in urban poverty in India. In addition to its focus on education and health, the foundation team also sees skills-training as equally important in helping youth to overcome poverty in India. This investment is part of a strategy to establish high-quality, sustainable institutions that can train large numbers of employable youth.

IMGP3235

“We believe employers will over time adopt a uniform standard of certification for informal sector jobs in line with the National Vocational Education Qualification Framework,” said Ankur Shah, Education Portfolio Head, Acumen. “LabourNet has the potential to catalyze this market and create an ecosystem to enable measurable skill improvements and real income increases for informal labourers.” This is Acumen’s third education investment in India alongside Hippocampus Learning Centres, a pre-school chain, and Edubridge Learning, a vocational training company focusing on the formal sector.

Comments

Announcing a New Investment: SolarNow

Acumen is pleased to announce a $1.4 million investment in SolarNow, a company that sells and finances solar home systems in Uganda. We sat down with Shuaib Siddiqui, Acumen’s Portfolio Director to learn more about the deal and why he’s excited about this innovative company. [Read More]

Letter from Jacqueline: My Week in Ghana

I am writing on a return flight from Ghana. The country has not seen a single case of Ebola, yet the impact of fear is profound. As travelers enter the country, attendants screen for high temperatures. Hand sanitizer dispensers are omnipresent. Hotels and conferences have seen massive cancellations. Everywhere are constant reminders of our fragility and the strength of our connectedness. [Read More]

Six online courses we’re taking this year

+Acumen’s free online courses are a great way to learn tools that will help you develop both professionally and personally. Whether you are a social entrepreneur who wants to market to your customers or a young professional that wants to strengthen your leadership skills, we are offering six courses this Fall that will help you develop the tools, knowledge, and networks to change the way the world tackles poverty. [Read More]

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]