Former Fellow, Mario Ferro giving a presentation on Wedu Fund.

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Wedu – the adventure continues

A few months ago Mario Ferro wrote a blog post about the new adventure he embarked on shortly after his Acumen Global Fellowship in 2011. He described the challenges he faced as an entrepreneur starting up Wedu and the inspiration he found through a community of energetic change-agents eager to support Wedu’s mission of empowering women in the developing world through higher education and mentorship.

Former Fellow, Mario Ferro giving a presentation on Wedu Fund.

In November 2012, I got the opportunity to learn first-hand about Wedu and the goals Mario has set for this growing company while attending Acumen’s Investor Gathering as a Chapter Leader for VANCOUVER+acumen. Now, three months after that initial meeting, I find myself in Bangkok in the role of Mentorship Development Manager for Wedu.

I am excited to share that our Mentorship Program will launch within the month!

We are also excited to share and celebrate some recent accomplishments:

1.) Wedu has been nominated for the Global Solutions Award at the Women Deliver Conference taking place in Kuala Lumpur in May.  We are one of 25 teams competing for the Top 10 spots that will pitch at the conference in May.

To support Wedu in receiving the award you can vote on the Women Deliver webpage here or on their Facebook page here. Voting closes on March 6th.

2.) We are excited to be presenting at the regional finals of the GSVC South East Asia business plan competition. Previous winners have been Acumen investees Husk Power Systems and d.light.

The video portion competition is currently underway on Facebook.You can watch Wedu’s video on the GSVC Facebook Page, and if you like it, please click “like” on this page – the most “liked” video wins this portion of the competition.

3.) We have been announced as a semi-finalist in the Echoing Green Fellowship.

Wedu is grateful for the tremendous support we’ve received so far. A particular thanks goes to the CHICAGO+Acumen chapter for helping to grow our community, and for their support in our current competitions.

I’m truly excited to be a part of the growth of Wedu and can’t wait to share more!


Marica Rizzo is the Mentorship Development Manager at Wedu Fund.


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]


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]

Give Impact Investing Time and Space to Develop

Impact investing has captured the world’s imagination. Just six years after the Rockefeller Foundation coined the term, the sector is booming. An estimated 250 funds are actively raising capital in a market that the Global Impact Investing Network estimates at $25 billion. Giving Pledge members described impact investing as the “hottest topic” at their May 2012 meeting, and Prime Minister David Cameron extolled the potential of the sector at the most recent G8 summit.  Sir Ronald Cohen and HBS Professor William A. Sahlman describe impact investing as the new venture capital, implying that it will, in the next 5 to 10 years, make its way into mainstream financial portfolios, unlocking billions or trillions of dollars in new capital. [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]