Acumen Blog

Signs of an exciting trend at the Harvard Social Enterprise Conference

This past Sunday, March 4, nearly 1,000 people gathered to learn and exchange ideas at Harvard’s business school conference on “Social Enterprise.” The phrase is sufficiently broad to cover a wide range of issues, from socially responsible business to business-like social change and everything in between. The aim of the conference, according to its co-chairs, is to engage a broad set of institutions across sectors to “turn dreams into reality,” and the theme of bringing pragmatic approaches to achieving lofty goals for social justice was woven strongly throughout the day’s discussions. Victoria Hale exemplified this in her opening keynote when she talked about the way that her non-profit pharmaceutical company was engaging with corporations, foundations and governments to bring critical health products to the 10 million who die needlessly every year from preventable diseases. [Read More]

Our community in the news

There were two great articles about members of the Acumen community recently. This article in The New York Times highlights the work that Voxiva, one of our investments, is doing in Rwanda to leverage technology to improve healthcare delivery. And the current issue of BusinessWeek features TED, the conference run by Chris Anderson and owned by the Sapling Foundation (a major contributor to Acumen Fund). [Read More]

Partners in venture philanthropy

This article in the LA Times a few weeks ago gives an overview of venture philanthropy that highlights the work of our partner Jeff Skoll and the Skoll Foundation, Generation Investment Management (which was founded and run by Acumen Fund board member David Blood), and Jed Emerson, who advises Acumen Fund on metrics. The community of individuals and organizations focused on market-oriented approaches to change is growing and pushing the boundaries of what is possible. [Read More]

Acumen Fund investees in the media

Acumen Fund investee Tralance Addy was featured recently in Business 2.0 for WaterHealth International‘s efforts to tackle one of humanity’s biggest problems. And in a terrific piece in The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof discusses the importance of social entrepreneurs and pays tribute to investee Roshaneh Zafar of Kashf.  It is exciting to see this growing level of interest in these entrepreneurial approaches to social change. [Read More]

Acumen Fund in the media

There’s been a fair bit of coverage of Acumen Fund in the media over the past week. In print, a nice profile of us appeared in the Financial Times. On the radio, NPR’s “From Scratch” program featured an interview with Jacqueline Novogratz. And online, the WorldChanging blog wrote about our strategic partnership to address issues of water scarcity (which we discussed in a post this past August). [Read More]

Ashoka announces new Fellows

I thought you would be interested in Ashoka‘s new class of Fellows. Bill Drayton has done so much to change the world’s thinking about the power of entrepreneurial approaches to solving the world’s problems. Indeed, as you look at many of these individuals, it becomes clear that each is an entrepreneur in his or her own right and that maybe, in this next century, we’ll drop the term “social” altogether in recognition that entrepreneurs all carry the same DNA, whether they are working on private or public issues. Congratulations to Ashoka and to all of the new Fellows — the world certainly  needs you. [Read More]