Acumen Blog

Opening access to healthcare to poor consumers in India

It was an incredible experience being at the opening of the first Sanjeevani store last Tuesday. The store and clinic looked wonderful (clean and simple), felt nice and cool in the warm Mumbai afternoon (the CEO of Medicine Shoppe India, Viraj Gandhi, made a note for me to thank Jacqueline for insisting on having the stores air conditioned), the Vision Shoppe had a long line for testing (I bought my first pair of prescription glasses after being tested as mildly myopic), and the line for the public clinic spilled out into the streets. I have also never seen Viraj as excited—he was just giddy about the possibilities that this new format holds for serving the poor. It also didn’t hurt that the Director of International Operations from Medicine Shoppe in the US was there at the launch. They were one of many partners that had cautioned Viraj about trying to enter the poor and rural markets, but seemed to be pleased with the launch yesterday. [Read More]

Asia’s humanitarian youth

At the Acumen Fund Pakistan office, we’ve had a lot of discussions about the fact that AF has a lot of young, driven people behind it who are committed to making a difference. This is noticeable in Pakistan even in terms of the inspirational individuals with whom we work – from Roshaneh Zafar at Kashf to Jawad Aslam at Saiban. Given the above, I found this article in Newsweek International to be really interesting, especially as it notes that this social consciousness is increasingly becoming a common phenomenon in Asia – which I personally hope translates into more people engaging in entrepreneurial approaches to poverty. [Read More]

Call for Fellows Class of 2008

I’ve spoken previously about the need to build an “entrepreneurial bench” of top talent with strong financial and operational skills as well as the moral imagination to build appropriate enterprises with local stakeholders. Launching the Acumen Fund Fellows Program has been our effort to identify and develop some of the world’s next generation of leaders. [Read More]

Drishtee leads Deloitte Technology Fast 50 India ranking

Congratulations to Acumen Fund investee Satyan Mishra, CEO of Drishtee, for being identified as India’s fastest-growing high-tech company. We are proud to be working with Drishtee, which is building a network of telecenters across India based on a franchise model that delivers an array of services and information. Through Satyan, we’ve learned the power of piggybacking on distribution systems. We’ve also been struck by the company’s approach to identifying entrepreneurs by holding competitions around sales drives before a franchise is awarded. We believe that Drishtee is one of Acumen Fund’s strongest business models for serving the rural poor and look forward to learning more and to working more closely with Satyan and his team. [Read More]

Jacqueline Novogratz at Asia Society

On November 30, Acumen Fund CEO Jacqueline Novogratz will be speaking at the Asia Society in New York. She will be participating in a panel discussion, along with philanthropist Abraham George, on the topic of social entrepreneurship in India. The discussion will be kicked off by UN Undersecretary Shashi Tharoor and moderated by Dan Gross of The New York Times. For more information, click here. [Read More]

In the news

Acumen Fund has had a fortunate few weeks in terms of media coverage. Not only were we featured in BusinessWeek online, an article about us appeared in the “Giving” section of Monday’s The New York Times; James Surowiecki mentions Acumen Fund in MIT’s Technology Review; and we will be featured this weekend on CNN’s program “In the Money.” Clearly, the media is starting to pay closer attention to new models for social enterprise, and we’re happy to be part of advancing that discussion. [Read More]