London 4 Acumen Welcomes ACUMEN 101

London 4 Acumen held its first Fall 2011 event on October 6th at the HUB Culture in the centre of London.  ACUMEN 101 attracted over 80+ guests for an introductory session to social entrepreneurship and patient capital.  It was also the first opportunity for the London community to meet in-person with the new staff of Acumen Fund London – Vinay Nair and James Wu.

The atmosphere in the room was great and people started chatting the moment they came through the door on a cool autumn evening.  Some guests re-connected after the DIGNITY London event in June and new welcomes were also made to newly-relocated Acumen fans.  Some of our event volunteers had moved to London from New York and Vancouver and it was their first chance to meet the L4A team and bring in their NYfA and Van4Acumen experiences.  Even before any presentations were made, the event really brought on a sense of connectedness in this global world of ours.

Vinay provided an introduction of What is Acumen Fund and who is Jacqueline. James then went on to illustrate an example of patient capital through Acumen Fund portfolio company, WaterHealth International.  The Global Fellows Program was also introduced to the London crowd and applications were encouraged.

We ended the evening with a Question & Answer session and a networking session, which extended our booking time in the HUB causing the event to overflow into the restaurant downstairs. Many thanks to London4Acumen chapter supporters – Origen Group, Hub Culture and Open Films – and to James and Vinay for leading the session.

A week after ACUMEN 101, on Oct 13th 2011, Gavin McGilivary Head, Private Sector Department at DFID came to Cambridge University to give a talk as part of the Gates Scholar Society Distinguished Lecture Series. Gavin talked about why DFID works with the private sector, how and what results will transform the business environment. He also spoke highly about Acumen Fund and the power of impact investing.

The message of patient capital is clearly spreading in London and across the country in the UK and in Europe.  Welcome again Vinay and James, we’re happy to have you here!

If you’re interested in joining the conversation and the community, please visit our page on Acumen’s Community site.

Julia Fan Li volunteers for London 4 Acumen.  She is currently completing her doctoral research on financing global health at Cambridge University.  Twitter: @juliafanli


Why India’s Economic Growth Depends on Vocational Training

India has an enormous population of young people – over half of the 1.2 billion people are younger than 25 years old. Yet, only 2% of its 500 million person workforce has any skills or training. The majority work in the informal sector (90%), where there are few opportunities for education other than what workers ‘pick up’ on the job. This reality limits overall productivity, as well as upward mobility. [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]


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]