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


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]

How two Acumen Fellows are disrupting the education model in India

Whether its running youth soccer programs, providing vocational training services, or transforming the education system in India, Acumen India Fellows are driving real change in their communities.  Abbas Dadla and Abhilasha Sinha are India Fellows who are addressing the teacher shortage in India through the use of technology and peer collaboration. Find out what they are building below.  If you have grit, resilience and a commitment to creating change in your community in India, East Africa or Pakistan, we encourage you to apply for the Regional Fellowship Program! [Read More]