Acumen Fund Announces Duncan Onyango as New Director of Acumen Fund East Africa
Longtime Local Advisor Joins Acumen to Lead Further Growth and Investment in Enterprises Serving Low Income Customers
Nairobi, Kenya, August 15, 2012 – Acumen Fund, a pioneering nonprofit global venture firm addressing poverty across Africa and in South Asia, today announced Duncan Onyango as the new Director of Acumen Fund East Africa. Mr. Onyango joins from Rift Valley Railways having served as Group Chief Finance Officer. He replaces Biju Mohandas who is leaving Acumen after five years of leading Acumen’s local office and building the portfolio to its current size of $29 million in cumulative investments. Mr. Mohandas will play an informal role through this transition.
“We are delighted to have Duncan join us to lead our East Africa work through its next phase of growth,” said Jacqueline Novogratz, CEO of Acumen Fund. “He has informally served as an advisor to our team over the years and knows us well. This intimate knowledge of our work, coupled with his extensive experience will truly help further our mission of supporting enterprises and leaders focused on poverty alleviation.”
Mr. Onyango has extensive experience in strategic and business planning as well as working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. He spent the first ten years of his career with Abbey National, a major international bank in London, gaining cross-functional business experience in both the retail and corporate arms, including serving as the bank’s Head of Training & Management Development for the Wealth Management Division. Mr. Onyango then transitioned into consulting at Strategic Workforce Limited in London, before returning to East Africa where he founded Quantum Africa in 2006, working with many small businesses and entrepreneurs. He holds an honors degree in Computing and Retail Management from Oxford.
Acumen Fund has been investing in East Africa since 2001, opening a local office in 2007. To date, it has invested $29 million in sustainable, scalable enterprises delivering affordable health, housing, sanitation, and agricultural inputs and services to low-income communities in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. Acumen Fund’s team in Nairobi provides ongoing management support to investees and plans to grow the portfolio by more than 50 percent by the end of 2015.
Acumen also invests in leadership around the globe and last year launched the East Africa Fellows program, which recently graduated 19 leaders from the East African region drawn from different nationalities, sectors, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The program offers training in leadership and operations and creates a network of dynamic and diverse young professionals involved in high-impact initiatives in the region. Applications for next year’s program are currently being accepted and close on August 26. For more information visit: http://www.acumenfund.org/fellows/east-africa-fellows-program/apply-now.html.
Through its investments in enterprises and leaders, Acumen Fund plans to continue supporting new approaches to addressing issues of poverty in the region. “I am honored to be joining such a dynamic organization, with a strong local presence and community of advisors and partners,” said Mr. Onyango about joining Acumen Fund. “Acumen’s approach of using philanthropic funds to make long-term investments in businesses serving the poor is necessary and important. So too is its work with the East Africa Fellows in training the next generation of local leaders. I look forward to working with the team on these efforts in East Africa and beyond.”
About Acumen Fund
Acumen Fund is working to create a world beyond poverty by investing in social enterprises, emerging leaders and breakthrough ideas. We invest patient capital in business models that deliver critical goods and services to the world’s poor, improving the lives of millions. Since 2001, Acumen Fund has globally invested more than $75 million in 69 companies. We are also working to build a global community of emerging leaders that believe in creating a more inclusive world through the tools of both business and philanthropy. Please visit www.acumenfund.org for more information.