Press Releases

A community demonstration with Western Seed Company, and Acumen Fund agriculture investee in Kenya

Acumen Fund Now Accepting Business Plans Online!

A community demonstration with Western Seed Company, AF agriculture investee in Kenya

Over the years, Acumen Fund has developed a dynamic portfolio of social enterprises, which we have identified through our global networks and our deep presence on the ground. We are continuously building out our pipeline of investment opportunities — but still, there are opportunities that we may not see, solutions that we may be overlooking.

Perhaps you didn’t win that business plan competition but deserve another look. Or possibly we missed each other at that conference, and never had the chance to connect. Maybe you’re based outside the range of our regional offices.  Are we missing the next big innovation in clean water distribution or affordable housing?  We wonder.

To help ensure we don’t miss something great that’s in front of our nose, we’re excited to announce that Acumen Fund is now accepting business plans online. We believe that pioneering entrepreneurs will find solutions to poverty and we hope to meet more of through this system. Our team will continue to search for the most promising investment opportunities, but now — whether you’re in Manhattan, Mombasa, or Mumbai — you can send your businesses plans directly to us through

Investment Criteria

To give you a better idea of what we’re looking for, Acumen Fund invests in early-mid stage companies that bring essential goods or services – like water, health, agriculture, energy, and housing – to base of the pyramid (BoP) customers that earn less than four dollars per day.  We currently focus our investments in India, Pakistan, and East Africa, and typically invest between $200K-$2M in debt or equity.

All investments must fulfill our three core investment criteria: potential for significant social impact, potential for financial sustainability, and potential to achieve scale.  For more detailed information about how we evaluate investments, please see our Investment Discipline page.

The best applicants will have innovative, proven models that meet all of our investment criteria and a visionary management team with the skills and experience to execute the business plan.  Please carefully read our Business Plan Submission page to see the specific topics you should address in your plan.

Are you working to build a scalable, financially sustainable business that achieves huge social impact and serves the BoP?  If you can confidently say yes, send us your business plan at  We know you’re out there and we don’t want to miss out.

Jonathan Mazumdar is a Portfolio Associate in Acumen Fund’s New York Office


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]