Acumen Blog

Acumen_110613_0644

Shaiza Rizavi Joins Acumen’s Board of Directors

We are pleased to announce that Shaiza Rizavi has joined Acumen’s Board of Directors. Shaiza became a Partner at Acumen after reading The Blue Sweater and recognizing that “Jacqueline had an idea large enough to disrupt poverty.” She has been a hugely valuable member of our community over many years, sharing her insights and ideas, joining a trip to East Africa to visit our investee companies, mentoring a team through our +Acumen course in Karachi, and participating on Fellows selection panels. You can watch this short video of Shaiza at our Investor Gathering this past year, discussing her experiences and impressions of Acumen.

Shaiza is drawn to disruptive companies and ideas which she believes can change people’s lives and build capital when well executed. She is a partner at Gilder, Gagnon, Howe & Co., a growth equity brokerage firm committed to giving the small investor who possesses long-term patience and fortitude an opportunity to create wealth. She looks forward to bringing her skill set to support Acumen.

DSC_6243

Shaiza and Saira visiting chili farmers on the 2013 Board and Advisors trip to East Africa

While a student at Vanderbilt University, Rizavi worked in Mexico raising awareness of best sanitation practices.  After graduating, she worked in Southeast Asia analyzing opportunities for global replication of successful youth development programs and then went on to obtain an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Rizavi remains active at Columbia Business School where she serves on the Advisory Board of the Social Enterprise Program and on the Columbia Alumni Arts League.  She sits on the Board of Trustees of the Calhoun School, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the American Museum of Natural History and is a member of the Economic Club of New York. Rizavi lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her husband and four children.

We are excited to welcome her as the newest member to Acumen’s Board.

Acumen_110613_0644

Shaiza presenting to our community at the 2013 Investor Gathering on what it means to be an Acumen Partner

Comments

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]

DE-BUNKING THE BURDEN MYTH: IMPACT DATA GOES LEAN

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]