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

ANNOUNCING A NEW INVESTMENT, FIRST ACCESS

Acumen announces its new investment in First Access, a data analytics company improving access to formal financial services for low-income East African communities. In East Africa, only 22 percent of the population has access to formal financial services with the region’s poor having even less at 10 percent. First Access presents an opportunity to increase the ability of these low-income communities to save, manage risk responsibility, invest in such critical services as education, and ultimately rise out of poverty. [Read More]

ANNOUNCING THE 2015 PAKISTAN FELLOWS

Acumen is proud to announce the selection of our third cohort of Pakistan Fellows. After a competitive application process, we’ve chosen a diverse group of 20 leaders working in provinces across the country. This year’s Fellows are fighting poverty and changing lives across Pakistan through unique initiatives that range from advocating for vulnerable prisoners’ rights, to creating solutions to address low-quality education, to developing branchless banking channels for low-income customers, and more. Read more about each Fellow and their inspiring work below. [Read More]

Lean Data Goes Deeper

One of the most interesting questions we’re grappling with right now on the Impact team at Acumen is how to develop a more robust, rigorous, and transparent form of quantifying the social value our companies create. While I don’t believe we will ever fully understand all the social value created – and while there will always be room for debate and interpretation – I do think today we have the tools to get a lot closer to customers and hear how they value products. [Read More]

ANNOUNCING THE 2015 INDIA FELLOWS

Acumen is proud to announce the selection of our second cohort of India Fellows. After a competitive application process, we’ve chosen a diverse group of 20 leaders working in 13 states. This year’s Fellows are fighting poverty and changing lives across India through unique initiatives that range from providing affordable menstrual hygiene products to marginalized women, to making quality education available to children in conflict zones, to designing innovative sanitation solutions for the urban poor, and more. Read more about each Fellow and their inspiring work below. [Read More]

ACUMEN NAMED ONE OF WORLD’S TOP 10 MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANIES IN NOT-FOR-PROFIT BY FAST COMPANY

Fast Company today announced its 2015 ranking of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in Not-For-Profit, honoring leading organizations and rising newcomers that exemplify the best in social and philanthropic innovation. Acumen earned the No. 7 spot on the annual list in recognition for its Lean Data Initiative—a project launched in 2014 to find more efficient, cost-effective ways to measure and evaluate social impact. [Read More]

ANNOUNCING THE 2015 EAST AFRICA FELLOWS

Acumen is proud to announce the selection of our fourth cohort of East Africa Fellows. After a competitive application process, we’ve chosen a diverse group of 21 leaders from five different countries in the region: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and, for the first time, Ethiopia. This year’s Fellows are fighting poverty and changing lives across East Africa through unique initiatives that range from providing much-needed ambulance services to helping make hygienic sanitation more accessible and affordable to empowering young women to start viable agro-enterprises and more. Read more about each Fellow and their inspiring work below. [Read More]

We Are Each Other’s Destiny

To reflect on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is to consider deeply our human interconnectedness and the world we want to build. Each year on this day, I re-read his extraordinary, elegiac “Letter from Birmingham Jail” to remember his commitment to human equality and the price he paid. I read it to remind myself of the power of idealism grounded in pragmatism. I read it to renew my belief in our individual and collective abilities to help bend the moral arc ever more toward justice. [Read More]

Let’s Work Together

Acumen has offices in New York, Mumbai, Karachi, Bogota, Nairobi and Accra. Last August, Avinash Mishra, a Senior Portfolio Associate in the India office, and Keya Madhvani, the Internal Communications Associate in the New York office, were nominated to attend the One Young World Summit in Dublin. Below, they share lessons learned at the summit.  [Read More]