Social Entrepreneurship

Acumen and Plan 9: Investing in Tomorrow’s Social Entrepreneurs

In May, Acumen Pakistan partnered with Plan 9 to identify upcoming social entrepreneurs that are using technology to tackle society’s most pressing problems. Set up by the Government of Punjab, Plan 9 is a technology-focused incubator in Lahore that incubates 24 companies in 2 cycles each year. During each cycle, selected teams receive office space at Plan 9 as well as multiple training, mentor, and product review sessions.  [Read More]

A New Type of Corporate Partnership

At Acumen, we think of ourselves as a “global” organization, but I was reminded this past Friday that the word has many meanings. I spoke at a conference at Indiana University called “Framing the Global,” designed to advance the conversation within the sphere of global studies. The academics who attended were all involved in exploring the social, political, economic and cultural consequences of transnational flows of people, products and ideas. I was invited as a practitioner to talk about Acumen’s work, our model for the kind of leadership needed in an increasingly interconnected world, and to share my own experiences forging new kinds of partnerships with the corporate sector. I was there to share some concrete examples of what could be done when you assumed the world was interconnected.  This is a core element of Acumen’s guiding principles, and I believed our work would intersect directly with the issues raised at a conference on the question of what is “global.” [Read More]

EduBridge Wins Emerging India Award

We’re delighted to announce that EduBridge has been awarded the ICICI Foundation-CNBC TV18 Emerging India Award under the Urban Livelihoods category! The annual Emerging India awards recognize and honor small medium enterprises that are doing exceptional work in creating value and impact across different business sectors. Founded in 2009, EduBridge provides skill development training for youth from rural and semi-urban areas and job placement in entry-level formal sector jobs in nearby cities. Training consists of spoken English, computer literacy, as well as sector-specific skills and employment-readiness coaching on how to perform and succeed in the workplace. The company targets youth aged between 18 and 25 years who typically go on to become the first formally employed members of their families. EduBridge is addressing both the critical shortage of skilled talent in urban areas and the staggering rates of unemployment in semi-urban and rural areas.   EduBridge currently runs ten centers across four states and has worked with more than 7,000 youth. The company has also partnered with over 75 companies across sectors such as IT, banking, insurance and retail, and has placed some of its trainees at top corporate firms including Unilever, P&G, Future Group and Axis Bank. This award marks EduBridge’s commitment to educating and securing formal employment for low-income youth across India, and we congratulate the entire team on the well-deserved win. Here’s hoping that the years ahead continue to be filled with outstanding growth and impact! [Read More]

Impact Investing – From the Margins to the Mainstream

Today, the World Economic Forum (WEF) is releasing a new report titled, From the Margins to the Mainstream: Assessment of the Impact Investment Sector and Opportunities to Engage Mainstream Investors.  The report aims, in the author’s words, to “provide an initial assessment of the sector and identify the factors constraining the acceleration of capital into the field of impact investing.” [Read More]

Solution Revolution: A Conversation with William D. Eggers and Paul Macmillan

William Eggers and Paul Macmillan wrote a book called “The Solution Revolution“, described as “a burgeoning new economy where players from across the spectrum of business, government, philanthropy, and social enterprise converge to solve big problems and create public value.” Read on for a Q&A with the authors about the topic, and learn about what the solution revolution is, what role the government plays in the solution economy, and how you can play a role in the solution revolution. [Read More]

Time to change the rhetoric

The arguments for replacing traditional lighting and fuel with solar energy in the developing world have been the same for decades. Articles and publications presenting the problem and solution usually go something like this: “kerosene causes health complications, has a negative impact on the environment and households spend 15, 20 or even 30 percent of their annual incomes purchasing it. Home solar systems will help households save income, provide better light and phone charging while eliminating carbon emissions and the dangers to human health.” I do not claim that this is not true. Indeed, there is a strong need and demand for solar solutions, but for us to truly meet this need we must change the rhetoric. [Read More]