+Acumen

Speeches

Three ideas to keep in mind for leaders who tackle poverty

+Acumen chapters are self-organized, volunteer-led groups learning and sharing Acumen’s principles and approach to help change the way the world tackles poverty. We have 20+ chapters across the globe.  Carolyn is the co-chair of the London+Acumen chapter and recently attended a retreat with four European +Acumen chapters. Below is a reflection on four key themes inspired by Acumen’s values and bigger questions of the sector.

+Acumen chapter leaders from across Europe, namely, Oslo, Oxford and London, gathered on Saturday 1st March 2014 for the first ever European +Acumen Chapter Retreat organised and hosted by London+Acumen. We heard from Acumen Partners and alumni on their personal journeys and challenges encountered by participating in the space of patient capital. The importance to be informed and willing to ask questions stood out as necessary to make a difference in this space. We were also privileged to have Carlyle Singer, the Chief Operating Officer of Acumen, attend and share her strategic insights in moving Acumen forward; her talk was the inspiration for many of the “Aha” moments.

Speeches

We were reminded of “why we do what we do” as we discussed three key themes inspired by Acumen’s values and bigger questions of the sector to support Acumen’s mission to change the way the world tackles poverty through bold leadership:

1. What it means to live a life of purpose: It’s a life project. Your purpose can change throughout your life. It is not only about one specific project; it can be about health, family, loved ones and work. Surroundings also play a part – be present, indulge and enjoy it.

2. If failing is not an option, you have ruled out success as well: beingafraid of failure stands in the way of success, and if you get failure out of the personal context, it is not personal but strictly related to the purpose you were trying to reach.

3. Technology is only part of the answer to problems of poverty: The continuing improvement and introduction of technology has shaped the world to what it is today. Technology, especially great technology, has been beneficial in many ways to both people in the developed and developing worlds; it has made our world smaller and communication easier. However, great technology cannot alone tackle poverty – it has to be coupled together with a sound plan of action to ensure that it gets into the hands of the people whom it is meant to benefit. 

breakout

We were humbled by everyone’s presence, energy and dedication. It was a whirlwind day with each and everyone one of us taking away something different. Building on one of the “Aha’s”’ shared, while the future is unknown to all, as chapter leaders we share a sense of inspiration, empowerment and interconnectedness to change the way the world tackles poverty, anything is possible.

Comments

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]

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]

Meet Manjushree Patil, Founder of Aatman Academy

This month saw violent tragedies in Pakistan and Kenya, regions where Acumen works and which five classes of Acumen regional fellows call home. Among them there are dedicated teachers like Acumen India Fellow Manjushree Patil, crusaders against sex trafficking, builders of government, creators of liberating mobile medical technologies, and curators of slum sports programs. The need for strengthening the connections between those who are working for positive change against seemingly impossible odds has never been greater. We at Acumen have never been prouder to be the thread tying together these courageous individuals. Read more about Manjushree and how she is changing her community in India below! [Read More]