Established in 2006, the Global Fellows Program is a 12-month fellowship for individuals dedicated to serving the poor and who have the business and operational expertise, and moral imagination needed to effect long-term social change. The fellowship begins with an eight-week training program in the Acumen New York office, where Fellows learn about business models for the poor, hone their leadership skills, and learn more about Acumen.
After training, each Fellow works for the CEO or senior management of an Acumen investee on a critical business issue facing the organization. Fellows have worked on projects ranging from leading operations of a new business unit at a cotton ginnery in Uganda, to expanding the clinic network of a pharmacy company in India, to developing branding strategies for a microfinance institution in Pakistan.
Since 2006, we have received more than 4,400 applications from 100 countries and trained 63 Fellows from 21 countries. After the Fellowship year, Fellows continue to create social change, with 85% of the alumni currently in leadership positions at socially progressive organizations such as IDEO.org, Bridge International Academies, Endeavor, Bamboo Finance, New Island Capital, We the Change Foundation, Living Goods, Ashoka, Omidyar Network, and The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition.
Fellowship Year Overview
September to mid-November
The Global Fellowship begins with two months of intensive training at the Acumen offices in New York. The training curriculum is based on the three core principles of moral imagination, financial expertise, and operational expertise. Acumen partners with some of the foremost organizations to deliver this leadership curriculum.
Mid-November to August
For nine months, Fellows work at one of Acumen’s portfolio companies as key staff members. Fellows work directly with entrepreneurs, interact with customers, and grapple, first-hand, with the complex issues of addressing the needs of the poor.
Debrief & Beyond
September & Onwards
Fellows return to New York to share their experiences and lessons learned with the Acumen staff and community. Fellows receive career development support to assist with their post-Fellowship career plans. After the Fellowship, Alumni remain connected through bi-annual gatherings, newsletters, participation in future selection processes, and other opportunities.