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India Fellows are Driving Real Change in their Own Communities.

Each year, the India Fellows Program brings together 20 emerging leaders from different regions, sectors, and socio-economic backgrounds in India.

About the India Fellows Program

The Acumen India Fellows Program is a one-year, fully-funded leadership development program that gives 20 individuals from across India the training they need to accelerate their social impact and leadership potential.

Our Fellows come from diverse cultural, geographic, and socioeconomic backgrounds and share a commitment to ending poverty in their communities. Fellows remain in their jobs over the year and meet for five week-long seminars where they receive world-class financial and operational skills training. Through the program, Fellows build strong networks of social change leaders within their cohort and Acumen’s global community.

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Who Becomes a Regional Fellow

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  • Individuals who are working to end poverty in their community through some kind of social change project.
    • Though many of our Fellows work in the social enterprise space, selected Fellows can be working in any sector (i.e. for-profit, non-profit, social enterprise, government) in any issue area (i.e. human rights, agriculture, education, etc). We will also consider a handful of exceptional individuals who are not currently engaged in a project, but have significant experience or show strong leadership potential.
  • Fellows can be entrepreneurs who started their own organization, or individuals who are influencing change within an existing organization.
    • Selected Fellows are entrepreneurial in their attitudes, mindset, and approach. That doesn’t mean each Fellow has to be running or leading a new organization; it means that you take risk and don’t accept the old ways of doing things as good enough.
  • Fellows come from of all age groups and education levels, but must be able to fully participate in a program that is conducted in English.
  • Fellows must be from India and must show a demonstrated commitment and concrete connection to India.
  • Fellows must demonstrate strong personal integrity, unrelenting perseverance, and moral imagination.
  • Fellows must be ready and willing to undergo an intensive year-long personal transformation and leadership journey.

Regional Fellows Training

During the course of a year-long program, Acumen Regional Fellows remain in their jobs and come together every 6-8 weeks for a series of 5 seminars focused on developing the skills needed to be the next generation of social change leaders. Acumen Fellows focus on gaining the financial expertise, operational expertise, and moral imagination necessary to solve the world’s toughest problems. In addition to developing the core areas of Acumen’s leadership model, Fellows meet with prominent leaders from across sectors and build relationships within their cohort and Acumen Fellows Alumni around the world.

Seminar 1: Foundations of Leadership

The first seminar focuses on group formation and introduces Acumen’s patient capital model and leadership philosophy. The core session is the Good Society Readings.  Through this series of facilitated discussions on the works of great thinkers such as Plato, King, Gandhi, Mandela and Jinnah, Fellows explore the meaning of a just society and think more broadly about the historical and moral traditions of social change work.

Seminar 2: Adaptive Leadership & Moral Imagination

The second seminar pushes Fellows to reflect on their leadership strengths and weaknesses, clarify their purpose in life, and develop their storytelling abilities. The core of this training is a multi-day workshop on Adaptive Leadership facilitated by the Cambridge Leadership Associates.

Seminar 3: Financial & Operational Skills

At the midpoint of the fellowship year, the cohort focuses on building financial and operational skills mainly through experiential learning.  Through sessions facilitated by IDEO.org and Income/Outcome, Fellows gain a strong understanding of the human-centered design process and the basic level of literacy in finance and accounting necessary to grow their organizations and projects. In addition, Fellows experiment with building new business models using the Lean Start-Up methodology.

Seminar 4: Learning Trip

The Learning trip gives Fellows a deeper understanding of poverty in their region and their role as a changemaker. Fellows travel to a new area, engage with the local community, and meet with thought leaders and innovators who are creating positive change.

Seminar 5: Leading into the Future

At the end of the fellowship year, Fellows reflect on their leadership journey, make plans to stay connected, and set goals for continuing their work in social change. This seminar also includes guest speakers and a graduation ceremony celebrating the completion of the fellowship.

Beyond the Fellowship

The fellowship is more than just a one-year program – it is the start of a lifelong leadership journey and the beginning of a lasting relationship with Acumen Fellows Alumni around the world.

Alumni Network

After graduating from any of our Fellows Programs – either East Africa, Pakistan, India, or Global – all of our Fellows join a single, united Fellows Alumni group. Acumen understands that leadership can be a lonely journey, and the Alumni body acts as a support system where Fellows can not only push each other but also collaborate to achieve their goals. Alumni are also actively involved in selecting future cohorts, get exclusive invitations to Acumen events, and receive a quarterly Alumni Newsletter. In addition, there are a number of examples of Alumni working together on new businesses and social impact initiatives.

Acumen’s Global Community

Alumni not only maintain their connection to their fellow Fellows, but also to Acumen’s extensive global community of advisors and peer organizations. Alumni have been able to leverage our network to gain connections to investors, job opportunities and mentors.

How to Apply

Applications are open until September 1st. Get started by filling in the application form below.

The Application Process

The online application consists of:

  • Background information
  • Resume/CV
  • Short & long answer questions

Application Instructions: For more guidance on how to answer the application questions, please click here

Frequently Asked Questions: For a list of Frequently Asked Questions and their answers, please click here.

Click here to download a printable version of the application.

The Selection Process

The selection process for this program is very rigorous and highly competitive. Here is a general timeline of the process:

  • Applications open: July 7, 2014
  • Applications close: September 1, 2014
  • Telephone Interviews: October 2014
  • In-Person Interviews: November 2014
  • Final Selection: December 2014

Application

Fellowship Management System provided by WizeHive

Our Corporate & Foundation Partners

Meet the Regional Fellows

  • Close Drawer abbas

    Abbas Dadla

    “Abbas is a Regional Manager with Avanti Learning Centres, an organization which combines technology and peer collaboration to reduce teacher dependency and provide a world...” [READ MORE]

    Abbas is a Regional Manager with Avanti Learning Centres, an organization which combines technology and peer collaboration to reduce teacher dependency and provide a world class education at affordable rates. Avanti currently prepares over 600 low income high school students across 7 cities in India for the competitive engineering entrance examinations in partnership with affordable school systems. Abbas manages Avanti’s Mumbai operations. He hails from Mumbai, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Bombay.

  • Close Drawer abhilasha

    Abhilasha Sinha

    “Abhilasha is a Product Manager with Avanti Learning Centres, an organization which combines technology and peer collaboration to reduce teacher dependency and provide a world...” [READ MORE]

    Abhilasha is a Product Manager with Avanti Learning Centres, an organization which combines technology and peer collaboration to reduce teacher dependency and provide a world class education at affordable rates. Avanti currently works with over 600 low-income high school students across 7 cities in partnership with affordable school systems. Abhilasha manages the development of curriculum at Avanti. She is from New Delhi and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Delhi.

  • Close Drawer arushi

    Arushi Chowdhury Khanna

    “Arushi heads the Enterprise Support Program at AIACA (the All-India Artisans and Craftworkers Welfare Association), which conducts market-based, value-chain interventions...” [READ MORE]

    Arushi heads the Enterprise Support Program at AIACA (the All-India Artisans and Craftworkers Welfare Association), which conducts market-based, value-chain interventions to build sustainable artisan-based enterprises in rural India. Prior to AIACA, she has worked at the grassroots level with a broad spectrum of commercial, governmental and non-profit organisations in the craft sector. Arushi is from Mumbai, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from St. Xavier’s College, a certificate in Mathematics for Economic Application from IIT-Bombay and a Master’s Degree from the National Institute of Fashion Technology.

  • Close Drawer girdhari

    Girdhari Bora

    “Girdhari is an ICT Advisor at IntraHealth International, which works with governments, NGOs, and the private sector to empower health workers to better serve communities in...” [READ MORE]

    Girdhari is an ICT Advisor at IntraHealth International, which works with governments, NGOs, and the private sector to empower health workers to better serve communities in need. Girdhari developed mSakhi, an innovative mobile based learning and counseling tool for Community Health Workers and leads execution of the same in several villages in Uttar Pradesh. He is a native Himalayan and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering from the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Indore.

  • Close Drawer jyotirmoy

    Jyotirmoy Chatterji

    “Jyotirmoy is the Co-founder of Project Chirag, a youth-led initiative to provide rural households with solar lighting. Through Project Chirag, Jyotirmoy has been instrumental...” [READ MORE]

    Jyotirmoy is the Co-founder of Project Chirag, a youth-led initiative to provide rural households with solar lighting. Through Project Chirag, Jyotirmoy has been instrumental in helping light up 6,000+ houses across 156 villages in 4 Indian states. Jyotirmoy also works with FirstRand Bank as a CSR Consultant, apart from consulting for various social enterprises and NGOs. He is from Mumbai and holds a Master’s Degree in Management from H.R. College, Mumbai.

  • Close Drawer kirti

    Kirti Vardhana

    “Kirti is the Head of Consulting at LabourNet, which is a social enterprise that enables livelihoods for workers in the informal sector by providing access to training, employment...” [READ MORE]

    Kirti is the Head of Consulting at LabourNet, which is a social enterprise that enables livelihoods for workers in the informal sector by providing access to training, employment and financial inclusion. In his current role, he leads the development of LabourNet’s products and manages consulting projects within the vocational skills development domain. Kirti is from Bangalore and holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management from Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning

  • Close Drawer prerak

    Prerak Mehta

    “Prerak is the Senior Design Researcher at Embrace. He has been working with entrepreneurial as well as established ventures like Embrace,...” [READ MORE]

    Prerak is the Senior Design Researcher at Embrace. He has been working with entrepreneurial as well as established ventures like Embrace, Quetzal, Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design and Oracle. Prerak holds a Master’s Degree in Design from IIT Bombay, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Nirma University.

  • Close Drawer barigela

    Ram Barigela

    “Ram is the Senior Program Officer with Watershed Support Services and Activities Network (WASSAN), a resource support organization involved in natural resource management...” [READ MORE]

    Ram is the Senior Program Officer with Watershed Support Services and Activities Network (WASSAN), a resource support organization involved in natural resource management and livelihood promotion in rainfed areas of India. He focuses on working with shepherds and goat rearers in the Mahabubnagar district, one of the largest and most underdeveloped districts of Telangana, by promoting viable business models for economic development. He holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Osmania University.

  • Close Drawer rupal

    Rupal Nayar

    “Rupal is the Co-founder of Zaya, a non-profit working to bridge the achievement gap for students in low income schools around the world. Prior to Zaya, Rupal worked as a Business...” [READ MORE]

    Rupal is the Co-founder of Zaya, a non-profit working to bridge the achievement gap for students in low income schools around the world. Prior to Zaya, Rupal worked as a Business & Strategy Consultant at Bain & Company. Rupal is from New Delhi, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from St. Xaviers College and a Master’s Degree in Finance and Economics from the University of Warwick.

  • Close Drawer sathya

    Sathya Raghu

    “Sathya is the Co-founder and CFO at Cosmos Green Pvt Ltd, an organization that works for the emancipation of small and marginal farmers from penury through an inclusive development...” [READ MORE]

    Sathya is the Co-founder and CFO at Cosmos Green Pvt Ltd, an organization that works for the emancipation of small and marginal farmers from penury through an inclusive development model of partnership with farmers. His role involves devising the organization’s business strategy for financial sustainability, marketing, and performance monitoring. In addition, Sathya has trained 15,000 students of Chartered Accountancy in Accounting , Auditing & Finance and is a Professor at the Spellbound Centre for Professional Studies, Hyderabad. Sathya is from Hyderabad and is a trained Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants, India.

  • Close Drawer abhijit

    Abhijeet Barse

    “Abhijeet is the CEO of SlumSoccer, an organization that runs football programs for the most disadvantaged members of Indian society. The decrease in harmful activities such...” [READ MORE]

    Abhijeet is the CEO of SlumSoccer, an organization that runs football programs for the most disadvantaged members of Indian society. The decrease in harmful activities such as violence and drug use and the improvement in the participants’ lives inspired SlumSoccer to expand its programs to over 15 cities. Previously, Abhijeet was a Lecturer in the Department of Zoology at Nagpur University. Abhijeet is from Nagpur and has a PhD in Inland Aquaculture from the Central Institute of Fisheries Education.

  • Close Drawer achyutha

    Achyutha Sharma

    “Achyutha is the Founder of Collaborative Community, which offers design consulting services to social sector organizations and to businesses driving positive impact. He has...” [READ MORE]

    Achyutha is the Founder of Collaborative Community, which offers design consulting services to social sector organizations and to businesses driving positive impact. He has worked with several companies in branding, retail, and design consulting, and has an active interest in the cultural sector and creative entrepreneurship. Achyutha holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the National Institute of Fashion Technology.

  • Close Drawer charu

    Charu Chadha

    “Charu is the Country Manager for CycleTel India, a mobile-enabled family planning tool developed by the Institute of Reproductive Health at Georgetown University. Previously,...” [READ MORE]

    Charu is the Country Manager for CycleTel India, a mobile-enabled family planning tool developed by the Institute of Reproductive Health at Georgetown University. Previously, Charu was as a Shell Foundation Fellow where she worked with Dharma Life, a company that supports rural entrepreneurs. She also has significant experience working with state governments in India to formulate public policy. Charu is from Delhi, is a trained architect, and holds an MBA from the University of Oxford.

  • Close Drawer Ihitashri

    Ihitashri Shandilya

    “Ihitashri is the Founder & CEO of MITHILAsmita Art & Craft Pvt. Ltd., a folk art organization working to generate employment for women artisans in north Bihar through...” [READ MORE]

    Ihitashri is the Founder & CEO of MITHILAsmita Art & Craft Pvt. Ltd., a folk art organization working to generate employment for women artisans in north Bihar through preserving and promoting the centuries-old Madhubani (Mithila) painting form. Prior to starting her enterprise, Ihitashri worked as a SAP Consultant for several years. She is originally from Madhubani, and is currently based out of Bangalore. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra.

  • Close Drawer kaushik

    Kaushik K

    “Kaushik is the Project Manager for Special Projects at B-ABLE, an organization providing sustainable market-driven vocational training and livelihood services to under-privileged...” [READ MORE]

    Kaushik is the Project Manager for Special Projects at B-ABLE, an organization providing sustainable market-driven vocational training and livelihood services to under-privileged youth. He joined B-ABLE in 2009 as part of the start-up team, setting-up and managing the organization’s first training center. Kaushik is from Hyderabad and has Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from IIT Kharagpur.

  • Close Drawer manjushree

    Manjushree Patil

    “Manjushree is a seasoned education professional with more than 20 years of experience. She is the founder of Aatman Academy, a specialized instruction school that caters to...” [READ MORE]

    Manjushree is a seasoned education professional with more than 20 years of experience. She is the founder of Aatman Academy, a specialized instruction school that caters to the learning needs of students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia. She is from Mumbai and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from the SNDT Women’s University along with a Master’s Degree in Teacher Education from IIP Lucknow.

  • Close Drawer prerit

    Prerit Rana

    “Prerit is the Co-founder and CEO at Agrasar, an organization committed to sustainable socioeconomic development of marginalized communities through systematically helping...” [READ MORE]

    Prerit is the Co-founder and CEO at Agrasar, an organization committed to sustainable socioeconomic development of marginalized communities through systematically helping them build capacities and realize their true potential through skills development. He is a social development professional with training and capacity building as key focus areas. He is from New Delhi and holds a Master’s Degree in Rural Management from IRMA.

  • Close Drawer ramakrishna

    Ramakrishna NK

    “Ram is the Founder and CEO of Rang De, a platform to support low-income entrepreneurs access low-cost capital for livelihoods, education and health. Prior to starting Rang...” [READ MORE]

    Ram is the Founder and CEO of Rang De, a platform to support low-income entrepreneurs access low-cost capital for livelihoods, education and health. Prior to starting Rang De, Ram has held various positions in the technology and software development fields. Ram is from Bangalore and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Production Engineering from Nagarjuna University. He is also an Ashoka Fellow.

  • Close Drawer sapna

    Sapna Surendran

    “Sapna is a Research Associate with the Columbia Global Centre - South Asia, which supports the Government of India in improving access to quality maternal and child healthcare...” [READ MORE]

    Sapna is a Research Associate with the Columbia Global Centre – South Asia, which supports the Government of India in improving access to quality maternal and child healthcare and strengthens service delivery in rural India. She is from Bangalore and is currently based in Mumbai. Sapna is a dental surgeon from the KLE’s Institute of Dental Sciences, Karnataka and has a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Columbia University.

  • Close Drawer vasumathi

    Vasumathi Kothuru

    “Vasumathi is the Vice President at Indian Grameen Services (IGS), BASIX, a micro-banking solutions company with a mission of incubating innovations for pro-poor sustainable...” [READ MORE]

    Vasumathi is the Vice President at Indian Grameen Services (IGS), BASIX, a micro-banking solutions company with a mission of incubating innovations for pro-poor sustainable livelihoods. Vasumathi has worked in livelihood promotion, micro-banking and agriculture extension services for the past 15 years. She is from Hyderabad, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture and is a Certified Associate of the Indian Institute of Banking (CAIIB).