Latin America: Building solutions for economic inequality

In the last decade, Latin America has made incredible progress in reducing extreme poverty. While stable governments and economic growth have helped grow the middle class, more than 80 million people live on $4 a day and another 200 million face the risk of being pulled back into poverty due to factors like economic shocks and climate change.

This economic vulnerability combined with the high levels of inequality in the region make Latin America ripe for new entrepreneurial solutions, especially those that bridge the growing divide between rural and urban populations.

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Meet the Team in Latin America

Acumen opened its headquarters for Latin America in Bogota, Colombia in 2013. Our local team identifies investment opportunities and provides management assistance to companies in which we invest.

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    CAMILO CORTES

    “A true system change doesn't come from charity or philanthropy, it comes from hard work, patience and a true understanding of the social context, and this is exactly that Acumen's model does.” [READ MORE]

    Camilo joined Acumen on January 2015 as Short Term Portfolio Associate and in November 2015 joined as a Portfolio Analyst. Since then, he has supported the Latin America team conducting industry research, financial modeling and pipeline development. Prior to joining Acumen, Camilo worked as an intern at Coca Cola Femsa and as a finance team leader at AIESEC-Colombia where he helped develop multiple social projects. During the summer of 2015, Camilo spent two months in Egypt designing initiatives to develop the entrepreneurship ecosystem. Camilo holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and industrial engineering from Los Andes University in Colombia.

    CONTACT

    E:ccortes@acumen.org

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    SANTIAGO ALVAREZ

    “Acumen is changing the way we address important social issues, such as inequality and lack of opportunity, by investing in sustainable and scalable business models, which I believe is a driving force to truly achieving systemic change.” [READ MORE]

    Before joining Acumen, Santiago was Investment Manager at Bamboo Finance in Bogota where he was responsible for sourcing, structuring and monitoring investments across Latin America, primarily in the access to financial services, energy and education sectors. Prior to that he was an Associate at ACTIS in London, a leading global private equity fund that invests in emerging markets, where he was particularly focused on energy transactions in Latin America and Africa.  Previously, Santiago was involved in supporting the start-up of Adobe Capital, a leading impact investing fund in Mexico. Before that he was a Consultant at Stratco, one of the leading management consulting firms in Colombia. He has also spent time working for Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and Zoona, a financial mobile payment company in Zambia. Santiago was an Investors Circle Fellow and a Skoll Centre Associate Fellow.

    Santiago holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Los Andes University in Colombia, an MS in Poverty Reduction and Development Management at the University of Birmingham in the UK and an MBA from the Saïd Business School at Oxford University.

    CONTACT

    E:salvarez@acumen.org

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    Catalina Torres

    “It is an oft-quoted saying, and one full of social wisdom: “Give a man a fish, and he will be hungry again tomorrow; teach him to catch a fish, and he will be richer all his life.” Acumen focus on building lasting solutions that fundamentally change the system, alleviating poverty by facilitating self-sufficiency.” [READ MORE]

    Catalina joins Acumen with a diverse background in project management and business development across a variety of industries. Prior to Acumen, Catalina worked at Edge Growth, an impact investing fund in South Africa where she focused in the development of tools to optimize the due diligence process. Before that, Catalina was structuring and developing a social business aimed at offering nutritional and affordable products for the base of the pyramid. This social business was then incubated within a large Colombian diary company called Alpina. Catalina holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia and an MBA from IE Business School, Spain.

    CONTACT

    E:ctorres@acumen.org

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    Virgilio Barco

    “Virgilio joined Acumen as Director of Latin America in September 2013. He is responsible for all Latin America related investments, operations and business development activities. Before...” [READ MORE]

    Virgilio joined Acumen as Director of Latin America in September 2013. He is responsible for all Latin America related investments, operations and business development activities.

    Before joining Acumen, he was the Executive Director of the non-profit Social Investment Bank (Banca de Inversión Social), which has helped lead the development of the impact investing space in Colombia. Prior to that, he was the Founding Director of Invest in Bogota, a public-private partnership that promotes foreign direct investment to the Greater Bogota region. In 2009, Invest in Bogota was ranked as the top non-OECD investment promotion agency in the world by the IFC. Virgilio also headed the privatization unit at the Colombian Ministry of Finance and was an advisor on local economic development for the Bogota Planning Department. He has worked in private equity with FondElec Group, as a management consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton in Brazil and as a financial analyst at Citibank Spain. He holds a B.A. in Government from Harvard College, an M.S. from the MIT Sloan School of Management and an M.A. in Economics from NYU.

    CONTACT

    E:vbarco@acumen.org

As a part of their nine-month field placement, Global Fellows work with one of our investee companies.

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    Dalia Zileviciute

    “I am in service of creating strong societies and foster inclusive social change and economic development.” [READ MORE]

    Dalia recently completed her MPA at Columbia University and London School of Economics, where she specialized in economic development. Recently, she worked with the International Labour Organization in Jordan, with Innovations for Poverty Action in Peru, and at Columbia Impact Investing Initiative. Additionally, Dalia holds a masters degree from London Business School and spent four years as a management consultant at KPMG in London.

    Dalia will spend her fellowship with Siembra Viva in Medellin, Colombia.

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    Duda Cardoso

    “My radical idea of creating hope is bridging the gap between the public and private sector to provide everyone with opportunity and dignity.” [READ MORE]

    Duda has a background in business and law and is passionate about creating social change at the intersection of these fields. She began her career as a consultant at Deloitte, where she focused on governance for global multinationals, and she recently completed her JD-MBA at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law and Kellogg School of Management where she was named a Youn Impact Scholar. Originally from Brazil, Duda holds a B.B.A. from Notre Dame in business and psychology.

    Duda will spend her fellowship with Cacao de Colombia in Popayan, Colombia.

There is not currently a Regional Fellows Program in Latin America. To learn more about our Regional Fellows Programs, click here.