To accelerate the growth of our social enterprises in East Africa and India, we have joined forces with global business software leader SAP. Leveraging SAP’s technology and global business expertise, this unique collaboration will bring together Acumen entrepreneurs working in different sectors and countries to deepen their business capabilities and expand access to solutions to help them address global poverty.
At the core of the collaboration is the Social Entrepreneur Fellowship, a 100-day program that centers on the development of a strategic plan for scale. The CEOs from companies within Acumen’s portfolio will connect with Silicon Valley leaders and investors to test and evaluate their plans, develop networks and build new tools to achieve high growth.
The selected entrepreneurs will participate in a two-week leadership development program in Silicon Valley in July, followed by 13 weeks of mentoring and technical support in their countries. At the fellowship’s end, they will have a strategic view of growth for their companies along with a global community of social entrepreneurs, business experts and investors to help make that growth a reality.
Representing a diverse mix of enterprises focused on health care, education and livelihoods, the CEOs selected to participate include:
- David Auerbach worked at Ignia Fund in Mexico, Endeavor and the Clinton Global Initiative before becoming CEO of Sanergy a company that is working to makes hygienic sanitation affordable and accessible by providing low-cost, high-quality toilets to Kenyans.
- Mark Davies started his first Internet business, Metrobeat, in 1995 and merged with CitySearch a year later to develop digital guides for 70 cities. In 2006, he turned his focus to emerging entrepreneurs to create Esoko, a mobile platform changing how information is shared within rural farming communities.
- Ashifi Gogo, an expert in end-consumer authentication technologies, created Sproxil to protect consumers from counterfeit medicine and bad products. The company works directly with manufacturers to integrate product authentication service, so consumers have the tool to make smarter choices.
- Willem Nolens has over 15 years of experience leading companies in the fields of microfinance and solar energy in Africa. Since 2008, he has led SolarNow, which is increasing energy access in rural Uganda through its innovative distribution and financing model.
- Peter Scott has focused on cookstove design and innovation for nearly 20 years, first with GIZ and now as CEO of Burn Manufacturing. Burn manufactures and sells high-efficiency clean cookstoves for the Kenyan market proving the business case for high quality, locally manufactured and unsubsidized charcoal cookstove.
- John Waibochi has over 18 years of experience in Kenya’s technology sector. Since 2000, he has led Virtual City, a leading mobile software firm that develops and delivers streamlined, cost-effective solutions to the supply chain and agribusiness industry in Africa.
- Harish Mamtani founded Standard of Excellence in Education Development (SEED) in 2013 to transform low-cost private K-10 education in India. SEED works with underperforming school strapped for resources to institute a standardized curriculum, teacher training and other operational processes.
- Ajaita Shah has spent the last year eight years working in microfinance and clean energy distribution in India. In 2010, she founded Frontier Markets to provide more than 300 rural villages in India with access to clean energy products as well as training and servicing for those products.
- Girish Singhania launched Edubridge in 2009 after working at Proctor & Gamble and investment banking in Mumbai. EduBridge provides India’s rural youth with skills training and job placement to help them join the formal economy.
- Gayathri Vasudevan founded LabourNet in 2008 after working with the International Labour Organisation for eight years. LabourNet delivers training through an apprenticeship model to build technical skills, entrepreneurial experience and ultimately access to employment.