Acumen Global Emergency Facility
Helping enterprises and communities withstand crisis for long-term impact
THE COVID-19 CRISIS IS HITTING THE POOR THE HARDEST AND PUTTING TWO DECADES OF PROGRESS AT RISK.
Acumen’s investees and Fellows have the expertise and infrastructure required to serve the low-income communities most affected by COVID-19. But they can’t do this frontline work without funding. Acumen’s emergency capital supports enterprises so that they can both serve their communities’ immediate needs through the pandemic and continue their long-term work of serving the poor and vulnerable after the crisis.
Global Emergency Facility At a Glance
deployed to date
Acumen is actively raising USD 5 million to provide grants and loans to investees and Fellows’ organizations through the crisis. These enterprises are using the funds to:
Withstand the Crisis
Because many Fellows and investees are early-stage enterprises, they are particularly vulnerable to the economic hardships caused by COVID-19. Social entrepreneurs and their employees face new challenges such as health risks, decreased or halted production or even bankruptcy. Given their early stage, they are also less likely to be eligible for formal credit or limited government relief funds. These enterprises are using Acumen’s funding to withstand the crisis so that they can continue fighting poverty over the long-term.
Respond to New Challenges
Some entrepreneurs are pivoting their business models to respond to their communities’ new, urgent needs due to COVID-19—from repurposing factories to produce facemasks to transitioning to virtual learning to distributing free meals and sanitation supplies. These enterprises are using Acumen’s funding for the supplies and infrastructure required to operationalize these new approaches.
AREAS OF SUPPORT
Helping entrepreneurs provide access to essential goods and services for vulnerable communities.
Providing wages to employees facing lost income due to decreased or halted operations.
Sustaining short-term operating expenses to withstand the pandemic.
Personal Protective Equipment
Supplying personal protective equipment for essential workers continuing to serve their communities.
Featured COVID Relief Enterprises
The Assembly Hub
WEST AFRICA | WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
Fellow Yoanna Chikezie is Founder of The Assembly Hub, a social enterprise offering training and upskilling for fashion designers and tailors in Nigeria.
The Assembly Hub is activating its network of manufacturers to produce facemasks for healthcare workers and citizens, and launching support services programs for small garment businesses.
DRASA Health Trust
WEST AFRICA | HEALTHCARE
Fellow Niniola Williams is Managing Director of DRASA Health Trust, a public health nonprofit focused on infection prevention and outbreak preparedness in Nigeria.
As a member of the Lagos State COVID-19 Emergency Response Operations Team, DRASA is training frontline health workers on how to prevent the spread of the virus while administering care.
WEST AFRICA | AGRICULTURE
Fellow Kwame Ababio is CEO of Green Afro-Palms (GAP), a company producing vegetables and palm oil sourced from Ghana’s smallholder farmers.
GAP developed an e-commerce platform to enable 500 retailers—who sell GAP’s vegetables and palm oil in Ghana’s markets—to conduct online sales.
Gudi Mudi Khadi
INDIA | WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
Fellow Nivedita Rai manages Gudi Mudi Khadi, a project of WomenWeave, that aims to make weaving a viable livelihood for women in Maheshwar.
Gudi Mudi Khadi is creating a new product line of handwoven textiles designed and priced for the Indian market, maintaining women artisans’ incomes.
Pakistan | Cultural Preservation
Fellows Aftab Ahmad and Zubair Torwali are Co-Founders of Idara Baraye Taleem-o-Taraqi (IBT), an organization preserving the endangered languages and cultures of marginalized indigenous communities in Northern Pakistan.
IBT is continuing operations remotely during the COVID lockdown: publishing eight new books in the Torwali language and teaching 40 young people how to write in Torwali.
PAKISTAN | WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
Fellow Hazer Gul is Founder of the Islamapur Cottage Industries Association (ICIA), a social enterprise changing the artisan weaving industry with its handmade woolen products and capacity building program.
ICIA is creating a new line of woolen products priced for the Pakistani market, maintaining production and weavers’ incomes through the COVID lockdown.
WEST AFRICA | EDUCATION
Fellow Brenda Brewer Moore is Founder & CEO of Kids’ Educational Engagement Project (KEEP), a nonprofit increasing literacy in Liberia.
KEEP is conducting read-aloud sessions online with over 30,000 viewers weekly as well as providing free mobile phones to 250 students, enabling them to participate in at-home virtual programming.
INDIA | WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
Investee LabourNet’s skill-building and job placement programs have trained over 1 million informal workers in India.
LabourNet is now repurposing its 100-person staff of trainers to serve free food and sanitation products to nearly 300,000 migrant workers stranded in cities without any source of income.
EAST AFRICA | FINANCIAL SERVICES
Fellows Mina Shahid and Catherine Denis are Co-Founders of Numida, a fintech startup in Uganda that provides working capital loans to financially excluded and semiformal micro and small businesses.
In response to government lockdowns, Numida has deferred the loan payments of 1,050 customers and is supporting an additional 1,250 small businesses with direct funding to help reactivate the Ugandan small business economy post-COVID.
Our Family Clinic
INDIA | HEALTHCARE
Investee Our Family Clinic makes affordable, quality healthcare available 24/7 to low-income customers in southern India.
Our Family Clinic has developed a telemedicine platform to provide access to virtual care while reducing the risk of contagion.
INDIA | RURAL DEVELOPMENT
Fellow Zubin Manav is Founder of Project Potential, an organization empowering changemakers in Bihar to lead local community development from construction to theater production.
Project Potential is monitoring and addressing hunger for families in Bihar and spreading prevention awareness in 275 villages.
INDIA | HEALTHCARE
Fellow Suhani Mohan is Co-Founder & CEO of Saral Designs, a company producing and distributing sanitary pads to women in semi-urban and rural areas in India.
Saral Designs has not only repurposed its sanitary pad machines to create facemasks but is now building an automatic machine to produce 60,000 masks per day.
PAKISTAN | HEALTHCARE
Fellow Dr. Sara Saeed Khurram is Co-Founder & CEO of Sehat Kahani, an all-female medical team providing virtual care to underserved communities via video conference and mobile app.
Sehat Kahani is offering COVID-19 telemedicine services free of charge, enabling patients to access care quickly while reducing their risk of contagion.
EAST AFRICA | ENERGY
Fellow Waringa Matindi is CEO of Village Energy, a last-mile solar energy distribution and installation company for enterprises in underserved areas of Uganda.
Village Energy is providing free installation and maintenance of solar street lights, home systems and lanterns privately donated to four Uganda Ministry of Health facilities—including two health centers previously serving up to 70 patients per day without electricity.