Q: Do I have to be working in a social enterprise to be considered for the Fellowship?


Although many of our Fellows do work in social enterprises, Fellows can be working in any sector (including for-profit, nonprofit, corporations, and government).

Q: Is the program only open to entrepreneurs?


Fellows go on various career paths and personal journeys over their lives, but many of the Fellows we’ve seen over the years include:

  • Entrepreneurs who have founded or are leading a for-profit or nonprofit organization that provides critical goods and services to the underserved
  • Intrapreneurs who are creating innovative solutions to tackle poverty or injustice from within existing institutions by shifting institutional culture and building new collaborations.
  • Organizational builders who are supporting the growth of poverty or injustice-focused institution from within, but not as the founder or CEO

We are looking for an entrepreneurial attitude, mindset, and approach – people who don’t accept the status quo.

Q: What are the academic qualifications for the program?

There are no specific academic prerequisites.

Q: Is English proficiency a requirement?

Yes. All seminars and training are conducted in English, with the exception of the Colombia program, which is offered in Spanish. Conversational proficiency in the language that the program will be conducted in is a requirement to ensure Fellows are able to give and get the most from this experience.

Q: Do I have to be a citizen of the region to which I am applying? (ex. Indian to apply to the Indian Fellows Program)


We consider applications from citizens of the country or region. We will, on an exceptional basis, consider applicants who demonstrate a concrete connection to the region (ie. long-term employment, residency, the focus of the social change project).

Q: Are there a minimum or maximum age requirements for Fellows?


There is neither a minimum age requirement nor a maximum age cut off.

Q: Do I need to currently be involved in work focused on poverty or injustice?


We are looking for individuals who currently have a leadership role in an organization or initiative committed to fighting poverty or injustice on a full-time basis. We will, on an exceptional basis, consider applicants who are working part-time, as long as they demonstrate a full-time commitment to fighting poverty or injustice.

Q: Can someone who has participated in one Acumen Fellows program apply and participate in another? (ex. can a Global Fellow join the Malaysia, Bangladesh, Colombia, East Africa, India or West Africa program?)

No. Each cohort of Acumen Fellows must be comprised of individuals who have not previously taken part in an Acumen Fellows program. This is specific to Acumen’s programs; candidates who have participated in other fellowships or leadership programs, or who have taken +Acumen courses, are welcome to apply.

Q: Can two people from the same organization apply for the Acumen Fellows Program?

The Acumen Fellows Program is a significant investment in an individual’s leadership journey. As the program is competitive and only offers 20 spots per year in each region, we aim to amplify our impact through the Fellows by asking them to take learnings from the Program back to their teams and communities.

This means that in a given year, while multiple people from the same organization may apply, should you all meet our basic eligibility criteria, we will only be able to select one of you to advance in the selection process. We suggest keeping this in mind as you make the decision regarding whether one or more of you will apply in the same year.

This also means that, within a 3 year period, we will not be able to accept more than one person as a Fellow from the same organization. If somebody from your organization has been an Acumen Fellow in the last 3 years, we will not be able to accept your application this year. If nobody from your organization is an Acumen Fellow yet, we suggest keeping this in mind as you make the decision regarding which person in your organization is best suited to apply at this point in your leadership journeys.

Q: Can I apply if I have taken +Acumen courses?

Absolutely! Taking +Acumen courses prior to the fellowship is strongly encouraged.