The week of 16-19 May 2016 was an important week for girls and women throughout the world with the hosting Women Deliver's 4th Global Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was also a milestone for our Motherhood Projects which incorporate the Alliance for Maternal Health Equality (AMHE), Safe Motherhood Week (SMW) and the Pregnancy and Medicine Initiative (PMI).
Acumen Fund: innovation lighting path to dignity
What would happen, if instead of bailing out large corporations, we empowered small, local entrepreneurs in the developing world? Would they thrive? How would it impact their economies?
The Acumen Fund sees itself as the intersection between innovation and dignity. Incorporated in 2001, with seed capital from the Rockefeller Foundation, Cisco Systems Foundation, and three individual philanthropists, this venture capital fund for the poor empowers local entrepreneurs in deprived areas of the world. It helps them solve their own local social problems – an approach that provides a much-needed alternative to charity and dependence.
The early-stage enterprises it supports provide communities with access to the basic services many of us take for granted: health, safe drinking water, sanitation, housing, alternative energy, and agriculture. The Books of Hope enterprise, for example, created Speaking Books. These books use illustrated narratives and built-in audio to provide health education to people who cannot read.
Its approach unites the cultures of nonprofits and business. Flexible, with a high tolerance for risk and long-term horizons, it seeks to maximize social, rather than financial returns on its “patient capital” investments, which range from $300,000 to $2,500,000. However it also demands clear indications that the enterprise can grow sustainably. Understanding leadership is as important as investment, the Acumen Fund also provides management support to help enterprises thrive.
This venture capital fund for the world’s poor provides an ethical and dignified way of bringing sustainable solutions to today’s major problems. The developing world needs to be empowered by investors who understand the need for long-term change and the challenges inherent in achieving it. The Acumen Fund provides the patience, knowledge and understanding needed to bring hope and dignity to the lives of many.
Break Dengue was awarded “Most Impactful Emerging Initiative” at the eyeforpharma Barcelona Awards. Break Dengue was one of 29 entries in the category, and received the honours “following a unanimous vote by the panel of international industry experts and patient advocates”.