Social entrepreneurship is changing the game of international development by blending the best of business with the best of philanthropy. A pioneer of this approach, Acumen is a nonprofit social venture fund changing the way the world tackles poverty by investing in companies, leaders and ideas. Unlike traditional nonprofits, Acumen turns philanthropic dollars into what it calls “patient capital” to invest in entrepreneurs creating sustainable, scalable solutions to the big problems of poverty. Today, Acumen has invested more than $101 million in 92 companies across Africa, Latin America, South Asia and the United States. Named one of Fast Company’s Top 10 Most Innovative Not-for-Profit Companies in 2015, Acumen has its headquarters in New York and offices in Colombia, Ghana, India, Kenya and Pakistan.
Acumen opened its Pakistan office in 2006 and has since invested more than $15 million to support Pakistani entrepreneurs dedicated to providing goods and services to people living on less than $4 per day. Acumen’s Pakistan investments fall in areas as diverse as off-grid energy and affordable housing to low-cost, high-quality education and microfinance loans to rural farmers. Since Acumen arrived in Pakistan, it has impacted an estimated 4 million lives and helped create and support 3,500 jobs.
Acumen recently engaged in a new collaboration with the Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs (OPEN). This alliance was announced by Mr. Naeem Zamindar, Acumen’s Pakistan Director, at OPEN’s Global Retreat in July 2016. At the heart of the collaboration will be a shared commitment between the two organizations to raise awareness of Pakistan’s emerging global business leaders, social entrepreneurs and changemakers. Acumen will leverage OPEN’s extensive network to increase engagement and awareness of its work whilst providing opportunities for members to advise, mentor and support social enterprises within Acumen’s portfolio as well as its global community of Acumen Fellows.
The collaboration between Acumen and OPEN demonstrates a new approach not only to international development but also to charitable giving. Instead of short-term charity, Acumen is unleashing the power of social entrepreneurship and investing smart, sustainable models to tackle the root causes of poverty and create lasting, meaningful social change.