I have been fiddling around on a website that is new to me. Accumen Fund is a new and exciting breed of social entrepreneurship nonprofit, incorporating venture capital ideas into the old model of fundraising and donating abroad.
This is what they say about themselves:
Acumen Fund is a non-profit global venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of global poverty. We seek to prove that small amounts of philanthropic capital, combined with large doses of business acumen, can build thriving enterprises that serve vast numbers of the poor. Our investments focus on delivering affordable, critical goods and services – like health, water, housing and energy – through innovative, market-oriented approaches.
Quite exciting, huh?
The founder, Jacqueline Novogratz, is someone who has struggled with many of the same questions that I have regarding both development and her life. She was jaded by failed development in Africa at a young age and chose to go into the NY finance world. With a new understanding of economic growth and entrepreneurship, she ventured back into the developing world, founding a number of microfinance institutions and eventually starting the Accumen Fund in 2001. She has recently released a book on the topic of development, The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between the Rich and the Poor in an Interconnected World. I will be picking up a copy shortly to take on my work trip to East Africa, which I leave for on Monday. I will be working with some of the same MFIs Jacqueline has dealt with. Sounds like appropriate reading for the journey!
Expect a review soon.