Neither the markets nor aid alone can solve the problems of poverty. More than two billion people around the world lack access to basic goods and services—from clean water and electricity to an education and the freedom to participate in the economy. We’re here to change that. Our vision is a world based on dignity, where every human being has the same opportunity. Rather than giving philanthropy away, we invest it in companies and change makers.
Acumen was founded by Jacqueline Novogratz in 2001 to use power of entrepreneurship to build a world where everyone had the opportunity to live with dignity. Our goal was to invest “Patient Capital” to bridge the gap between the efficiency and scale of market-based approaches and the social impact of pure philanthropy.
Patient capital investing bridges the gap between the efficiency and scale of market-based approaches and the social impact of pure philanthropy. Patient capital has a high tolerance for risk, has long time horizons, is flexible to meet the needs of entrepreneurs, and is unwilling to sacrifice the needs of end customers for the sake of shareholders. At the same time, patient capital ultimately demands accountability in the form of a return of capital: proof that the underlying enterprise can grow sustainably in the long run.
We are seeing exciting new business models capable of bringing affordable, life-changing products and services to the poor. These businesses are transforming the lives of their customers, and are creating jobs that lead directly to economic growth.
Starting a new business is always tough and starting a business in the developing world can be much tougher. Launching a business that focuses on the needs of the world’s poorest often seems impossible. Patient Capital is the scarce resource that allows new, sometimes crazy, potentially world-changing ideas see the light of day.