Our Staff Writers and Editors offer insights on the latest news, events, interviews and other happenings from the development through enterprise and base of the pyramid universes
Wednesday, May 6, 2015 — Latin America

Press Release: Acumen Launches to Tackle Poverty in Latin America

Source: Market Watch

Acumen announced today its expansion to support social entrepreneurship in Latin America. The pioneer in impact investing will be headquartered in Bogotá and will invest in innovative entrepreneurs and enterprises in Colombia and Peru to drive faster, sustainable solutions to poverty and create new paths forward to tackle economic inequality. While extreme poverty in Latin America has declined by half, more than 80 million people still live on $4 a day and more than 200 million are at risk of being pulled back into poverty by economic instability and climate change.
Monday, March 30, 2015 — South Asia

Interview: India in Strong Position as the 'Laboratory for Innovation', Says Acumen's Ajit Mahadevan

Source: Business Today

Ajit Mahadevan, Country Head, Acumen, tells Sarika Malhotra that the company's aim in investing patient capital is not to seek high returns, "but to jump-start the creation of enterprises that improve the ability of the poor to live with dignity. In the long-run we do aim to see a return of our capital". Acumen has been investing in India since 2001 and has backed 26 companies across portfolios, including low-cost maternity care, skills training and education, water filtration enterprises and more. In addition to providing patient capital to investee companies, it has also invested in human capital and a wide range of management support services to help the companies scale up.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 — No Region Specified

$10 million Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to support smallholder farmers

Source: Press Release

Unilever, Acumen and the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, have launched a landmark Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action called the Enhanced Livelihoods Investment Initiative (ELII) to improve the livelihoods of as many as 300,000 smallholder farmers and their communities in Africa, South Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Monday, May 12, 2014 — No Region Specified

Acumen and the Lundin Foundation announce $1.5 million investment in Esoko Networks Limited

Source: Acumen

Acumen and the Lundin Foundation today announced a $1.5 million aggregate equity and debt investment in Esoko Networks Limited (“Esoko”), a Ghanaian-built technology platform that connects African farmers to markets via mobile phones.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Acumen and Dow Chemical Advance Technical Assistance Initiative to Support Social Enterprises Across Africa

Source: Press Release

Acumen, with support from Dow, Unilever and Barclays hosts their second annual Technical Assistance (TA) Initiative Summit from May 5-7 in Nairobi, Kenya. The Summit is the second gathering in support of Acumen’s TA Initiative aimed at accelerating the development and distribution of crucial products and services in agriculture, water, sanitation and energy across East and West Africa.
Thursday, January 30, 2014 — No Region Specified

Press Release: Announcing a New Investment - KZ Noir

Source: Acumen Blog

KZ Noir exports fully and semi washed green coffee and has two roasted coffee brands.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013 — No Region Specified

Can Business Solve Poverty?

Source: Fast Company

“Can business solve poverty? If you think it can, raise your hand.” When I asked that question from the podium earlier this week at the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs' (ANDE) annual meeting, nearly every one of the 200 members packed into the room raised a hand.
Monday, September 30, 2013 — No Region Specified

PULSE Merged Into B Analytics Platform

Source: CSR Wire

B Lab and Acumen announce today that PULSE is being incorporated into B Analytics. From custom metrics to comparable ratings, B Analytics is now the one stop shop for measuring, benchmarking & reporting on impact.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 — No Region Specified

GADCO Announces Investment from AATIF Fund sponsored by KfW, Deutsche Bank and the German Government

Source: Acumen Fund Blog

Global Agri-Development Company (GADCO), the FMCG agri-food company operating in sub-Saharan Africa, is pleased to announce an investment from AATIF (Africa Agriculture and Trade Investment Fund), the public-private partnership funded by the German Government, KfW, and Deutsche Bank.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012 — South Asia

Husk Power Systems raises $5 million for expansion

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Husk Power Systems, a Bihar-based company that runs micro power plants on agricultural waste, has raised Series A equity financing of $5 million (Rs 27 crore) from co-investors Bamboo Finance, Acumen Fund, and LGT Venture Philanthropy.
Monday, November 5, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Is the Philanthropy Model Broken? Changemakers Discuss Social Entrepreneurship in Dubai

Source: Wamda

In Dubai, a city that is sometimes referred to as ‘soul-less’, over 150 social changemakers from across the Gulf gathered at the Capital Club in DIFC a couple of weeks ago to discuss how our models of social entrepreneurship and philanthropy can evolve.
Friday, September 28, 2012 — No Region Specified

USAID and Acumen Partner to Spur Private Debt Capital for Social Enterprises in Developing Countries

Source: Acumen Fund Blog

New York – Today the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Acumen Fund, a nonprofit global venture fund addressing poverty across Africa and South Asia, announced a collaboration to facilitate the flow of up to $15 million in private debt capital to social enterprises working to provide critical goods and services to the underserved across these regions.
Monday, September 24, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Acumen Fund and Dow Partner to Scale Social Enterprises in East and West Africa

Source: Acumen Fund Blog

Commitment announced at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting brings funding and technical expertise to entrepreneurs providing low-income consumers with energy, agricultural inputs, water and sanitation
Monday, December 19, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Microfinance Banks to Construct 500 Houses

Source: Vanguard

Microfinance Banks in Lagos, under the auspices of the National Association of Microfinance Banks, Lagos State Chapter, NAMBLAG, have pledged to undertake a micro-housing project that will see them catering for the housing needs of a vast majority of the low income earners in the society. Chairman of the Association, Mr. Olufemi Babajide, in his address to members in the report for the 2010 financial year, said the association plans to build 500 houses for the active poor with flexible ...
Monday, August 15, 2011 — South Asia

Slum-free India Scheme to be Taken Up as National Mission

Source: The Hindu

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said the government's endeavour is to make the country slum-free through the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) scheme and empowering slum dwellers with house ownership. "We have taken a major step for our poor brothers and sisters living in cities. We have approved the Rajiv Awas Yojana. We want to make India slum free through this scheme," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in his Independence Day address to the nation in New Delhi. The RAY, the ...
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 — South Asia

The $720 House That's Built in a Week and Lasts Two Decades

Source: Fast Company

The world's cheapest car is manufactured by the Tata Group. So is the cheapest water filter . Now the Indian company is setting its sights on the housing market with a $720 flatpack home that can be constructed in a week. The basic flatpack model is 215 square feet, consists of coconu...
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 — Latin America

7.5 Lakh Families to Benefit from Cemex?s Housing Microfinance Program

Source: Microfinance Focus

Patrimonio Hoy, the housing microfinance program of CEMEX, is expanding its lending program to low-income families in Mexico and four other Latin American countries with a partial credit guarantee of up to $10 million from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). As many as 750,000 families are expected to benefit over the next five years through this project. Patrimonio Hoy is one of Latin America's social enterprises that provide low-income families earning of less than four tim...
Monday, June 27, 2011 — No Region Specified

'$300 Home Is Not Just Viable But Also Profitable'

Source: Hindustan Times

Name: Christian Sarkar Current location: on the road Twitter name: @300House In 30 words or less tell us who you work for and what you do: I help individuals and institutions with disruptive ideas and solutions. The $300 House started out as a blog post with Vijay Govindarajan. Now we're going from blog to reality. Do you have a website / blog?
Wednesday, June 8, 2011 — South Asia

The $300 House: A Hands-On Approach to a Wicked Problem

Source: Harvard Business Review

When the New York Times printed " Hands Off Our Houses ," an op-ed about our idea for a $300 House for the poor, we were both delighted and dismayed - delighted because the $300 House was being discussed, and dismayed because authors Matias Echanove and Rahul Srivastava, co-founders of the Institute of Urbanology , didn't seemed to have read the series of blog posts about our id...
Friday, June 3, 2011 — South Asia

Hands Off Our Houses

Source: The New York Times

Mumbai, India: LAST summer, a business professor and a marketing consultant wrote on The Harvard Business Review's Web site about their idea for a $300 house . According to the writers, and the many people who have enthusiastically responded since, such a house could improve the lives of millions of urban poor around the world. And with a $424 billion market for cheap...
Monday, February 28, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

MFIs Seen as Way Forward to Boost Housing Supply

Source: Business Daily Africa

The World Bank is calling on microfinanciers to fund housing projects in Kenya to meet the high demand for affordable homes in the low-end market. The Bank said Kenya should take cue from India's housing microfinancing concept that has already seen development of 20,000 homes for low income earners and is looking to deliver 500,000 units in a few years. Speaking during the launch of the Housing Finance report in Nairobi, Simon Walley of the World Bank said: "We need to w...
Tuesday, July 20, 2010 — No Region Specified

Frontier Investments: Focused on Mobile Banking, Microinsurance & Housing

Source: Microfinance Focus

ACCION International's Frontier Investments Group is a double bottom line, venture equity fund focused on catalyzing a new approach to microfinance. It invests in new technologies and disruptive business models that can powerfully enhance the way financial services are delivered to the poor. Building upon microfinance's success in "banking the unb...
Thursday, May 13, 2010 — Latin America

Ambitious Brazil Housing Plan Would Replace Slums

Source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Cristina Silva dos Santos is close to realizing a dream she has had for 28 years, since giving birth to the first of six children: a home big enough for her entire family. For now, she and her five youngest are squeezed into a four-room, rough-brick house the size of most garages, where they all sleep in the same room. But a new government housing program, the largest in Latin America aimed at cutting overcrowding in slums, will give Silv...
Friday, February 5, 2010 — Latin America

IGNIA Fund I Invests MXN$63 Million in MeXvi, Mexican Provider of Self-Construction Solutions

Source: PR Newswire

MONTERREY, Mexico, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- IGNIA Fund I, LP, the first impact investing fund in Latin America, announced today that it has invested MXN$63 million in Mexicana de Servicios para la Vivienda S.A.P.I. de C.V. ("MeXvi"), a leading provider of integral solutions for self-construction of low-income homes in rural and semi-urban settings. "MeXvi provides the end user with accessible construction materials, design and technical assistance, so that the cli...
Friday, December 4, 2009 — South Asia

MFIs Wary of Housing Loans over Default Fears

Source: LiveMint

Bangalore: Concerns of defaults are holding back microfinance institutions, or MFIs, from a full-fledged expansion into home loans even as they seek to turn their clientele of poor borrowers into consumers and compete with commercial banks. MFIs, established mainly to lend small sums to the unbanked poor to help them earn a living, say there's potentially a huge demand for home loans among their customers. At least two of seven prominent MFIs that Mint spoke to have started...
Friday, November 6, 2009 — South Asia

Tatas Going Global with Low-Cost Housing

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Kochi, Nov. 5 The Tatas are giving a global perspective to their successful affordable housing model, which was launched in Mumbai. Mr Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Sons, said that Tata Housing has got enquiries for replicating the Mumbai housing model from other countries and is likely to start out from Maldives. Enquiries have come from various other States and the affordable housing model would soon be extended to Kolkata, Bangalore and Assam. He said there exists tremendo...
Wednesday, July 29, 2009 — South Asia

Low-cost housing in Mumbai: A market at the base of the pyramid?

Source: CSR Asia

Estimates suggest that India has a shortfall of more than 25 million low-cost or affordable houses. The result is sprawling slums that ring some of the country’s largest cities and a bewildering maze of tenement buildings in which three-generations-under-one-roof-families jostle for space and privacy in spaces of 150 square feet and above. As Supriya Menon said recently, they say it is easy to find everything in Mumbai except for a house ( BBC , 15 June). Just lik...
Thursday, May 7, 2009 — South Asia

After a Small Car, it?s a Small Home from Tata Housing

Source: Live Mint

Bangalore: Soon after Tata Motors Ltd launched the Nano, touted as the world’s cheapest car, another group company announced on Wednesday that it will build homes that cost between Rs3.9 lakh and Rs6.7 lakh. Privately held Tata Housing Development Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of Tata Sons Ltd, has launched the first of these projects, branded Shubh Griha, in Boisar, a distant suburb in Mumbai, the company said. The firm will invest up to Rs100 crore in a 1,200-unit township in the ...
Monday, May 4, 2009 — South Asia

Something to Cheer: Nano Homes for Rs 3-5 Lakh

Source: The Times of India

BANGALORE: Creating products and services for the bottom of the pyramid is the sweet spot where social objectives marry economic benefits. After cars and mobile calls, developers and social entrepreneurs are looking at creating ‘Nano’ homes. On the anvil are houses for between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 5 lakh for a constituency as diverse as domestic help, taxi drivers, plumbers, senior citizens, graduates, newly wed couples - basically, those who earn between Rs 6,500 and Rs 13,000 ...
Thursday, April 30, 2009 — South Asia

Builders, Politicians Cheer Affordable Homes in India

Source: Live Mint

Mumbai: A recent state government lottery for about 4,000 low-cost apartments in Mumbai drew more than 430,000 applications, underlining the need for affordable housing in a country where housing is also a top election issue. Political parties of all hues have seized on affordable homes as a vote getter in India’s ongoing general election, plugging in to the frustration of millions priced out of a real estate boom fuelled by a robust economy and a six-year bull market. Devel...
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