Acumen East Africa and Dow Announce Technical Assistance Recipients

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Acumen is pleased to announce the first recipients of technical assistance support through its Technical Assistance (TA) Initiative, launched in partnership with The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW).

This technical assistance funding marks the first phase of the TA Initiative, and a broader launch of Acumen’s corporate engagement policy. “I am tremendously excited about the potential this initiative holds, and the innovative implications for Acumen’s mission of tackling poverty. This partnership with the private sector paves the way for new hybrid business models across the region and beyond.” Said Duncan Onyango, Acumen’s East Africa Regional Director.

The TA Initiative was launched during a Summit of social enteprises and global corporations held on May 14 – 16, 2013. The Summit brought together 10 of Acumen’s portfolio companies from East and West Africa with the aim of expanding access to critical goods and services for underserved communities in the region.

Ross McLean, President of Dow Sub Saharan Africa commented on the value of collaboration and potential for future partnerships, stating that there are “some very interesting innovations out there amongst the social entrepreneurs that we have been talking to. I see potential linkages and I think it’s a fantastic networking opportunity to create a community response together.”

As part of its 2012 Clinton Global Initiative commitment, the Dow Sustainability Corps program has committed its support of the Acumen portfolio companies on key business challenges.

The Dow Sustainability Corps (DSC) is a skills-based employee engagement program that matches interested and capable employees with non-government organizations (NGOs), social entrepreneurs, and government agencies. Through the DSC, the company seeks to leverage its own expertise for projects and organizations that help address the world’s biggest challenges.

Technical Assistance Recipients:

  • Western Seed – produces hybrid seeds to improve farmers’ productivity across East Africa. This support will help them develop new disease tolerant seed varieties which will enhance crop protection and contribute to increased food security for East African region.

  • Sanergy – works to provide hygienic sanitation in low income communities while generating nutrient-rich organic fertilizers. The award will support its marketing & branding efforts, growing distribution as they work towards market-entry viability for their organic fertilizer products.

  • Virtual City – increases the earnings of smallholder farmers by linking them to agricultural markets through mobile solutions. The award will provide strategic assistance as the company enters new markets and works to build up its sales channels, bringing new customers on board.

  • Sproxil – an anti-counterfeiting company that protects consumers from exposure to counterfeit goods including pharmaceuticals across West Africa, will receive support as it develops an anti-counterfeiting prototype for adjacent industries, conducts pilots of new products and explores partnerships for market expansion.

For more information, please contact Kenneth Macharia, East Africa Business Development and Communications Manager at Acumen on e-mail or mobile +254 (0) 718 928 955.


About Acumen
Acumen is a not-for-profit working to change the way the world tackles poverty by investing in companies, leaders and ideas. We invest patient capital in business models that deliver critical goods and services to the world’s poor, improving the lives of millions. Since 2001, Acumen has invested more than $83 million in 73 companies across South Asia and Africa. We are also working to build a global community of emerging leaders that believe in creating a more inclusive world through the tools of both business and philanthropy. Please visit for more information.

About Dow
Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines the power of science and technology to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The Company connects chemistry and innovation with the principles of sustainability to help address many of the world’s most challenging problems such as the need for clean water, renewable energy generation and conservation, and increasing agricultural productivity. Dow’s diversified industry-leading portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in approximately 160 countries and in high growth sectors such as electronics, water, energy, coatings and agriculture. In 2012, Dow had annual sales of approximately $57 billion and employed approximately 54,000 people worldwide. The Company’s more than 5,000 products are manufactured at 188 sites in 36 countries across the globe. References to “Dow” or the “Company” mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted. More information about Dow can be found at

About Dow in Africa
Dow established its first sales office in Africa more than 50 years ago. Today the company enjoys a growing commercial and manufacturing presence with 11 locations across the continent in Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. Dow’s growing presence in Africa demonstrates the company’s commitment to the continent and aims to deliver industry leadership, technical innovation and expertise with a commitment to sustainability to help transform the region into a key player in the global chemicals industry. Dow is focusing all its efforts towards being an active social and community member and an employer and partner of choice on the continent. Through innovative and sustainable initiatives like the Habitat for Humanity project in Kenya, Egypt and South Africa and the Dow Mobile Science lab in South Africa, Dow is playing a pivotal social and development role in the region. Dow serves approximately 700 customers across 38 countries in Africa. For more information about Dow in Africa, please visit

Source: Acumen Blog (link opens in a new window)

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