Want to be an Acumen Fund Fellow?

Recently, I attended a talk by Acumen Fund Fellow and Harvard Kennedy School alumna, Catherine Casey, who worked in Kenya with the Sustainable Healthcare Foundation, a micro-franchise healthcare and drug distribution chain based in Nairobi, Kenya. The Acumen Fund fellowship is a relatively new program, with a vast array of opportunities in India. Just this past year, 3 out of 7 of the Acumen Fund Fellows were placed in India:

Chris Walker, Dial 1298 for Ambulance, India

Chris is working with Dial 1298 for Ambulance, the Mumbai-based provider of emergency medical services. Chris is developing and implementing a marketing strategy to raise awareness about the ambulance service as well as providing assistance on business development.

John Tucker, VisionSpring, India

John is developing the vision entrepreneur channel for VisionSpring, Acumen Fund’s investment in low-cost reading glasses in India. In addition, he is designing marketing tools and incentives for micro-franchises.

Tricia Morente, LifeSpring Hospitals, India

Tricia is supporting LifeSpring Hospitals, an expanding chain of hospitals that provide high quality health care to low-income women and children in India. She is creating and implementing LifeSpring’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy, which includes the company’s community outreach work.

Interested?  You have until October 20th to submit your application, so don’t waste another minute re-considering – apply!

A New Breakthrough in Tracking Social Entrepreneurs

I’ve always valued metrics but remain wary of the extent to which numbers can be used to reveal the whole picture. Hearing about the new Portfolio Data Management System (PDMS) – an online database tracking social entrepreneurs – is proof that there is progress in the effort to measure social impact. A variety of organizations came together for this massive effort: Acumen Fund, Salesforce.com Foundation, Skoll Foundation, Lodestar Foundation, along with programmers from Google. How does the PDMS work? BusinessWeek explains:

A common set of metrics will be recorded for each organization so donors and investors can check regularly and track their progress or spot trouble. Social entrepreneurs will be able to benchmark their results against those for similar organizations around the world.

The system will allow foundations and other donors see what the return on their investment is, and compare it against other similar organizations to see if real progress is occurring. I can imagine that not only will the information be useful to investors, though, but also to other stakeholders – partner organizations, beneficiaries, almost anyone involved the same field who wants to stay informed of the value of programs and money.

Since social enterprises are relatively new entities, standards and benchmarks are not common or shared. A specific metric that one enterprise decides to use may differ with the next. The PDMS offers a solution to the current haphazard situation… Continue reading