Even when early innovations start to succeed, it is not uncommon to see growing businesses sabotaged for threatening the status quo.
Malaria is a disease that kills one to three million people a year. 300 to 500 million cases are reported. It's estimated that Africa loses about 13 billion dollars a year to the disease. Five dollars can save a life. We can send people to the moon; we can see if there's life on Mars – why can't we get five-dollar nets to 500 million people?
I've been working on issues of poverty for more than 20 years, and so it's ironic that the problem that and question that I most grapple with is how you actually define poverty. What does it mean?
Acumen Fund's patient capital investment in Western Seed is intended to enhance the food security and economic independence of Kenya's smallholder farmers.
As both developed and developing nations search for alternative sources of energy in response to the growing energy crisis, we at Acumen Fund believe that investing in entrepreneurs who provide innovative energy solutions is an increasingly critical part of the solution.
Impact investing has become a broad umbrella that includes all investing with a focus on both financial return and social impact, but in its best form, impact investing prioritizes impact over returns and achieves outcomes that traditional investing cannot.
What farmers gain most of all from the increase in agricultural productivity, of course, is choice.
Rockefeller viewed his philanthropy through the lens of his business, and it really mirrored the Industrial Revolution. It was highly centralized, it was top down, it was based on experts, and it was big-picture.
Sometimes very small investments can release enormous, infinite potential that exists in all of us.
When Jeff Sachs says every poor person should receive a free bed net, I agree – but in reality, many end up not receiving one. And I don't live in a world of shoulds.
You have to learn to ask questions in a way that will elicit more nuanced answers, rather than the answers you would like to get.
Despite the hundreds of non-governmental organizations and the continued outpouring of foreign aid, East Africa remains as a region overwhelmed by extreme poverty.
We live in a world in which we're seeing an increasing gap between the haves and the have-nots.
President Kennedy said that those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable. I would say that the converse is true.
I dream a world in no one feels the need for or fear of predatory behavior, in which each of us walks with the knowledge of how beautiful – and valuable – is each human life.
Human beings tend not to spend money on health preventionally. We tend to spend it on top treatment.
In India, we now see many highly qualified professionals ready to work in the rural hinterland and in their own towns and cities to tackle development issues directly without depending much on the government.
Leaders can get stuck in groupthink because they're really not listening, or they're listening only to what they want to listen to, or they actually think they're so right that they're not interested in listening. And that leads to a lot of suboptimal solutions in the world.
Standing with the poor means walking away from unethical leaders, even when their companies are 'succeeding.'
This idea of universal access to basic healthcare has to be figured out as a world. No country has figured it out in part because it is driven by ideology.
Monsters will always exist. There's one inside each of us. But an angel lives there, too. There is no more important agenda than figuring out how to slay one and nurture the other.
Where micro-finance focuses on small loans to individual, low-income women, think of Acumen Fund more like a venture capital fund.
Many business leaders are seeing the relationship between long term success and sustainability, and that's very heartening.
We see very, very high rates of C-sections, Cesarean sections, in India. Lots of reasons for it, high levels of malnutrition have meant that women have very small pelvic areas often, so if they have larger babies, it's very hard to deliver.
I was an accidental banker. To please my parents, I went for an interview with Chase Manhattan Bank in 1983. They promised to send me into their offices in more than 40 countries and essentially audit the practices. It was an extraordinary job.
I am an insomniac. Most of my nights include a moment of wakening. Often I will make my way to the kitchen to make tea and read for awhile.
I've heard it said that the most dangerous animal on the planet is the adolescent male.
Acumen Fund is my prayer in response to genocide and what happened in Rwanda.
When I see people that are my age and reaching 50, the ones that are really sparkly and full of joy are the ones that are committed to something bigger than themselves.
I'm feeling optimistic about rural Pakistan. Farmers are making good money.
I think I still have a great sense of adventure and trust, and am surprisingly idealistic given all the horrible things I've seen since I was 25. I think how I have changed is that I have a much deeper understanding of the dark forces in the world, of power.
The poor don't live in functional market economies as the rest of us do, but in political economies where corruption and broken systems extend from local government to moneylenders.
There's a real moral imperative in being an organization that takes the time to sit and listen to the customers and the people they're serving.
I believe the government should ensure all children are provided with a good education.
As a 25-year-old banker, I decided to leave my career and change the world. This sounds like a move that a 25-year-old banker might make today – to escape the chaos.
Not surprisingly, most people feel most beautiful when they are involved in an act of service, or are doing something that makes them feel generous, connected, or seen by others.
Wealth today has been created by a world view dominated by fast-moving networks, open information, bottom-up entrepreneurialism.
I have seen that traditional approaches to charity and aid don't solve problems of poverty. In fact, too often they create dependence.
There are cases where government-to-government aid actually has worked. Look at the eradication of smallpox and the near eradication of polio. But these are really top down solutions that require government-to-government support and aid.
I think we so often equate leadership with being experts – the leader is supposed to come in and fix things. But in this interconnected world we live in now, it's almost impossible for just one person to do that.
When we deny the poor and the vulnerable their own human dignity and capacity for freedom and choice, it becomes self-denial. It becomes a denial of both our collective and individual dignity, at all levels of society.
Companies like Husk Power Systems are working to impact positively not only the environment, but to ensure that someday everyone, including the poorest of the poor in rural India, will have access to clean and affordable electricity.
I wrote 'The Blue Sweater' to inspire more people to become engaged in working to solve the problems of global poverty.
In the case of maternal health care, you look at, well naturally, it's the mother who's the customer, who makes the decisions. But in truth, the mother in many areas, in certain parts of India, the mother has very little decision-making power at all. The real decision-maker is the mother-in-law.
Sproxil will help combat the multi-billion dollar counterfeit drug market, empower customers, and give them the resources to make informed pharmaceutical purchasing decisions.
Through the Fellows Program, Acumen Fund prepares future global leaders with the tools necessary to drive significant social change.
People have to understand that unless social enterprise is experimental, it will not succeed in making a difference.
For too much of history, we've viewed the world's precious resources – both environmental and human – as things to extract, to make the most of in order to maximize their potential.
On a macro level, four billion people on Earth make less than four dollars a day.
Our actions – and inaction – touch people we may never know and never meet across the globe.
I studied international relations and economics at the University of Virginia. I paid my way by working as a bartender in the summer and at three part-time jobs during the year.
I would like philanthropists to take more risks and invest more in risk capital.