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Jacqueline Novogratz and Acumen

Published 12 Nov 2019
Reference 6551
Region Global
Summary

Jacqueline Novogratz quits a prestigious banking job to pursue a career in development but discovers that achieving real impact is harder than she had imagined, especially as grant-funded non-profits often lack the skills and accountability to be really effective. After getting an MBA and some experience with the Rockefeller Foundation, she starts work on setting up an impact investing fund called Acumen, with a mission to finance and support social enterprises that serve the world’s poor through market-based solutions.

Teaching objectives

This short case is suited for modules related to purposeful leadership, meaningful careers, nonprofit management, effective philanthropy, financial inclusion, impact-driven business, base-of-the-pyramid, social enterpreneurship and impact investing. It provides a basis to discuss why – in the absence of mechanisms to ensure accountability – the effectiveness of organisations in the social sector may be limited. It shows how combining an intention to make a positive impact with the discipline of a market-based approach can lead to more sustainable, scalable solutions to pressing societal needs.

Keywords
  • Purposeful Careers
  • Social Impact
  • Venture Philanthropy
  • Base of the Pyramid (BOP)
  • Impact Investing
  • Business Model Innovation
  • Social Enterprise
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Inclusive Business
  • Impact Evaluation
  • Financial Inclusion
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Sustainable Development
  • Q11920