Why are we running this accelerator?
Acumen’s vision is of a world based on dignity, where every human being has an opportunity to thrive. We are seeking a cohort of entrepreneurs who, like us, believe that considering gender equity across strategies, processes, and day-to-day work improves how we address the problems of poverty, including the disproportionate problems for women in poverty, and thereby magnifies our impact.
Gender inclusion in business isn’t just the ethical thing to do — it’s also good for the world’s economy and sustainability. And rather than add a gender-equity lens after scaling, we believe it’s much easier to build an inclusive company by addressing and prioritizing gender from the start.
To support social entrepreneurs committed to leading the change in gender equity and advancement, our new accelerator will equip leaders with the moral leadership lessons, business skills, and learnings from our portfolio companies to confidently scale their enterprises and embed gender inclusive approaches into their models.
Over 11 weeks, two members of your leadership team will learn the essentials for building a scalable business model that achieves both profitability and impact. Working virtually alongside your close-knit cohort of entrepreneurial peers and Acumen experts, you’ll design your plan to embed gender equity as you scale your business.
As a participant, you’ll have access to industry and impact-specific case studies, video tutorials and practical readings, and receive invaluable one-on-one support and guidance from our team. Each week, you’ll complete assignments designed to help you think critically about your business model and introduce you to gender-inclusive best practices, and then join weekly interactive Learning Labs alongside your cohort members to give and receive feedback and learn together.
Throughout the journey, you’ll dive into Acumen’s Moral Leadership practices, like Listening to Voices Unheard and Partnering with Humility and Audacity. These skills are vital for any leader looking to reimagine what society and the workforce can look like and drive actionable change.
You’ll also gain access to tools and teachings from Value for Women, including a training on the entry points, policies, and practices that will help you work towards becoming a gender equitable business.
The program will culminate with a virtual closing gathering, including pitch practice and a celebration for all the hard work, lessons learned, and new relationships you’ll take with you as you scale your business in a gender-inclusive way.
You should expect to spend at least 8 hours per week on the readings and assignments — most of this work can be done on your own schedule.
One or two participants from the leadership team of your enterprise (‘Lead Participants’) will be required to take part in the Learning Labs every week. Up to 10 people from your enterprise may receive access to the curriculum materials (readings, case studies, videos etc.).
Determine the best next steps to reach financial sustainability.
Change more lives, faster, by focusing on activities that work.
Tap into the expertise of peers—and Acumen—to solve problems in real-time.
Build meaningful relationships with a community of like-minded social innovators.
Today, we have a better understanding of our business and how to scale. We also have more confidence to do experiments and have been able to test our key assumptions.
We had a great product and story but the path to scaling was a bit vague for me. This program has shown me the clear steps I need to take, and given me the tools to achieve them.
I’ve learned about moral imagination and how to reimagine the world as it could be — better for the people I work with.
January, 11th 2022
April 21st, 2022
June 30th, 2022
How to Qualify
Applications will be reviewed after the program deadline. If you are selected for an interview, a member of the Acumen team will reach out to schedule a 40-minute video call with you on the Zoom platform.
This program is designed for enterprises with demonstrated market traction and a team equivalent to at least three full-time staff members.
You need to be an entrepreneur running a business with primary operations in either Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Gambia. You do not need to be a citizen of these countries to apply.
When and Where
Most of the assignments can be completed online at your own pace before the submission date every week. Your team’s Lead Participants will be expected to participate live during the weekly 2-hour Learning Labs. The calls with Acumen can be scheduled at times that are mutually convenient for you and your advisor.
This is an online program. The weekly Learning Labs will be hosted virtually on the Zoom platform. You should have a stable internet connection and the ability to participate in video calls.
The program runs from April 21, 2022 to June 30, 2022
Acumen Academy is the world’s school for social change. Our mission is to unleash a new generation of social innovators and leaders with the character and competence to build a more just, inclusive and sustainable world. Blending the best of online and offline learning, we offer anyone, anywhere access to the practical tools, practices, resources and supportive community they need to achieve positive social change. The Acumen Academy community represents a new generation of social innovators and leaders committed to doing what’s right in a world that loves easy.
Learn more at www.acumenacademy.org.