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Accelerator

Pakistan Agriculture Accelerator

Develop the skills and tools to scale your agri business and its social impact.

Free

08-02-2022

12 Weeks

Acumen Academy is launching a new Pakistan Agriculture Accelerator for agri-enterprises to gain transformative skills to build and scale sustainable solutions for smallholder farmers in Pakistan.

The Problem

Pakistan is the world’s fifth most populous country, and its rural agriculture sits at the heart of the country’s economy. Despite accounting for 20% of Pakistan’s GDP and employing almost 63% of the total population — most of which are rural farmers — its agricultural sector is hugely underproductive. Smallholder farmers comprise 90% of all farmers, yet they cultivate less than half the agricultural land. Weather patterns and water scarcity add pressure to Pakistan’s unsustainable economic chain, as smallholder farmers are increasingly trapped in subsistence level farming, cyclical poverty, and a fundamental vulnerability to climate shocks.

Acumen’s new accelerator program will prepare a cohort of agri leaders with the grit, character and competence to build truly scalable, inclusive and sustainable solutions to rebuild a fracturing agri economy and restore dignity to Pakistan’s smallholder farmers.

Learn How To

  • Refine and develop a profitable and scalable business model
  • Test your key hypotheses for scaling 
  • Develop robust strategies to bolster your financial sustainability 
  • Pitch your business to investors and other stakeholders at a final showcase
  • Build networks with agri entrepreneurs and supporters in Pakistan and beyond
  • Develop the hard-edged leadership skills necessary to build better, truly inclusive, sustainable solutions

Refine Your Business Model

Determine the best next steps to reach financial sustainability.

Accelerate Your Impact

Change more lives, faster, by focusing on activities that work.

Gain Valuable Feedback

Tap into the expertise of peers—and Acumen—to solve problems in real-time.

Join A Lasting Community

Build meaningful relationships with a community of like-minded innovators.

How it Works

Over 12 weeks, you and your team will learn the essentials of building a business model that can achieve both social and environmental impact and profitability, while connecting with a network of peers and experts focused on innovation and agriculture.

Our curriculum will teach you the skills to become a transformative leader, leveraging the experience of Acumen's investment work at the intersection of poverty and climate change and our pioneering leadership practices. Together, these lessons will give you the knowledge, tools, and confidence to build and scale solutions and technologies that positively disrupt Pakistan’s agricultural sector — improving the sustainability, resiliency, and livelihoods of smallholder farmers across the country.  

You’ll access industry specific case studies, video tutorials and practical readings on all module topics, and receive invaluable support from our Accelerator and Portfolio teams. You’ll complete assignments that are designed to help you think critically about your business, and join weekly interactive Learning Labs to give and receive feedback from your peers. You’ll also receive support and industry insights from expert advisors and investors with decades of experience in the entrepreneurship ecosystem and the agriculture sector.

The program will culminate with a virtual closing session where you’ll have the opportunity to pitch your venture for a share of $25,000 of grant funding.

Time Commitment and Course Access

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 social 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 on the online program platform NovoEd.

Resilient, optimised agriculture value chains have a transformative impact on our planet and our people. We need to do more and we need to do it now.
Dr. Ayesha K Khan, Acumen Pakistan Country Director
To really make a difference in this sector, especially when we’re picking up complex issues like climate resilience, collaborations are key.
Arindom Datta, Sustainability at Rabobank
We need leaders that are willing to do the work of reimagining our systems to put shared humanity and the sustainability of the earth at the center.
Jacqueline Novogratz, Acumen CEO

What's Included

  • Seven Learning Labs with peers
  • Two one-on-one consultation calls with Acumen’s team
  • Support from industry experts on strategic business aspects and innovation in agriculture 
  • Video tutorials on customer discovery, sales and marketing, financial modeling, and pitching 
  • Case studies from social enterprises that have successfully scaled
  • Readings and lessons on Acumen Founder and CEO Jacqueline Novogratz’s Principles of Moral Leadership
  • Eligibility to compete for one of two grants of $15,000 and $10,000
  • Opportunity to join Acumen’s locally rooted and globally connected community of social innovators

 

 

Schedule

Module 1

Visions of Scale

  • Understand models for how impactful enterprises can scale
  • Develop a business model canvas that isolates key hypotheses for how your business model currently comes together
  • Learn about moral imagination and adaptive leadership

Module 2

Customer Insights

  • Clearly define your core customer and value proposition
  • Design customer experiments to test your most critical hypothesis

Module 3

Aligning A Pricing Marketing and Sales strategy to Your Value Proposition

  • Build a value proposition canvas using data from customer interviews and experiments
  • Begin to develop pricing models that are aligned with your value proposition

Module 4

Financial Model

  • Identify your major revenue assumptions and cost assumptions
  • Define major financial milestones for the next two years

 

Module 5

Operational Model, Team and Partnerships

  • Understand common operational models for social enterprises
  • Align key activities in your business model to a staffing plan
  • Begin to match your existing/desired talent with related skill sets and mitigate team risks
  • Begin to identify strategic partnerships and understand opportunities to integrate with the supply chain of large companies

Module 6

Pitching the Strategic Story of Your Business

  • Articulate a vision for scaling your enterprise that pulls together key metrics associated with your operational model, financial model, and customer insights
  • Practice pitching your business to stakeholders

Applications Open

October 18th

Orientation

February 8th

Showcase

April 26th

Who is Qualified to Apply?

This accelerator is open to agri entrepreneurs who:

  • Run a social enterprise  based in Pakistan that exists to positively disrupt the agriculture sector in Pakistan with a demonstrated commitment to improving outcomes for smallholder farmers
  • Have a demonstrated track record of at least 18 months and some market traction (must have evidence of customer demand and increasing revenues)
  • Have a team equivalent to three or more full-time staff
  •  

FAQ

How to Qualify?

cheveron

How will participants be selected?

All applications will be reviewed once the application deadline passes. If you are selected for an interview, a member of the Acumen team will reach out to schedule a 30-minute video call with you on the Zoom platform.

What stage does my enterprise have to be in order to participate?

 The curriculum focuses on preparing to scale and the program is designed for enterprises with demonstrated market traction and a team equivalent to at least three full-time staff members. The program is not a good fit for startups who are still in the idea validation stage. 

What types of business models will be considered?

We are looking for models that focus on disrupting  and modernizing the agriculture system in Pakistan, this includes: supply chain innovations and wastage reduction; and access to markets and finance for farmers.

Do I need to be from Pakistan to apply?

You need to be an agri entrepreneur running a business with primary operations in Pakistan and catering to the Pakistan market. But you do not need to be a citizen of Pakistan to apply.

When and Where?

cheveron

When will the sessions be held?

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 Lab sessions. The calls can be scheduled at times that are mutually convenient.

Where will the sessions be held?

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.

What are the program dates?

The program runs from February 8th until April 26th 2022.

About Acumen Academy

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.