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.
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.
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 innovators.
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.
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.
To really make a difference in this sector, especially when we’re picking up complex issues like climate resilience, collaborations are key.
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.
This accelerator is open to agri entrepreneurs who:
How to Qualify?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 February 8th until April 26th 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.