Accelerator

Green Growth Accelerator

An accelerator for early-stage enterprises that promote equitable economic growth in India through the application of dignified work, climate mitigation, and circular economy principles

Free

July 2022

16 Weeks

The Problem

India is currently dealing with a dual crisis: extreme vulnerability to climate risks and jobless growth. Among the sectors with the most pollutants, the textile and apparel, construction, transportation, and waste management industries also have pervasive levels of informal employment. 

The textile value chain is natural resource intensive and consumes and generates substantial textile waste. Similarly, the transportation and construction sectors are responsible for around 11% and 20% of India's emissions. Further, India is suffering from a waste management crisis with more than 80% of waste ending up in landfill. 

At the same time, nearly 90% of the workforce does not have stable and formal employment. Instead, they earn low and irregular wages without employer benefits. More than 60% of the garment workers and artisans are employed informally or at home based units. Most of the labor employed on construction sites are employed informally, often consisting of rural migrant workers. And a significant portion of the estimated 1.5-4 million waste picker community and estimated 25 million in transportation and logistics are also employed informally. Across these sectors, women and those from oppressed caste communities are paid disproportionately lower wages, working longer hours and facing extreme marginalization. 

High levels of unemployment in urban and rural areas are currently pushing the informal workforce into poverty. Acumen envisions building a new ecosystem committed to workers by accelerating early stage enterprises that can both create economic stability for India's informal economy while also reducing waste and emissions. 

To support social entrepreneurs committed to boosting dignified employment and creating positive environmental impact, Acumen’s new Green Growth Accelerator Program will prepare a cohort with the grit, character, and competence to build scalable, inclusive, and sustainable solutions.

Learn How To:

  • Refine and develop a profitable and scalable business model
  • Think critically about your environmental impact and embed decent work principles into your business model
  • Develop robust strategies to bolster your financial sustainability
  • Sharpen your presentation skills and pitch your business to investors and other stakeholders
  • Build a professional network and lifelong community of social entrepreneurs who are committed to tackling injustice

Over 16 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 green growth.

The curriculum leverages the experience of Acumen's investment work at the intersection of poverty and climate change and our pioneering leadership practices to build a better world, helping you develop both the competence and character to scale your business. You will learn about Acumen’s Moral Leadership practices to build a better world: from Listening to Voices Unheard to Partnering with Humility and Audacity. These are vital skills for any leader looking to create new realities that better serve the poor and the earth.

You’ll access industry and impact-specific case studies, video tutorials, and practical readings on all module topics, and receive invaluable support from our Accelerator program team and expert facilitators. You’ll complete assignments that are designed to help you think critically about your business, and then join weekly interactive Learning Labs to give and receive feedback from your peers.

You will also get to work with NSRCEL, a leading startup incubation center at IIM Bangalore and our knowledge partner, who will conduct workshops on topics such as marketing and cash management. Throughout the accelerator, you will receive individualized support from expert advisors from Acumen India and NSRCEL’s networks to ensure you have a great support network to help you achieve scale while also increasing your impact.

The program will culminate with a closing session where you’ll have the opportunity to pitch your venture for up to $50,000 USD in seed funding from Acumen and other investors.

 

What's Included:

  • Six peer virtual Learning Labs
  • Three one-on-one Coaching Consultations
  • Video tutorials on customer discovery, sales and marketing, financial modeling, pitching, and more
  • Case studies from social enterprises tackling similar challenges
  • Two workshops on marketing and cash management facilitated by NSRCEL
  • Pitching opportunity to investors on demo day
  • Eligibility for 2-3 startups to receive up to $50,000 in funding from Acumen
  • Graduation into Acumen Academy’s Foundry: an alumni community designed to accompany leaders from around the world by connecting them with resources and relationships to amplify their work
I’ve learned about moral imagination and how to reimagine the world as it could be — better for the people I work with. When I put myself in their shoes, I’m able to understand their perspective and design better solutions for them and for the planet.
Sumeet Kaur CEO, Spudnik Farms
The program has already helped us narrow down on a business model through customer discovery experiments. We have also stopped a couple of non-core projects that were technology-focused but were not solving any real problem for the customers.
Vishal Singhal Co-Founder, Temperate Technologies
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.
John Nyagwencha CEO, Aqua Clara Kenya

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

Dual Impact and Circular Economy Business Models

  • Understand circular design principles
  • Explore methods to achieve a dual impact on both the environment and the workforce
  • Identify or refine circular design strategies to apply to your business

Module 3

Customer Insights

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

Module 4

Aligning a Pricing, Sales, and Marketing 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 5

Financial Model

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

Module 6

Operational Model and Partnerships

  • Learn common operational models for social enterprises
  • Match your existing or desired talent with related skill sets and plan to expand your workforce in a way that’s inclusive of informal workers

Module 7

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
  • Receive feedback on your pitch deck in advance of the demo day

Module 8

Marketing (NSRCEL)

  • Identifying, strategizing touchpoints and communications with your target groups
  • Digital market strategies for post-Covid business relevance

Module 9

Cash Management (NSRCEL)

  • Learn fundamentals of monitoring financial ratios and estimating valuations
  • Tips before meeting potential investors
Knowledge Partners are IIMB and NSRCEL

Key Dates

Applications Open Until

May 27, 2022

Program Launch and Orientation

July 19, 2022

Demo Day

November 2022

Who is Qualified to Apply?

This is an intensive online program for entrepreneurs and c-suite executives leading for-profit/hybrid social enterprises that:

  • Have business models in the following sectors and value chains:
    • Textile and apparel
      • Examples include models focused on alternative materials, up-cycling and recycling of textile waste, eco-friendly dyes, etc.
    • Construction
      • Examples include sustainable building material that result in lesser emissions or energy consumption
    • Waste management
      • Examples include solutions across municipal solid waste, plastic waste, electronic waste, and agricultural waste including solutions focused on tech based recycling or up-cycling, end-to-end or specialized waste management service providers, PROs and alternative packaging solutions
    • Sustainable mobility
      • Examples include EV/mobility solutions and logistics solutions
  • Have a strong commitment to serving informal workers (including waste pickers, construction workers, weavers, potters, gig workers etc.) with evidence of action
  • Have solutions with a positive environmental impact through reduction of greenhouse gas emitted, energy consumed, waste diverted from landfills, amount of waste recycled etc.
  • Have a demonstrated track record of at least 12-18 months, evidence of market traction and are preparing to scale

Favorable consideration will be given to teams who are working on solutions impacting women informal workers

 

Refine Your Business Model

Determine the best next steps to reach financial sustainability

Accelerate Your Social 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 social innovators

FAQ

How to Qualify

cheveron

How will participants be selected?

Applications will be reviewed once the application deadline passes (15 May). 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. We expect two lead participants to both join the call.

Do I need to be from India to apply?

You need to be an entrepreneur running a business with primary operations in India and catering to the Indian market. You do not need to be an Indian citizen in order to apply. However, please note that you are expected to participate in IST time zone meetings and attend the demo-day in India (if it is held in-person)

Can I apply if I run a non-profit?

You can apply if you have a hybrid model (i.e., a for-profit entity and a related non-profit entity) but we will not accept purely non-profit business models.

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 with the Acumen team and external mentors can be scheduled at times that are mutually convenient for you and your advisor.

What are the program dates?

The program launch will be during the week of July 18 and we will confirm which day of the week learning labs will be during interviews. The program will end with a demo day in the first week of November.

Where will the sessions be held?

This is a virtual, 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. Specific times of the zoom sessions will be communicated if you are selected for an interview.

Will there be a demo-day?

The program team will endeavor to execute an in-person demo-day at the end of the program. If this is not possible to deliver in person, we will host a virtual demo day as the finale of the accelerator program.

What happens after the program?

Following the program, you’ll join an alumni community of over 1000 social innovators around the world. We call the Acumen alumni community ‘The Foundry’ - where our aim is to accompany builders from around the world by connecting them with the resources and relationships to amplify their work in architecting a just, inclusive, and sustainable world.

Learn more about our previous accelerator program in India:

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.

THIS PROGRAM IS SUPPORTED BY

Target Foundation