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Social Impact Business Accelerator - Vietnam

Scale your social impact business through an intensive 12-week accelerator program and get an opportunity to pitch to potential partners and investors


September 20, 2022

12 Weeks


Acumen is excited to collaborate with Fulbright University Vietnam to launch our first ever accelerator program in Vietnam. This program is for social entrepreneurs who, like us, believe in using business for good. We’re looking for 20 promising social impact businesses who are using business models to tackle Vietnam’s most pressing social challenges.

Social impact businesses will join a 12-week accelerator and learn through practical assignments and case studies from global businesses, as we share our experiences of what it takes to scale a social impact business.

Learn How To

  • Refine and test a hypothesis for scale 
  • Design better solutions for your customers
  • Develop a robust social impact strategy 
  • Communicate the financial story of your business and calculate a funding ask 
  • Develop and refine your pitch and receive feedback from industry leaders at a Final Summit
  • Build networks with entrepreneurs, potential partners and investors in Vietnam and beyond

How it Works

We’ve packaged the steps to support entrepreneurs to develop a scalable social impact business model. Over 12 weeks, you and your team will learn the essentials of building a business model that can achieve both social impact and profitability.

You will have access to case studies from Acumen portfolio and Foundry companies and curriculum materials that share key learnings around business models, customer insights, social impact, financial modeling, pitching for investment and more. 

You will complete weekly assignments to arrive at new insights that you can apply directly to your business and regular interactive Learning Labs will provide a space for you to give and receive feedback from your peers. You will also receive individualized 1:1 consultation calls from Acumen’s facilitators.

Fulbright University Vietnam will host a speaker series to help deepen program learnings and enhance the cohort’s connection.

The program will culminate with a Final Summit coordinated by Fulbright University Vietnam where you will attend workshops and have a chance to network, pitch your venture, and receive feedback from industry leaders. 

On completion of the program at least one team will be awarded a grant of up to $10,000 (USD). All graduating enterprises will also be welcomed into Acumen Academy’s Foundry community where they will have access to follow up support and a global network of social innovators. 

Time Commitment and Course Access

The program is an interactive experience and you will arrive at new insights by working through the online curriculum and completing the assignments set for you. You will also complete case study and topic readings ahead of each Learning Lab and come prepared to debrief and share your reflections with peers. You should expect to spend at least 8 hours per week working on the accelerator. Most of this work can be done on your own schedule.

Two participants from the leadership team of your enterprise will be invited to join Learning Labs, program workshops and final summit as ‘lead participants’ for your team. Your wider team (up to 10 people maximum) can access the online curriculum materials.

Who is Qualified to Apply?

Who is Qualified to Apply?

This is an intensive program for Founders of pre-scale social impact businesses in Vietnam. The program is not limited to any particular social issue but we particularly welcome applications from entrepreneurs working in education, unemployment and underemployment, climate resilient agriculture, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and energy access.

Ideal applicants are: 

  • Ready to scale their social impact business 
  • Have been in operation for at least one year 
  • Beyond idea stage, with paying customers/revenue 
  • Have at least 3 dedicated full-time paid team members

English proficiency: In addition, your founders must have a good working knowledge of English. The program will be conducted in English and the ability to read and reflect on medium-complexity texts in English is essential.

Post Program
On completion of the program at least one team will be awarded a grant of up to $10,000 (USD). All graduating enterprises will also be welcomed into Acumen Academy’s Foundry community where they will have access to follow-up support as part of a global network of more than 900 social innovators. 

What's Included

  • Access to an online curriculum including video tutorials, case studies, topic guides and assignments
  • 6 Facilitated Learning Labs hosted on Zoom 
  • 3 1:1 Coaching Consultations with an Acumen facilitator 
  • Access to additional curriculum, workshops and a final pitch summit hosted by Fulbright University Vietnam  
  • Eligibility to pitch for $10k seed funding (1-2 awards will be made)
  • The opportunity to connect with entrepreneurs, potential partners and investors from the startup ecosystem

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.

2022 Cohort


Module 1

Defining and Measuring Social Impact

  • Develop a theory of change for your social impact business 
  • Understand lean data principles for collecting social impact data

Module 2

Visions of Scale and Enterprise Models

  • Isolate key hypotheses for how your business model will scale 
  • Diagnose key risks and begin to define a vision for growth and impact

Module 3

Customer Insights and Business Experiments

  • Clearly define your core customer 
  • Design and conduct an experiment to better understand how customers interact with your product or service

Module 4

Aligning a Pricing, Sales and Marketing Strategy to Your Value Proposition

  • Refine and build your value proposition 
  • Develop a value proposition aligned pricing model
  • Learn sales, marketing tactics and strategies

Module 5

Scaling Up in Vietnam

  • Understand Vietnam’s local impact capital landscape
  • Plan for regional pricing sensitivities
  • Develop in-country marketing tactics

Module 6

Building Your Financial Story and Model

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

Module 7

Pitching the Strategic Story of Your Business

  • Identify the right types of capital to finance your business as it scales
  • Build a new and investor-ready pitch deck guided by Acumen's team of experts
  • Pitch your business to stakeholders from across the Vietnam startup ecosystem 

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
The case studies provided throughout the program are so helpful, providing lessons for how to work better in business and deal with critical situations as you grow.
Aqsa Zehra, Founder, Zenith Smart Solutions (Pvt) Ltd
Taking the time to learn, unlearn, reimagine solutions and reflect critically while supporting one another has reaffirmed my passion and is adding value to the work I do
Siti Aishah, 2021 Malaysia Fellow
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Key Dates

Applications Open

July 1st - July 27th, 2022

Program Starts

Sept 20th, 2022

Program Closes

Dec 6th, 2022


How to Qualify


How will participants be selected?

Applications will be screened by their application forms. Note that pitch decks will only be reviewed at interview stage and will not be used for initial shortlisting. All 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. Applications, supporting pitch decks and interviews should all be in English.

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

This program is designed for enterprises with demonstrated market traction and a team equivalent to at least three full-time staff members. At a minimum you must have some paying customers.

Do I need to live in Vietnam?

You need to be an entrepreneur running a business with primary operations in Vietnam. You do not need to be a national of Vietnam to apply.

When and Where


When will the sessions be held?

A full schedule will be shared in advance of the program starting. At a minimum your team’s Lead Participants will be expected to participate live during the weekly 2-hour Learning Labs and join all sessions with Fulbright University Vietnam (virtual attendance available), which will run throughout the 12 weeks. 1:1 calls with Acumen can be scheduled at times that are mutually convenient for you and your advisor.

Where will the sessions be held?

This is a hybrid program, the main curriculum will be delivered virtually but you will have the option to attend all Fulbright University Vietnam sessions in person. The Acumen weekly Learning Labs will be hosted virtually on the Zoom platform. You must have a stable internet connection and the ability to participate in video calls to be able to join the program.

What are the program dates?

The program runs from Sept 20, 2022 to Dec 6, 2022

Media and Outreach Partners


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.


About Fulbright University Vietnam

Fulbright University Vietnam is Vietnam’s first independent, not-for-profit, liberal arts university. We are an expanding international team of educational innovators, with deep roots in Vietnam, strong political and financial backing, and connections to educational institutions around the world.

Fulbright University Vietnam believes in the power of collaboration, transdisciplinary thinking, and risk-taking, and understands that effective education requires putting students at its center. Globally integrated but deeply embedded in Vietnamese society, Fulbright is dedicated to providing a world-class education, utilizing the latest advancements in institutional design, teaching, learning, technology and other fields to create an institution that is both innovative and globally relevant. Importantly, Fulbright is committed to serving Vietnamese society through rigorous research and responsible civic engagement.

Learn more at www.fulbright.edu.vn