Acumen Fund Director of Business Development Sasha Dichter and Acumen Fund Ambassador Malik Sarwar speak at the 2009 Investor Gathering in NYC.
Acumen Fund, a non-profit global venture fund, uses entrepreneurial approaches to tackle problems associated with poverty. Established in 2001 by Jacqueline Novogratz, Acumen Fund has pioneered the use of market-based approaches to bringing critical goods and services to low-income people. Working with innovative entrepreneurs in impoverished regions throughout the world, the businesses that Acumen supports focus on water, health, housing, energy, and agriculture.
Through its work Acumen Fund seeks to prove that small amounts of philanthropic capital, invested with large doses of business savvy, can establish sustainable and thriving enterprises. Acumen believes that poor people seek dignity, not dependence, and their global team -- with offices in four countries -- work to enable people to solve their own problems instead of providing them with aid. The key is patient capital. Acumen Fund uses philanthropic capital to make disciplined investments -- loans not grants -- that yield both financial and social returns.
With over twenty-five investments throughout Pakistan, India, and East Africa, and many more in the pipeline, Acumen believes that using entrepreneurial and market-based approaches to poverty, they will work to finally solve the problem of poverty.
As Acumen Fund's Director of Business Development, Sasha Dichter is responsible for revenue-generation at Acumen Fund and for creating a healthy, vibrant, and engaged community of Acumen Fund Partners and Advisors. Before joining Acumen Fund, Dichter was Global Manager of Corporate Citizenship for the consumer finance business at GE (GE Money, formerly part of GE Capital), helping expand their financial offerings to underserved communities globally.
Prior to his time at GE, Dichter was Senior Program Manager for Corporate Citizenship at IBM, where he advised senior management on global corporate social responsibility issues and led a global program to support leadership training to improve public education.
Malik Sarwar is a long-time Partner of Acumen Fund and is the first formal Acumen Fund Ambassador, a new program being launched for Acumen Fund Partners who will directly support the work of our Business Development team.
As Director of Communications at Acumen Fund, Yasmina Zaidman works with diverse audiences and strategic partners in the international development, philanthropic, academic and corporate sectors to share insights and replicable models from Acumen Fund's investment portfolio. Prior to joining Acumen Fund, Yasmina worked in the arena of international environmental protection and social entrepreneurship for seven years. She led the Environmental Innovations Initiative at Ashoka, where, as Acting Director, she headed an effort to capture and disseminate the best practices of leading environmental innovators throughout the developing world. Yasmina received a BA from Vassar College and an MBA from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, with a certificate in Public Management.