Abraaj Capital founder and CEO Arif Naqvi speaks 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.
Arif Naqvi is Founder and CEO of Abraaj Capital Ltd., the largest private equity firm in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, with capital in excess of $1 billion.
He is a board member of the Pakistan Human Development Fund and the King Abdullah II Award for Youth Innovation and Achievement; and on the Advisory Council of the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association.
Jacqueline Novogratz is founder and CEO of Acumen Fund. Prior to starting Acumen, she worked at the Rockefeller Foundation, where she created and directed the Philanthropy Workshop and the Next Generation Leadership program.
Novogratz has also worked at the Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation and has served as a consultant to UNICEF and the World Bank in various African countries. She helped found a micro-finance institution for women in Rwanda and began her career in international banking with Chase Manhattan Bank.
Novogratz holds an MBA from Stanford and a BA from the University of Virginia.