Acumen, a nonprofit impact investor, in partnership with GE, kicked off its fourth annual Collaboration Summit in Nairobi.
The summit, a key part of Acumen’s Technical Assistance Initiative, aims to bring social enterprises and international corporations together to catalyze inclusive business models that address Africa’s biggest social challenges
This year’s summit focuses on the challenges holding emerging markets back—including those obstacles facing individual companies as well as entire industries like agriculture or renewable energy—and solutions that involve players from across big and small business, government, and civil society.
Acumen’s Technical Assistance Initiative is a five-year $1 million program that aims to accelerate the growth and impact of its portfolio companies so they become sustainable, financially viable and inclusive of poor and marginalized communities.
Since 2001, Acumen has invested more than $35 million in 31 companies in East and West Africa working in agriculture, energy, health care, clean water and sanitation to better serve each region’s poor.
For this year’s Collaboration Summit, held at the Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel, Acumen gathered a select number of committed multinationals and more than 15 of its social enterprises to work together on redefining business’s role in driving social impact and growing inclusive emerging markets.
GE works as the sole Summit Partner while Dow supported as a Technical Assistance Initiative Partner and Intellecap as a Knowledge Partner, leading a Summit session on partnerships to improve healthcare access.
“When we started this initiative we hoped that leading global corporations could help social enterprises to scale,” said Yasmina Zaidman, Acumen’s director of Strategic Partnerships. “Now we know that these enterprises, through their focus on underserved markets and breakthrough innovation, can be powerful allies to corporations as well.”