Professor of Marketing, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; Author of The Customer Centricity Playbook
A philanthropist highly praised by Time Magazine, Forbes, The Foreign Policy, and more. Speaker Jacqueline Novogratz is the founder of Acumen, a non-profit that made it possible to deliver primary services and goods at affordable rates worldwide. Organizations book Jacqueline Novogratz to learn about how markets can act as a listening device for the needs of the poor and the entrepreneurial approaches to the challenges of poverty.
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Motivational speaker Jacqueline Novogratz is Acumen Fund’s CEO and founder. Acumen Fund is a non-profit that invests in businesses that help low-income individuals in the US. Acumen’s goal is to support businesses that want to help the poor thrive and succeed. In fact, Acumen’s cutting-edge approach has made it possible to deliver primary services and goods at affordable rates worldwide.
Speaker Jacqueline Novogratz wrote the bestseller The Blue Sweater. The book shares her philanthropy journey, leaving her successful career in international banking to focus on understanding global poverty and finding new, powerful ways of addressing it. Her latest book is Manifesto for a Moral Revolution: Practices to Build a Better World. In it, Novogratz shares stories of people who have made real change and discusses the common leadership mistakes and the necessary mindset to overcome them. The book, which is the result of 30 years of work on sustainable solutions for poverty, offers valuable perspectives for those who want to leave the world better than they found it, whether they are climbing the corporate ladder or bringing solar power to rural villages.
Novogratz has been highly praised, thanks to her work at Acumen. In fact, Forbes magazine included her in their “Impact 30” list of the best social entrepreneurs. TIME magazine recognized Jacqueline’s excellent work in improving the world we live in and called her a “Responsibility Pioneer.” Furthermore, the Foreign Policy included her in the “Top 100 Global Thinkers” list. Novogratz also made it into The Daily Beast’s “25 Smartest People of the Decade” list.
She also became a Synergos Institute Senior Fellow and an Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellow. Moreover, Jacqueline created two programs for the Rockefeller Institute: The Next Generation Leadership and The Philanthropy programs. She also set up a micro-finance institute in Rwanda.
Novogratz is an inspiration for global transformation as she constantly spreads awareness of the challenges the poor have to face. By doing so, she helps her listeners rethink their purpose in the world and how they, too, can help make a positive change.
In 2022, Acumen launched a new initiative backed by $25 million in funding to help support the productive use of energy in Africa and India.
Jacqueline Novogratz founded Acumen, a global community dedicated to changing the way poverty is addressed, in 2001. At the time, few people had heard of impact investing, which is the practice of "doing well by doing good". However, 20+ years later, there has been a significant shift in how businesses are evaluated by corporate boards and other stakeholders. Impact investing is not only morally justifiable, but also economically advantageous and even necessary. Despite this, it can be difficult to achieve success that includes profits as well as positive relationships with workers and their communities. In this talk, Novogratz shares stories of people who have made real change and discusses the common leadership mistakes and the necessary mindset to overcome them. The talk, which is the result of 30 years of work on sustainable solutions for poverty, offers valuable perspectives for those who want to leave the world better than they found it, whether they are climbing the corporate ladder or bringing solar power to rural villages.
Jacqueline Novogratz’s memoir, The Blue Sweater, tells the inspiring story of a woman who left a career in international banking to tackle global poverty. By sharing her experiences in Africa and around the world, she teaches audiences how traditional charity often fails and how a new form of philanthropic investing called “patient capital” can help make people self-sufficient. Novogratz challenges audiences to grant dignity to the poor and to rethink their engagement with the world.
Jacqueline Novogratz started her career in international banking and has since worked across Asia and Africa finding new ways to use business as a tool to create a world beyond poverty. In 2001 she founded Acumen Fund, a nonprofit global venture capital fund that invests patient capital — loans or equity instead of grants — in social enterprises that provide critical goods and services to low-income people. Rather than treat the poor as passive recipients of charity, Jacqueline sees them as active participants with the dignity to make choices for themselves. Acumen has since grown to invest $73 million in 65 enterprises that have delivered affordable healthcare, safe housing, clean water, sustainable energy, and agricultural inputs to more than 86 million low-income individuals. Jacqueline shares with audiences several examples from Acumen Fund’s portfolio of investments and the lessons they have learned about how markets can act as a listening device for the needs of the poor.
What does it mean to be a “patient capitalist”? For Jacqueline Novogratz, it means using an entrepreneurial approach in the fight against global poverty. While traditional development aid can meet immediate needs, Novogratz believes that long-term change requires empowering local communities to solve their own problems. Charitable dollars eventually run out, but market-based approaches can continue to create jobs and economic growth over the long term. As founder and CEO of the Acumen Fund, Novogratz has invested over $62 million in 60 companies that have provided 45 million low-income individuals with critical goods and services in the developing world. Acumen Fund’s portfolio companies include everything from an operator of low-cost maternity hospitals to a manufacturer of anti-malarial bed nets.
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