Acumen Fund East Africa Fellows

5/21/2011 - Social Entrepreneurship

The Edmond de Rothschild Foundations, the Acumen Fund and Kenya’s KCB Bank Group selected 30 social entrepreneurs in East Africa for its one-year executive program, which is aimed at offering these leaders an opportunity to develop their skills with seminars on leadership, development strategy and social enterprise management.

After the success of the Acumen Fund’s Global Fellows Programs, the Foundations decided to expand its support by creating a local-level fellows program to develop the skills of promising entrepreneurs in developing countries. Acumen received over 500 applications for its first class. After an initial review process and a second round consisting of phone interviews, 42 social entrepreneurs faced tough competition at the final selection conference on May 21.

Candidates were confronted with the task of an elevator pitch and problem solving in a focus group (Ecotact:, followed by two one-on-one interviews and a final group interview over the course of a very stressful day for our brave contestants.

The impressive quality of candidates’ projects made the final selection particularly difficult for the jury, reported Gaëtan Baudry, project manager at the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations. The projects covered all sectors, including the environment, financial training, road safety, anti-corruption initiatives, and even affordable and environmentally friendly tampons!

The 20 successful candidates will receive world-class training for one year with weekend seminars aimed at improving their communication skills, developing strategy, better defining their leadership role and enhancing their social impact. The first seminar began in July. Fellows’ expectations are high: “This program is a unique opportunity to join a network of entrepreneurs who share a common goal: changing the world and maximizing their social impact. Through this fellowship I can progress to another level.”

Key figures

550 applications submitted;
80 second round candidates;
42 final round candidates;
20 Fellows selected.

Acumen Fund’s website