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Jacqueline Novogratz

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5 out of 5

Founder & CEO of Acumen Fund

Founder & CEO of Acumen Fund

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New York, NY, USA
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Jacqueline Novogratz Biography

Jacqueline Novogratz is the founder and CEO of Acumen. Her work began in 1986 when she quit her job on Wall Street to co-found Rwanda’s first microfinance institution, Duterimbere. The experience inspired her to write the bestseller, The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap between Rich and Poor, and create Acumen. Indeed, when she founded Acumen in 2001, few had heard of the words impact investing. Twenty years later, under Novogratz’s leadership, Acumen has invested $135 million to build 136 social enterprises across Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and the United States. These companies have leveraged an additional $746 million and brought basic services like affordable education, health care, clean water, energy and sanitation to more than 308 million people. In 2015, Fast Company named Acumen one of the world’s Top 10 Most Innovative Not-for-Profits.

Prior to Acumen, Novogratz founded and directed The Philanthropy Workshop and The Next Generation Leadership programs at the Rockefeller Foundation. Novogratz serves on boards of the Aspen Institute and 60 Decibels and sits on the Advisory Councils of the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative, the Oxford Said Global Leadership Council, the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, and UNICEF.

She is a frequent speaker at forums including TED and the Aspen Ideas Festival. Her best-selling memoir The Blue Sweater chronicles her quest to understand poverty and challenges readers to grant dignity to the poor and to rethink their engagement with the world. In 2017, Forbes listed Novogratz as one of the World’s 100 Greatest Living Business Minds.

She holds an MBA from Stanford and a BA in Economics/International Relations from the University of Virginia.

Jacqueline Novogratz Speaking Topics

  • Entrepreneurial Approaches to the Challenges of Poverty

    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.

    Acumen bills itself as a nonprofit global venture fund—but one that seeks to provide the poor with access to the critical goods and services they need so that they can make decisions and choices for themselves and unleash their full human potential. The fund starts with donations from philanthropists. But instead of making charitable grants, it uses that capital to make disciplined, patient investments in companies that offer vital services at affordable prices to low-income customers. It also applies rigorous benchmarks to evaluate the effectiveness of its investments. It's an idea that has turned heads and sparked new debate in traditional development agencies. Acumen's success lies not only in funding life-changing services (such as clean drinking water systems in rural India) but in changing how the world addresses poverty. Jacqueline Novogratz shares with audiences how her own personal experiences inspired her to develop Acumen's innovative business model. She also shares 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.

  • Patient Capital for an Impatient 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 the 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, Novogratz 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. Novogratz 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.

  • The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich & Poor in an Interconnected World

    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.

  • Remarks by Jacqueline Novogratz

    Jacqueline's memoir, The Blue Sweater tells the inspiring story of a woman who left a career in international banking to spend her life on a quest to understand global poverty and to find powerful new ways of tackling it. She shares with audiences her experience in Africa and elsewhere that proved to be the starting point for a career focused on radically changing the way problems of the developing world are approached. Jacqueline shows how traditional charity often fails, but how a new form of philanthropic investing called "patient capital" can help make people self-sufficient and change millions of lives. She challenges audiences to grant dignity to the poor and to rethink their engagement with the world. Rather than seeing the world divided between different civilizations or classes, she puts forth that our collective future rests on embracing a new vision of a single world in which all are connected.

Jacqueline Novogratz Videos

  • How should we reimagine society post-COVID-19? | Jacqueline Novogratz
    There have been many lessons learned from the coronavirus crisis. According to Acumen founder and CEO, Jacqueline Novogratz, one of the primary...
  • Moral Leadership In A Time Of Crisis: Jacqueline Novogratz
    Just as Jacqueline Novogratz’s groundbreaking new book Manifesto for a Moral Revolution: Practices to Build a Better World makes its way to...
  • Power Talks - Jacqueline Novogratz
    Under Jacqueline Novogratz’s leadership, Acumen invests in companies and leaders creating new solutions to the problems of poverty, bringing...

Jacqueline Novogratz Books

  • Manifesto For A Moral Revolution: Practices To Build A Better World
    Manifesto For A Moral Revolution: Practices To Build A Better World
  • The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World
    The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World

Speaker Lists Featuring Jacqueline Novogratz

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Jacqueline Novogratz is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics such as Entrepreneurial Approaches to the Challenges of Poverty, Patient Capital for an Impatient World, The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich & Poor in an Interconnected World and Remarks by Jacqueline Novogratz. The estimated speaking fee range to book Jacqueline Novogratz for your event is $50,000 - $100,000. Jacqueline Novogratz generally travels from New York, NY, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Randi Zuckerberg, Sallie Krawcheck, Jennifer Hyman, Mayim Bialik and Sylvia Acevedo. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Jacqueline Novogratz for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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