Category: Finance

Bank Alfalah and Acumen Launch Program: “Eradicating Poverty through Entrepreneurship in Pakistan”

Bank Alfalah and Acumen have partnered to launch a program entitled ‘Eradicating Poverty through Entrepreneurship in Pakistan’, based on a $40,000 grant from the Bank. The signing ceremony took place in Karachi today and was attended by Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder and CEO of Acumen, and Atif Bajwa, CEO of Bank Alfalah amongst others. With a […]

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Interest-free microfinance in Pakistan

Sitting among a few enthusiastic friends at a dinner almost 12 years back, I first heard about interest-free microfinance. That day it was just a topic of discussion, I had never thought that an organization promoting this concept could come into being. The very first loan of PKR 10,000 ($100) was given to a widow […]

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Islamic banking and its values

One of Acumen’s portfolio companies in Kenya is currently going through a capital restructuring. The entrepreneur is Muslim and at some point during the negotiations, the request to explore sharia-compliant financing came up. Not knowing much about Islamic banking, I did a bit of research. What I learned really impressed me. Sharia forbids of all[…..]

Replicating M-Pesa: Mobile and Cloud Technology Spur Innovation in Financial Inclusion

Editor’s Note: This post appeared on, and is one in a series of articles highlighting innovations for financial inclusion. It was first published on the Ashoka Changemakers blog as part of the G20 Financial Inclusion challenge. Part one of the series can be found here. To learn more about Acumen’s efforts in financial inclusion, read about our[…..]

Paga Receives Investments to Scale Money Transfer Service across Nigeria

Lagos, July 2, 2012 – Paga, Nigeria’s leading money transfer service launched in February 2011, today announced it has secured new investments from Adlevo Capital, Omidyar Network, Acumen Fund, Capricorn Investment Group, and current investors Goodwell West Africa Microfinance Development Company.
Paga’s mission is to deliver innovative and universal access to financial services for all Nigerians.[…..]

Lessons Learned in Microfinance

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared as a series on’s special on the Harvard Social Enterprise Conference. Check out other NextBillion articles on the conference here and here.
Part 1 – At Harvard Social Enterprise Conference, SKS’s Akula Opens Up On Failure
Conferences usually are not the venue for admitting failure. But on the first day of[…..]

Investing in microfinance

As we have come to learn, microfinance is the provision of small loans to the working or self-employed poor through microfinance institutions (MFIs).  Microfinance has spread to involve small savings accounts and other products such as life insurance and even…