TED Talk By Jacqueline Novogratz on Patient Capital

The Work of Jacqueline Novogratz on Patient Capital

Loan Applications [Photo by Rachel Strohm] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The work of Jacqueline Novogratz on patient capital and social return on investment has gained international recognition. The Acumen Fund which she founded exists to help end poverty by changing how the world addresses it.

The Fund does this by identifying, strengthening and scaling business models that effectively serve the poor through the investment of patient capital. The Fund champions this market-oriented approach as an effective complement to traditional aid. Novogratz argues that traditional aid on its own can create dependence, while pure market approaches often bypass the needs of the poor.

The investment model of the fund relies on intensive due diligence and monitoring to ensure that each investment yields measurable social returns. The long term vision of the Fund is that every human being should have access to the critical goods and services they need, including affordable health, water, housing and energy.

TED Talk By Jacqueline Novogratz on Patient Capital

India - Faces - Rural women driving their own change 1 [Photo by mckaysavage] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

In a TED Talk on patient capital, Jacqueline Novogratz talks about her journey from a Wall Street career to charity work in the Ivory Coast twenty years ago. Within days of arriving she was informed by a number of West African women that the charity work she was pursuing wasn’t really helpful to them, and this gave her the humility to start looking for a better approach.

She worked in different African countries and first became involved in microfinance in 1986 in Rwanda. With a group of Rwandan women, she founded Duterimbere, which means “to go forward with enthusiasm.” She quickly realized that there weren’t a lot of viable businesses in Africa that were run by women, so she got involved helping one group of women to run a profitable bakery. She learned in the process that dignity is more important to the human spirit than wealth, and that traditional charity and aid were never going to solve the problems of poverty.