Acumen Energy for Livelihoods Accelerator – India

Acumen Energy for Livelihoods Accelerator – India

Acumen Energy for Livelihoods Accelerator – India

Refine and prepare to scale your sustainable energy business and transform the livelihoods of low-income communities in India.



12 Weeks

Apply by July 24th

The Problem

The majority of people living in poverty are rural, young, and lack access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable electricity⁠—a major impediment to rising out of poverty. Sustainable energy has the potential to more than double incomes by saving time, improving yields, and enhancing resilience. With climate change creating more uncertainty in vulnerable communities, self-sustaining income is more important than ever.

In 2022, Acumen launched its Pioneer Energy Investment Initiative (PEII+) to supercharge a critical component in the global energy transition, Productive Use of Energy (PUE) technologies powered by sustainable energy. Our new Energy for Livelihoods Accelerator spun out of this initiative, designed to accelerate a cohort of early-stage social enterprises using clean energy and energy-efficient solutions to serve the needs of low-income communities.  

Programme Officer, Partnerships for Renewables in Africa, P4 – IRENA, USD 77,326 to USD 87,422 annually

Delivered by Acumen Academy, the Energy for Livelihoods accelerator aims to build an ecosystem of scalable social enterprises in India committed to improving the livelihoods of people in poverty using sustainable energy. Through the program, participants will develop and refine a scalable business model that has the potential to transform the lives of low-income people while conserving resources and protecting the environment.

Learn How To: Acumen Energy for Livelihoods Accelerator – India

  • Develop, refine, and test key hypotheses for how your enterprise can scale
  • Make data-driven decisions by gathering customer insights
  • Learn ways to communicate and demonstrate your social and environmental impact
  • Improve your financial sustainability through isolating and testing your organization’s revenue, cost, and investment assumptions
  • Refine your value proposition and develop marketing, sales, and pricing strategies that work for low-income customers
  • Develop the hard-edged leadership skills needed to build better, truly inclusive, sustainable solutions

Who is Qualified to Apply? Acumen Energy for Livelihoods Accelerator – India

The Energy for Livelihoods accelerator is open to social entrepreneurs who:

Humboldt Research Fellowship – €3,170 monthly for experienced researchers and €2,670 monthly for postdocs: all countries eligible (except Germany and Brazil)

Run a for-profit social enterprise in India using sustainable energy and energy-efficient solutions to positively impact the livelihoods of low-income people through one of the following models/sectors: 

  • Agriculture and Allied Sector: Companies improving farm incomes and productivity and/or reducing costs for smallholder farmers through sustainable energy
  • Business Sector (Manufacturing, Retail, Logistics, etc.): Companies enabling sustainable energy solutions for small businesses, micro & nano entrepreneurs (i.e., e-mobility, cooling, water filtration, automation, green transition etc.)
  • Business Facilitators: Companies providing supplementary services to enable clean energy transition for farmers and businesses (i.e., distribution and financing solutions, skills development, data tools, market-building approaches)

Additionally, all applicants must have: 

  • A deep commitment to the work of tackling poverty and injustice and an interest in being part of a global community bound by values 
  • An operational track record of 12 months or more with existing customers or evidence of a successful paid pilot 
  • A team with relevant sector experience and three or more full-time staff
  • Preference for 5 years of eligible work experience

How it Works: Acumen Energy for Livelihoods Accelerator – India

Through 12 weeks of structured programming, you and your team will learn the essentials for building a business model that can achieve both social and environmental impact and profitability. You will dive into a curriculum leveraging Acumen’s learnings, expertise of energy investment, and pioneering moral leadership practices, and leave with the competence and character needed to build solutions that improve the livelihoods of low-income communities.

Top 10 Solar Companies in Kenya – Installers

Taking part in the Energy for Livelihoods accelerator will provide you with unique access to a supportive network of peers, facilitators, and mentors who will share constructive feedback, encouragement, and opportunities to profile your work and accelerate you towards scale. 

At the end of the program, the cohort will celebrate with a closing Demo Day, which will include the opportunity to pitch in front of an audience of relevant sustainable energy experts. In addition to getting the chance to build a profile and attract supporters to your enterprise at this event, up to 4 cohort members will be awarded a package of follow up technical assistance from Acumen’s PEII+ investment initiative. Depending on progress and successful due diligence, up to 2 enterprises from this subgroup will then have the possibility of securing an investment of $100,000 from Acumen.

All entrepreneurs that graduate from the program will be welcomed into Acumen Academy’s global community, The Foundry.


After participants complete the program they join The Foundry, a global community designed to increase the impact of 1300+ highly effective social innovators as they grow and scale solutions to poverty and build a world based on dignity. Foundry members are a community of like-minded peers from diverse backgrounds who are working across sectors and around the world to tackle the most difficult challenges of our time. They are leaders committed to sharing ideas and experiences, and as Foundry members they gain life-long accompaniment on their journey to creating social change.  

Foundry members gain exclusive access to:

  • Community: A diverse regional and global community of social innovators
  • Early-stage funding: Early-stage catalytic capital through Acumen Angels
  • Mentoring: Expert coaching and consulting from our partners 
  • Visibility: Opportunities to reach more ideal customers, talent, and funders
  • Learning Hub: The tools of business to grow and scale your organization

In Partnership with Apple

Time Commitment and Course Access

You should expect to dedicate between 5-8 hours per week on the accelerator. The program is an active learning experience and through reviewing curriculum materials, completing assignments, and engaging in reflective conversations with peers and the Acumen team, you will arrive at new insights for your business. 

Additionally there will be two in-person components to the program; a leadership retreat in the middle of the program and a closing Demo Day. Acumen will support all cohort members to attend and will cover travel and accommodation for both events. 

Completion of all assignments and attendance at all program sessions is mandatory to graduate from the program and pitch at the final Demo Day. 

x9 Climate Change Positions at Green Climate Fund

While only one founder can join the program as the lead participant (and must commit to all program sessions), your wider team (up to 10 people maximum) can access the online curriculum materials. A co-founder or another member of your leadership team may also join all 1:1 consultations and mentor calls.

Refine Your Business Model and Determine the best next steps to reach financial sustainability.

Accelerate Your Social Impact. Change more lives, faster, by focusing on activities that work.

Gain Valuable Feedback

Tap into the expertise of peers—and Acumen—to solve problems in real-time.

Join A Lasting Community

Build meaningful relationships with a community of like-minded social innovators. 

What’s Included: Acumen Energy for Livelihoods Accelerator – India

  • Transformational materials and a specially curated curriculum built around lessons from Acumen’s experience of investing in clean energy solutions
  • Facilitated Learning Labs to support your learning 
  • One-on-one consultation calls with Acumen facilitators
  • Access to a mentor from one of Acumen’s strategic partners
  • Residential leadership immersive 
  • Opportunity to pitch at a Demo Day to stakeholders from across the sustainable energy ecosystem and be considered for access to technical assistance and investment from Acumen’s PEII+ initiative 
  • Graduate into Acumen Academy’s global community, The Foundry



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Simon Tyrus Caine

Simon Tyrus Caine is a solar energy expert with more than 10 years experience in the solar sector. Simon has worked and lived in more than 5 countries. Simon has been involved in solar installations, solar project development, solar financing as well as business development in the solar sector. At SolarEyes International, Simon manages content development and day to day operations of the organisation.

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