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Ruchi Rastogi, a dual degree MBA/Masters of International Affairs student, received a Summer Fellowship to work with Acumen Fund, a social venture capital fund that supports local entrepreneurs that increase income and assets and create jobs in developing countries. “My experience working with communities in India and Africa, as well as on developing public-private partnerships with government and non-profit agencies, convinced me of the need for innovative approaches to international development” she says. “I wanted to see how a market-oriented approach could be applied to helping scale up innovative projects where entrepreneurs serve community needs based on local knowledge.”
Rastogi worked with the Health Technology portfolio on a rural drug delivery microfranchise deal, and a rural marketing and distribution plan for anti-malarial bednets. She performed due diligence, developed business plans and financial models, and created investment memoranda. She also worked with an entrepreneur in India to develop a rural group health insurance scheme. “This project is evolving as local partners come forward to help address the complex issues around providing health insurance and basic health services to populations that are most in need, but unable to afford it,” she says.
Rastogi also helped develop social return indicators and metrics across Acumen’s investments. “Social impact is hard to measure, and requires new tools and metrics to communicate how and why these businesses are worthwhile,” she says. “Innovation in this area relies on the skills and insights that come from the business school experience.” Rastogi continues to explore the intersection of international development and business practices and intends to pursue a career that combines the two.