The strongest leaders adapt in challengi

The strongest leaders adapt in challenging situations to find solutions & success. Learn how w/ @Acumen’s new course.

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DIGNITY 2012 – A Photography Exhibition and Auction

On Thursday May 24th, VANCOUVER+acumen is hosting its annual DIGNITY Vancouver photography exhibition and auction.  This one-night event raises funds and awareness for Acumen Fund, a not-for-profit venture fund eradicating global poverty.

The event is curated by Nuru Project, a group using photography for social change, who have contributed 21 prints taken in India, Pakistan and East Africa by world-renowned photographers to be sold via live and silent auction.

The event is hosted in Vancouver Urban Winery‘s stunning space in Gastown and event highlights include incredible food from local-restaurateurs, stunning photography for live and silent auction and a keynote from Seattle-based DIGNITY 2012 poster photographer, Kirk Mastin.

In support of local social enterprise, Hope in Shadows, four prints from their annual photography contest for residents in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside will be auctioned with proceeds donated to Hope in Shadows.

*DIGNITY has been hosted 12 times in 10 cities around the world raising over $150K for Acumen Fund.  DIGNITY 2011 in Vancouver raised $13K and was attended by 250+ Vancouver-based professionals interested in social innovation, international development, photography and art. 

Vancouver Urban Winery @ 55 Dunlevy Ave, Vancouver BC
Thursday, May 24, 2012

Click here to purchase tickets for DIGNITY 2012
Early Bird Tickets (SOLD OUT)
Regular Tickets (until May 24th) – $37
Limited Door Tickets (May 24th) – $42

*Tickets include one complementary drink, appetizers, photography exhibit, keynote from Kirk Mastin and live entertainment.

Minus our expenses, which we do our absolute best to keep to a minimum, 100% of all ticket proceeds and on-site event sales go directly to Acumen Fund.  50% of all photo sales go to Acumen Fund with 25% to support Nuru Project and 25% to support the photographer of the print.

For more information and to view the photo auction preview click here.

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Amazing Raffle Prizes at DIGNITY Vancouver

Are you planning to attend our DIGNITY photo exhibition and auction on May 24th?  Make sure you check out this year’s raffle table!  We have some very exciting raffle prizes donated by our generous sponsors – learn more about them below.

Birds Nest Dining – Two Brunch Gift Certificates
Birds Nest Dining is an underground restaurant nestled in a Vancouver home. The Bird Nest serves brunch, dinner and high tea as well as customized cooking classes and private catered meals.

Education Generation – Two Gift Certificates to fund Student Scholarships
Education Generation is a community dedicated to providing access to education for students around the globe. They work together, $20 at a time, to fund scholarships for young leaders to participate in some of the world’s most forward-thinking education programs.

Hollyhock – Complimentary Tuition to one of Hollyhock’s Vancouver Programs
An internationally renowned center for learning and well-being, Hollyhock impacts personal, professional and social development through over 100 programs and when space allows, offers visitors a fantastic British Columbia island holiday, where you’ll enjoy wonderful Cortes Island accommodation.

Inner Fire – Meditation Cushion & Yoga Mat
Inner Fire Creations is a small Vancouver-based company that creates yoga and lifestyle products for the urban yogi or adventurer. All products are handmade with love by local yoga teacher and artisan Leah Emmott.

Samosa Garden – Two Dining Gift Certificates
Samosa Garden is a renowned restaurant serving authentic Indian cuisine. They are located on Kingsway and their samosas and lunch buffet are legendary.

Saul Good Gift Co. – Gift Basket
Saul Good Gift Co. is a Vancouver gift basket company providing unique customized gourmet and organic gift solutions. They help build relationships meaningfully by giving gifts that tell stories.

Science World – Two Ultimate Experience Passes
Science World British Columbia is a non-profit organization that engages British Columbians in science and inspires future science and technology leadership throughout our province.

Vij’s Restaurant – Cookbook: Vancouver Cooks 2 signed by Vikram Vij
Vij’s is a restaurant in Vancouver that features contemporary Indian cuisine. It has recently been named number one out of fifty Canadian entries in a survey by website

Whistler Tasting Tours – $120 Gift Certificate to the best Whistler Restaurants in One Night
Whistler Tasting Tours  is a company providing walking tours, allowing people to really explore the village’s dining scene. Their philosophy is simple: Good Food. Good Wine. Good People. Good Times.

Thank you to all of our generous donors!

For more information about DIGNITY Vancouver on May 24 – click here!

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Thank you to DIGNITY 2012’s Sponsors & Partners

VANCOUVER+acumen would like to thank all of its wonderful sponsors and partners for our DIGNITY Vancouver photo auction on May 24. We are grateful to be working alongside such amazing companies who have been contributing towards making our event a success.

Vancouver Observer
Vancouver Observer is Vancouver’s leading online-only local news site. They cover the local news, regional current events, special interest blogs, global breaking news and alternative media.

Andrew Peller Estates
Andrew Peller Estates is a leading producer of quality wines in Canada. With wineries in British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia, the company markets wines produced from grapes grown from vineyards around the world.

Artona Group
Since 1909, the Artona Group Inc. has been British Columbia’s premier destination for graduation, school, family, corporate and wedding parties. Artona Group is locally based and 100% Canadian family owned and operated.

BC Fundraising Auctions
BC Charity and Fundraising Auctions helps charities, non-profits and other groups increase funds raised through a “live” auction process. They add “fun” into fundraising and maximize the value for donated items.

School of Remix
School of Remix is Vancouver’s only audio production an DJ School. Located in East Gastown, School of Remix provides an education that can resonate into various areas of self-development.

Vancouver Urban Winery                                                                                                                  Vancouver Urban Winery is located two blocks off Gastown in the historic heart of Vancouver’s Railtown. It is the first of its kind in Vancouver and also operates as a unique special events space.

Nuba Natural Foods
Nuba Natural Foods is a Vancouver based producer of ethnic speciality food items. Nuba also offers Lebanese cuisine from four locations: West Hastings, East Hastings, Seymour Street and East 3rd Avenue.

Samosa Garden
Samosa Garden is a renowned restaurant serving authentic Indian cuisine. They are located on Kingsway and their samosas and lunch buffet are legendary.

Tacofino Cantina
Tacofino was born out of a desire to create a unique dining experience by offering quality, freshness and nutritional conscience. Their orange taco truck can be spotted downtown at Robson Square or Burrard and Dunsmuir.

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VANCOUVER+acumen Student Salon

For the last nine months, VANCOUVER+acumen has been hosting a monthly series of salons inspired by the values and principles of Acumen Fund. This month in addition to the monthly salon on Trust, VANCOUVER+acumen will be teaming up with two student organizations (Social Enterprise Club  and Commerce Community Program) at the Univeristy of British Columbia to host the first Student Salon, run by students, on March 29th

The theme for the first Student Salon will be: “A Life of Purpose”. It will host 20-25 students and is open to students from all majors and years. It’s about the exchange of new people and new ideas.

Are you a student at UBC? If you are interested in attending, please check out the Facebook event here. We hope that the discussion will spur your imagination and challenge you to think about poverty, business and the relationship that exists between them in new ways. The Salon will also be a great place to meet other students who are interested in social enterprise.

You can also check out the infographic below for more information! We hope to see you there! 



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announcing our judges

The Case Competition is just 2 days away and we’re incredibly excited!

We just wanted to take a moment to thank our judges who have volunteered their time and expertise. We have an impressive line up of adjudicators for Saturday who will no doubt make the competitors sweat with their questions.

Click to read the Judges Profiles here.

Interested in attending? The final presentations are open to anyone interested in attending. Presentations will begin at 12:20pm and will be hosted at UBC in the Neville Scarfe building, room 100. Email if you have any questions!

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VANCOUVER+acumen Case Competition – From a Student’s Perspective

Stop for a second, and close your eyes. Go back five years, maybe ten, to a year when you were a university student. You have to wake up at 8:00am on a Saturday morning to present a case to a panel of judges and you’ve barely gotten any sleep over the past twenty four hours (this doesn’t sound promising)… but wait, this is the first time you actually want to wake up that early on a weekend day and you can’t wait to present!

Now fast forward in time. Imagine you are sitting at a beautiful desk in a New York head office and you are in front of a… a stock chart? No, of course not. An idea. Not just any idea, a breakthrough idea that could change the world.

Vancouver +acumen Case Competition. This is how these two scenarios come together, allowing for a group of undergraduate and graduate students to step into the shoes of a board member, an investor, or fellow for Acumen Fund, not only challenging them to think critically but inspiring them to think differently. On March 10th, students will spend 24 hours with a take home ‘open’ case and the following day, will present to a panel of judges made up of industry leaders in finance and social enterprise.

This is not an easy task, but thankfully we (the students!) have the wonderful Mark McCoy as our coach. Here is a summary of what Mark has taught so far:

Workshop #1

This workshop focused on strategies for case analysis as well as an introduction to Acumen Fund. Mark led us through an example of a boy named Arthur who had an unsuccessful first year at university. He then used this example to illustrate various techniques used in sorting out the facts of a case, fully understanding the problem, conducting analysis, and outlining a solution. We also had the opportunity to learn more about Acumen Fund’s investment criteria, portfolios, fellows program and the concept of patient capital.

Workshop #2

The topic of workshop #2 was implementation and presentation. The example of Arthur was applied again, and this time to Acumen Fund’s ‘10 Things We’ve Learned About Tackling Global Poverty’ (! The students were intrigued and conversation was sparked. Mark went into more detail about Acumen Fund’s investment criteria and how Acumen Fund measures impact.

There was also an astounding guest presentation from Nikolas Laufer-Edel who taught the students how to create an effective, visually appealing power-point presentation. The energy in the room after workshop #2 was definitely one of excitement and anticipation.

Workshop #3

The upcoming workshop will be this Saturday and it will focus on financial modeling. Although Mark doesn’t expect us to become ‘masters of excel’ in just a few hours (or at least I hope not!), financial modeling is a fundamental aspect of determining whether or not a project is going to be financial sustainable. The Vancouver +acumen team will be tweeting live from this workshop!

Lastly, I have gathered some thoughts from a few of the other students who have been attending the workshops. Here is what they have to say!

“I heard about the case competition from a fellow student. I was curious about how finance concepts could be applied to something other than banking. I also found out that the women who wrote the book ‘The Blue Sweater’ founded the Acumen Fund. The workshops have been very interactive and Mark is engaging and very supportive. I am looking forward to the case and taking all of the skills we have learned and applying it to a meaningful cause!” – Jasmine

“I’ve been very competitive my whole life, and I really wanted to experience a real-life application of the materials I’ve been taught in Sauder. Hence, combining competition with learning is what attracted me to the case competition. The seminars have been very useful so far. My favorite segment was definitely “the presentation on presenting”, but the case-competition strategy talks have been insightful as well. I’ve learned how to present effectively and how to work as a team under tight time constraints. I am looking forward to spending an entire day looking at a case and creating an organized conclusion out of the disorganized collection of information.” – Tim

“I thought this would be a great learning experience because of the workshops. I love that there is that social, entrepreneurial aspect in this case competition because of what the organization works to fund. I had also heard great things about this case competition! I’ve only been to one workshop so far but I was surprised at the quality of the content! I am looking forward to the rest of the workshops and watching other people’s case presentations! From my experience, working on cases is such a unique way to learn about business problems and really working the brain to form a creative solution. I can’t wait to read the case and feel the sense of accomplishment at the end of everything!” – Elizabeth

Make sure to follow @van4acumen this Saturday at 10am [PST]!

– Rebecca Konsolos, @rkonsolos

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