For the Visionaries out There

Looking to become a development leader?

may have the event for you.

The New York-based social investment firm is hosting its first

, an opportunity for undergrads to learn more about enterprise development and refine leadership skills.

The two-day workshop will involve 20-25 students and a handful of key Acumen executives. Candidates should be the type that look beyond the status quo, are willing to take risks, and demonstrate a solid understanding of global development and a strong desire to find new ways of alleviating poverty.

Candidates must also be able to communicate well. The

is lengthy, and filling it out requires thinking up and describing a social enterprise idea Acumen calls a "mini-project."

Get accepted and you might make it to next year's

, the world's leading social entrepreneurialism gathering, wrapping up now in Oxford. Or perhaps down the road you'll be a part of the

, an enterprise development organization launched this week in London.

Based at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C., ANDE is backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,, Omidyar Network, Rockefeller Foundation, Skoll Foundation and other charities. Thirty-five organizations have joined the network, and will be managing more than $750 million over the next five years.

Looking to invest in small and growing businesses in the developing world, ANDE will tap a potentially huge market. According to Dalberg Global Development Advisors, the volume of loans made in both the microfinance and small-scale private equity sectors were each six times greater than those made within the small and growing business sector.

"Finding collective solutions to common barriers will be a major focus of our work in the years to come," Peter Reiling, Aspen Institute's executive vice president, said at the launch. "We believe that by coming together, by combining efforts to support small businesses with high growth potential, we can truly move the needle in creating widespread prosperity in the developing world."

Acumen's Student Leaders Workshop will not open until late May, but applications must be in by April 10, two weeks from now. With opportunities like ANDE popping up all the time, you might want to get started on your mini-project.

About the author

  • David Lepeska

    David has served as U.N. correspondent for the newswire UPI and reported for several major newspapers, including the New York Daily News and Newsday. He was chief correspondent for the Kashmir Observer in Srinagar, India, and regularly contributes to the Economist, among other publications. Since 2007, David has reported for Devex News from Washington, New York, as well as South Asia.