The most innovative social entrepreneurs in the world come to the Social Capital Markets Conference. It is no surprise then that members of the conference community and alums of the SOCAP Entrepreneur Scholarship program are typically found on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 lists. We reached out to all SOCAP community members who were named on Forbes’ 2017 list of 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs to ask if they would share their best advice for entrepreneurs on how to get the most out of the SOCAP experience. Here are their tips:
Corinne Clinch, Rorus INC
Put a picture of yourself on your business card, and note on each card you give or receive what you’d like to talk to them more about. Networking without follow-up is useless.
Rorus Inc. engineers affordable water filtration devices that gives people access to safe, clean drinking water. Rorus, Inc was a SOCAP Entrepreneur scholarship recipient in 2016.
Afzal Habib and Sabrina Natasha Habib, Kidogo
SOCAP is an excellent venue for entrepreneurs to build valuable connections. It’s important to prepare and think about the types of organizations and individuals you are looking to meet, but oftentimes the best connections come when you least expect it, through channels you weren’t planning. Be open to meeting new people, getting to know them (not just shamelessly pitching your own ideas), and don’t spend too much time trying to make it to every session.
Emily Cunningham and Kwami Williams, MoringaConnect
Most importantly, make connections! If you’re fundraising, go in with a clear idea of your fundraising ask and a plan of which panels you’ll attend and what funders you’re looking to meet. If you have a product, samples go a long way!
MoringaConnect combats deforestation and malnutrition in Ghana by connecting small farmers with the global market. They worked with the community to develop a supply chain to take Moringa seeds and turn them into antioxidant-rich oils for hair and skincare. MoringaConnect was a SOCAP Entrepreneur scholarship recipient in 2015.
Daquan Oliver Founder, WeThrive
Get to know the other social entrepreneurs really well. Not only your peers, but other social entrepreneurs that attend.
Definitely attend the after events. Looking back on my experience, The Echoing Green after event and others were some of the most helpful. Those were where I met individuals I got introductions from. You are able to begin building relationships that continue and are helpful, beyond whether or not you met a funder.
Founded in 2014, WeThrive pairs middle-school students living in low-income communities with college students for a year long after-school entrepreneurship program. WeThrive was a SOCAP entrepreneur scholarship recipient in 2015.
Ryan Ross, Halcyon Incubator
The relationships in this community will be THE most valuable part of the experience. The old saying “a rising tide lifts all ships” certainly applies in this community. You will gain the most by building authentic relationships and finding new ways to add value to the journey of others.
Halcyon Incubator focuses on both social impact and profit. They help social entrepreneurs turn ideas into scalable and sustainable ventures. Ryan appeared at SOCAP15 on the Mapping the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem panel with Penelope Douglas, Mark Beam, and Angie Kim.
Teju Ravilochan, Co-Founder, Unreasonable Institute
For the past several years Teju Ravilochan, the Co-Founder of Unreasonable Institute has led a session on How to Get the Most out of SOCAP as part of our opening plenary.
Unreasonable Institute’s programs help social entrepreneurs scale solutions to the world’s biggest problems. Their goal is to help each venture scale up to meaningfully impact the lives of at least one million people each.
Apply Now for Your SOCAP Scholarship Opportunity
We are now taking applications for the 2017 SOCAP Entrepreneur Scholarship opportunity. Apply now for your chance to meet and make connections with some of the leading social entrepreneurs in the world. The deadline is June 30, 2017 so don’t delay (international applicants should apply by June 1st, if early consideration is necessary for visa purposes).
Innovators from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography are encouraged to apply now for another scholarship opportunity open only to the people of those regions: the SOCAP17 Bush Foundation Scholarship for Social Business Creators.