The Good News: 15 Media Outlets Focused on Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing

Posted by on December 8th, 2016

A SOCAP Guest Post by Gary Gach

The ever-growing SOCAP community is witnessing history in the making: the birth and fostering of a new economy, a new economy that’s inclusive, regenerative, and truly thriving. We are making a new road at the intersection of money and meaning and several impact-focused, independent media outlets are covering it. To help you find and follow the latest developments, we offer this informal survey of print and digital media outlets that report on the burgeoning impact space.

Alliance

alliance-magazine-logoWith readers in 120 nations, Alliance magazine has become one of the premier forums for news and views in the philanthropic sector, including social capital. They are based in Europe yet have always offered a very international outlook. To celebrate their 20th anniversary, Alliance recently published a retrospective that shows how they’ve been a bellwether in extending the scope of giving to include the planet as well as one’s own backyard. And with their authors being peers within the field — sharing experiential analyses and first-hand know-how — Alliance has been steadily building community amongst individuals, corporations, foundations, and institutions.

They’ve always been noteworthy for maintaining a critical eye. As Charles Keidan takes the reins as editor, we can expect Alliance to take more and more of a stand on various issues — and expanded coverage of social enterprises will also be in the mix.

B the Change

btc_logo_positive_rgb-330x125B the Change Media’s motto is “People using business as a force for good.” For some, this is news, that business can be a force for change. This is news that stays new. And how refreshing to hear the focus being on human interaction. “People” here means managers and employees, business leaders and entrepreneurs, discriminating investors and discerning customers.

B the Change launched only last June. Yet CEO Bryan Welch had been envisioning such a venture for many years. He’d kept his passion in his view while working at other outlets aligned with his purpose, until conditions came together for him at B Lab, the nonprofit agency behind the B-Corps movement (which currently encompasses +1,700 certified B Corporations). Bryan Welch states, “We want to inspire people to make career decisions, business decisions, and buying decisions based on conscience.”

In keeping with the diversity of options which today’s media affords, this is a multi-platform enterprise. There’s a quarterly print magazine, a digital magazine, social media, newsletters, conferences and events, and more. Brand-new, yet B the Change is positioned to be a major player, for the long haul.

Conscious Company

conscious_black_magazineConscious Company magazine was the first print and digital, nationally distributed publication in the US to focus solely on sustainable business and business as a force for good. It began, as many endeavors do, as a conversation over a meal between two great friends. In 2014, founders Maren Keeley and Meghan French Dunbar were trying to answer the simple question, “Why doesn’t a print magazine about sustainable business exist in the US?” Both had studied sustainable business in graduate school and felt a need for a publication that brought the latest and greatest from the field in an aesthetically pleasing, beautiful way. Weeks of researching and discussing this question led them to another simple question, “Why not us?,” and in April 2014,Conscious Company magazine was born.

Based in Boulder, Colorado, the publication first hit stands nationwide, include all Whole Foods stores, in January 2015. With four issues in 2015 and six in 2016, the publication has quickly become a leading source of information for and about sustainable businesses and social entrepreneurship. In 2017, Conscious Company plan to grow its offerings to include live and virtual events, webinars, web-only stories, an improved digital edition, a jobs board, and more. A certified B Corp that practices the values of conscious leadership and for-benefit business in everything it does, Conscious Company isn’t just a media company. It’s a team with a mission to accelerate the transition to a purpose-driven economy, so that all people can find inclusive, long-term prosperity through meaningful work. 

DevEx

logo-devex-impact-e928a7bd37a7a96075af16ffc4ece718DevEx Impact is a media platform for the global development community. Working with USAID, DevEx Impact connects more than 800,000 companies, organizations, and professionals in health, humanitarian, and sustainability — providing news, business intelligence, and funding & career opportunities.

Entrepreneur

1413842518-entrepreneur-logoEntrepreneur has been writing about entrepreneurs for nearly 20 years. Naturally, they include social entrepreneurs and impact investors. They’ve also recently featured a joint project of Impact Alpha and The Case Foundation (a great supporter of the impact investment ecosystem) and Impact Alpha entitled Profiles in Impact —  a series of case studies illustrating the sector’s breadth of opportunities available across geographies and asset classes.

Fast Company

fastcompanyFast Company has been around roughly as long as Entrepreneur, and has been covering the role of capital in social change with its own distinctive, fresh, creative voice. In 2009, Fast Company decided to call the general playing field “ethonomics” (”ethics” + “economics”). They’ve since come around to the more commonly entrenched phrase “impact investing.” So, when searching their archives, try both.

The Huffington Post

huffington-post-logo1Since its launch in 2005, The Huffington Post (often referred to as HuffPo) has grown into a premier progressive media platform. Things change, but currently I visit Profit + Purpose first, next Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), then roam around (Sustainability, Sustainable Food, Business Ethics, etc.)       

ImpactAlpha

impact-alpha-logo-sm-1Since its launch in 2014, ImpactAlpha (“investment news for a sustainable edge”) has become a leading source of insight, analysis, and news about investments that generate social, environmental, and financial value. Founder David Bank took time to give us a brief guided tour, as follows: 

“Through Dealflow, our weekly roundup of impact investing transactions; Shifts, our monthly roundup of investment theses, trends and reports; and Returns on Investment, our popular podcast, ImpactAlpha has narrated the growth of impact investing as it has moved from the margins to the mainstream of global finance. 

“We’ve taken deep dives into such themes as Full Stack Capital (blended or layered finance), Financing Fish (sustainable seafood and oceans), Conservation Finance, and Base of the Pyramid. Our exploration of program-related investments, sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was published in Stanford Social Innovation Review.

ImpactSpace.com, aka ‘CrunchBase for Impact,’ acquired by ImpactAlpha in 2015, has become the largest open database of impact ventures, funds, and deals, with more than 15,000 profiles. ImpactSpace is the primary data provider for the Impact Network Map, now under development by the Case Foundation.

“As we approach 2017, it has become clear that the scale of the challenges, along with the scope of the opportunities requires ‘all hands on deck.’ The rise of xenophobia, demagoguery, and division can only be countered with a positive vision. ImpactAlpha plans to meet this need for a new narrative with a new publication focused on long-term thinking, global goals and an inclusive economy. We’ll broaden our focus on private capital and impact investment to embrace tech innovation, policy and advocacy, corporate and philanthropic investment, conscious consumerism and other strategies for positive impact. We aim to be the voice of the growing movement of ‘Agents of Impact’ who — across issues, industries, and geographies — are laying the foundation for a 21st century of shared, sustainable prosperity.”

Locavesting

locavesting-logoThe idea is as simple as pie: invest in your own Main Street rather than Wall Street. Locavesting is a spin-off of the seminal book of the same name by Amy Cortese. Here, her seasoned journalism savvy spotlights topics of particular appeal for both investors and entrepreneurs, each — as well as such general-interest matters as crowdfunding as an actual investment, thanks to the May provision of the JOBS Act.

At SOCAP16, with Arno Hesse, she unveiled the beta version of a brilliant tool for finding local investment possibilities by category. With the same innovative flair that coined “locavesting,” it’s called Investibule.

NextBillion

nextbillion_logo-copyNextBillion is a community of business leaders, social entrepreneurs, NGO managers, policy makers, academics and others exploring the connection between development and enterprise. NextBillion chronicles new trends in market solutions to poverty that benefit the world’s 4 billion low-income producers and consumers – often known as the base of the pyramid. The site features in-depth analysis and opinion from thought leaders and researchers – as well as on-the-ground insights from social entrepreneurs. NextBillion also offers an editor-curated newsfeed, a calendar of important events, and a career center with continuously updated job opportunities across the “development through enterprise” market sector. Now in its second decade of publishing, NextBillion’s goal is to stimulate discussion, raise awareness and provide a platform for sharing ideas that improve the lives of the poor and reshape entire economies.

Positive News

positive-news-logo-1Founded by Shauna Crockett Burrows in 1993, Positive.News defines itself as a magazine of constructive journalism. Online and in print, they examine our society’s challenges through a lens of progress and possibility. Now arguably the oldest publication for quality reporting that inspires, Positive News is owned and supported by a global community, rather than a corporate conglomerate. A magazine and a movement, they are changing the news for good.

Stanford Social Innovation Review

stanford-social-innovation-review-logoImpact investing is ever-more-relevant to Stanford Social Innovation Review’s mission to “inform and inspire leaders of social change” through its quarterly print magazine and daily online content. Founded in 2003 at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, the publication has since moved to the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and maintains a strong interest in business-inspired solutions to social problems, alongside other approaches. It now offers content across several sectors—nonprofits, philanthropy, business, government, and academia—and on a range of topics, including health, education, the environment, and social services.

As a topic relevant across these areas, impact investing features prominently in SSIR. Frequent articles provide challenging perspectives and debates on impact investing methods such as pay-for-success and green bonds, development aid and social enterprise, and program-related investments. SSIR’s winter 2017 print issue features a pair of articles by Omidyar Network and Root Capital on their sophisticated models for evaluating investment options. SSIR offers additional analysis and information through webinars, conferences, podcasts, book excerpts, videos, and a weekly newsletter.

TriplePundit

triplepunditlogo-1TriplePundit takes their name from the new triple bottom line (TBL, 3BL) which takes people, planet (social, ecological, and financial), and profit all into account. On the scene for over a decade now, their topics of coverage range from sustainable food and global water & energy challenges, to social justice, economic equality, and  corporate social responsibility (CSR). They’ve created a community of over a half million readers a month, a diverse group ranging from MBA students to consultants, corporate executives to social entrepreneurs.

The Weekly Briefing

kylewestawayKyle Westaway fell into social entrepreneurship through establishing with friends a company employing and empowering survivors of the Southeast Asian sex trade. Doing so, they were struck by the power of business to create a positive impact. Today, he advises early-stage entrepreneurs at his law firm, and teaches about social entrepreneurship at Harvard.

Weekends, he edits The Weekly Briefing. Why? As he tells SOCAP readers.: “Most of my friends and clients are entrepreneurs. They have their heads down all week trying to build their companies. If they’re lucky, they catch a few headlines during the week, but have no time to find the stuff actually worth reading. So, I do the work for them with the Weekend Briefing. I find the best think pieces on innovation, impact, and growth and summarize them in one simple email on Saturday morning. In a sea of content, we find the articles worth reading.

“It only takes a couple minutes to read the email and get the main ideas, but if some idea resonates, you can dive deeper by reading the whole article.”

Yes!

yes-logoYes! really gets the next economy. They understand how it “puts people first and works within the carrying capacity of the Earth.” And that “any economic rescue program must result in systemic change that doesn’t replicate the current mistakes.” Since insight must give rise to action, they’re doing their part to help to build such possibility, amplifying the voices pointing the way to the kind of economy that serves people and communities. Also of note, founder and editor-at-large Sarah van Gelder’s next book will be released in January by Barrett Koehler, entitled The Revolution Where You Live: Stories from a 12,000-Mile Journey Through a New America. (Barret Koehler, themselves, have made a name for themselves as a premier, independent publisher connecting people and ideas to create a world that works for us all.)

And More…

Other, related media outlets that are also part of the story but for which space did not permit annotated mention include:

And do check out On Impact, a weekly digest of impact investing, social impact, and social innovation news edited by Cathy Clark.

Apologies if we’ve overlooked anyone this time around.

News You Can Use

These independent media outlets connect us with news that’s too often overlooked in the mainstream: the good news. Rather than struggling in a culture of cynicism and despair, in a race to the bottom, social economic innovators are living the change they want to see in the world. Rather than get pulled away by the intellectual paralysis of analysis, detailing everything that’s not working, people here are fully aligned with positive possibilities and actively bringing them to fruition. And press coverage of it all isn’t short-term, facile entertainment, but is, rather, a shouldering of challenging, innovative, and discerning economic views, bringing you news you can use. So, as my friend Wes “Scoop” Nisker used to say, concluding his free-form radio newscasts in the ’60s: if you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own.

gg-head-likenessGary Gach is an award-winning free-lance researcher, writer, editor, and content consultant. Reach him at GaryGach.com

The Conveners.org Sessions @ SOCAP16: Impact Convening Information, Tools, Practices, and Outcomes

Posted by on November 29th, 2016

A SOCAP Guest Post By Avary Kent, Executive Director of Conveners.org

conveners_logo_squareSOCAP’s annual gathering of mission-focused investors, entrepreneurs, and social impact leaders is always a highlight for Conveners.org. As an organization with a mission to support the diverse ecosystem of impact-focused conveners and accelerators, we recognize the transformative power that convening has to positively change the world, and SOCAP is a great example of meaningful convening.

During this past conference we co-hosted three sessions over three days, bringing together diverse segments of the social impact community.

The week kicked off with an all-day pre-conference session in support of one of our signature programs, Accelerating the Accelerators (AtA). With our co-hosts, the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship and SOCAP, we brought together 35 accelerator program managers from 28 unique accelerators, representing 12 countries around the world to explore how to move collaboration into action. During the week we also met with leaders in the impact mapping community to share initial ideas on developing a new Mapping the Mappers initiative, an effort currently underway. We then wrapped up the week by celebrating our third birthday with our Convening the Conveners (CtC) community, a membership community of conveners who are dedicated to advancing ecosystem-wide impact through collaboration. Below are outcomes from the three sessions and information on how you can get involved.

Accelerating the Accelerators

In partnership with the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, we co-hosted the third annual Accelerating the Accelerators @SOCAP day-long workshop. A continuation of conversations from years past and similar workshops hosted by community leaders, including Ian Fisk of the Mentor Capital Network, the session served to further build the field for stronger accelerator network ties and more frequent and meaningful peer-to-peer exchanges.

coveners_socap16
The morning segment focused on gaining a better understanding of how one another’s programs work, what each program does well, and where each program could benefit from support. The afternoon segment was organized as an unconference, with participants sourcing conversation topics that were of the most interest to them, and then creating an agenda to break into small group discussions. These conversations included:

  • Sustainable business models/revenue generators for scaling accelerators
  • Supporting non-selected entrepreneurs
  • Getting entrepreneurs investment
  • Best practices in getting comparison groups
  • How do you measure the impact of your accelerator and the businesses you accelerate?
  • Curriculum best practices

The workshop concluded with the group identifying opportunities to continue exploring topics throughout the coming year through three new AtA Collective Impact Projects run by Conveners.org. Collective Impact Projects (CIPs) are working groups that focus on a specific topic, for a defined period of time, with the objective of creating a new industry resource, solution, or tool. The new CIPs sourced from our sessions at SOCAP include one focused on impact measurement, which has a Slack group going and is open beyond those who signed up at SOCAP; another CIP centers on the support that can be given to entrepreneurs who are not accepted to an accelerator program, and will launch in January; the third CIP is focused on providing feedback for a new initiative called the Accelerator Selection Tool which will get started in Q2 of the new year.

To read more about these unconference sessions, including key takeaways from each conversation, click here. And if you’re interested in joining a Collective Impact Project, send an email to info@conveners.org.

Convening the Conveners

Convening the Conveners (CtC) is a membership program for organizations that use the powerful tool of convening to advance positive change. The program was born at SOCAP13 when Topher Wilkins, CEO of Opportunity Collaboration, organized a gathering to discuss a radical idea: that greater coordination, cooperation, and collaboration among conveners would lead to greater collective impact.

In January 2015, we formally incorporated as Conveners.org and we haven’t looked back since — co-hosting sessions around the globe, building out our membership website, supporting collective impact projects, and establishing a strong team to serve our members.

At SOCAP this year, we celebrated our three-year anniversary, and continued the conversation of how best to convene for impact.

Mapping the Mappers

In the spirit of convening, Conveners.org took a popular quarterly call series called Mapping the Mappers (MtM) and hosted an in-person gathering at SOCAP16 to discuss the formalization of a program on how to generate efficiencies in social ecosystem mapping efforts.

The purpose of the gathering was to coordinate efforts, avoid the trap of re-inventing the wheel, and learn what technologies and approaches have worked well for mapping peers. One outcome of the meeting was the creation and launch of a Mapper Directory, as well as the launch of an MtM Google group, and the setup of a follow-up call in December to continue the conversation and collaboration.

If you’re interested in learning more about this and other Conveners.org initiatives, send us an email at info@conveners.org. And make sure to connect with us next year at SOCAP17!

About Conveners.org

A registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, Conveners.org advances industry-wide practices that foster system-level progress and drive collective impact at scale. We manage two flagship programs, Convening the Conveners and Accelerating the Accelerators, through which we offer knowledge, tools, and resources that support the growing ecosystem of impact-focused conveners and accelerators, and enable coordination, connections, and conversations that change the world.

We work with such organizations as SOCAP, Skoll World Forum, Social Venture Network, Mentor Capital Network, SRI Conference, Social Enterprise Alliance, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, ANDE, World Affairs Council, Echoing Green, and Opportunity Collaboration.   

To learn more about Conveners.org and the role they play in the impact ecosystem, read our SOCAP Conversations interview with Avary Kent from 2015.

The Critical Role of the Social Impact Analyst

Posted by on November 17th, 2016

A SOCAP Guest Post By Alan Pierce

In the world of impact investing and social entrepreneurship, non-financial returns or outcomes must be measured. And yet a key philosophical and increasingly pragmatic question remains: How can we track such factors systematically and effectively?

At SOCAP16 there were a handful of sessions focused on impact measurement, and one specifically focused on the role of social impact analysts. Building Out the Social Impact Analyst Profession brought a packed room together to listen to four panelists and facilitator Sara Olsen (founder of SVT Group) as they delved into the “how” of impact analysis, and why analysts with this focus are necessary for the continued growth of social entrepreneurship and impact investing.

The age demographics in the room told me that, like myself, many Millennials were interested in this session for its relevance to our early career ambitions.

No matter your role in the social capital markets, to achieve sustainable social change we must advance our capacity to define, measure, interpret, and report whether we are indeed achieving positive impact.

How Impact Analysts Catalyze Change

At the outset of the panel Matt Barry, VP of Strategic Assessment at Gary Community Investments, described how the field of impact accounting is evolving.

Established professionals have had to learn the art of impact analysis, to integrate it into their current understanding and responsibilities. Now, recent graduates with specific academic training in impact measurement and evaluation have emerged in the job market to complement teams of more traditional, financially-oriented analysts.

Part of this emergence has been a response by business schools and other training centers to the burgeoning fields of impact investing and social entrepreneurship. Both investors and entrepreneurs now need professionals capable of accounting for social and environmental returns (in an accurate and relevant manner) in the context of a financial ecosystem. This is what an impact analyst can be hired to do.

Panelist Sara Olsen offers a deeper, more nuanced discussion of this profession in her article The Next Frontier in Social Impact Measurement Isn’t Measurement at All, published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Donors, investors, and entrepreneurs need impact measures for different reasons, and the push to standardize measurement to improve comparability eliminates variation, which also reduces context and therefore relevance.

Olsen makes the case that, although there should be common principles for good measurement, there should be flexibility for an organization to measure impact in a way that is meaningful and appropriate for their intended outcomes. While this results in complex impact reports, it provides more useful measures upon which an analyst can interpret, compare and recommend various approaches to a challenge.

How to Become an Impact Analyst

Many audience questions, particularly from earnest young professionals, focused on how to break into this nascent field.

Some of the more obvious attributes for impact analysts include a basic understanding of capital markets and an ability to conduct data analysis with ease. Other characteristics involve a proficient knowledge of theory of change frameworks, organizational development and even a knack for visual communication in order to facilitate compelling dissemination of findings.

Mary Jo Cook, President and CEO of Pacific Community Ventures, further emphasized that she hires analysts who demonstrably believe in her mission because with that values alignment likely comes a deeper, more nuanced perspective and a more profound commitment to working towards that mission.

Cook also offered one of the most salient pieces of advice to those young professionals coming from a social background, “Make sure you speak the language of finance even if you’re not a finance person.” Whether this means taking some online courses or obtaining a certificate, the ability to present an impact accounting report that is accessible and meaningful to financial stakeholders is a prerequisite for such a position.

Success as an impact analyst requires an increasingly diverse list of attributes. While a broad skill set is valuable, Michael Harnar, PhD, of Pointed Arrows Consulting, encouraged young professionals to develop refined, specialized knowledge in a focused  area.  A combination of broad skills and a specific area of expertise increase a candidate’s ability to distinguish themselves strongly as an impact analyst.

Resources

At the end of the very rich session one attendee asked if there was a place where resources related to, and discussed during the hour, could be accessed. Some of the resources suggested include:

 


 

linkedineditAlan Pierce holds a master’s degree in Social Entrepreneurship from Hult International Business School. While at Hult he co-led the development of a student-run accelerator for local social enterprise startups, and received a management consulting certification. Prior to pursuing this degree Alan worked for a number of nonprofits in the SF Bay Area. This included an institute conducting research on individual and social transformation, at which he published several academic papers.

Rehumanizing the City

Posted by on November 14th, 2016

By Arjanna van der Plas

“I feel afraid”, a sixty-something man with red backpack confides. “I’m worried about the elections, and the growing social inequality in San Francisco.” He adds a purple ball to the display of the Metro Moods on Market installation to express his fear. A woman in a Dreamforce T-shirt, who holds a yellow ‘happy’ ball in her hand, tries to comfort him. “You know, the news always has a negative bias. But there is so much great stuff happening too! Just look at all these people that are making Market Street a nicer place with their installations. And look at this installation: most people added ‘happy’ and ‘peace’ balls!” The man nods, and continues his way, seeming a bit more cheerful.

mspf-6

When you are in a public space, how often do you really see others? Do you engage with them, talk with them about how they experience the city? Most of the time, we are preoccupied by our phones, our thoughts, or our next meeting. Deborah Cullinan, the vibrant director of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), wants to change that. She is on an exciting mission to turn the streets of San Francisco into dynamic meeting places where people cocreate a positive future for their city. The Market Street Prototyping Festival, of which the Metro Moods on Market installation was part, is a powerful example of her approach.

Reviving Market Street

deborah“For too long, city planning has been top down and focused on infrastructure. We almost forget that we created cities for people to live in; we didn’t create cities for cars”, says Cullinan. About 50% of the public space an American city is dedicated to streets, parking lots, service stations and other things that facilitate cars. Could art play a role in rehumanizing the city? “It can, and it should.” Cullinan states. “The Market Street Prototyping Festival that we organize with the San Francisco Planning Department  is a great example of how collaboration and rapid, citizen-driven experimentation can help solve our biggest challenges. The Prototyping Festival was born out of our shared desire to make Market Street a more inspired, connected destination. We wanted to bring together different people and communities. Initiatives like the Prototyping Festival allow all those who are passionate about our city to engage in the civic process and to provide hands-on contributions to solving our community’s biggest challenges.”

Inspiring citizens to envision their future

Currently, public meetings are the default approach when the city wants to collect data. These meetings are open to all, but often only a few people feel inspired to come. Cullinan believes that a major shift can happen when we let artists do the work. “We can’t make things happen behind closed doors, with only a few people thinking about the problems that affect so many. We need to meet the citizens of San Francisco where they are. And, we need to ensure that people everywhere are living lives infused with inspiration. Without inspiration, how will any of us be able to see a different future for ourselves and our city? Artists can remind us of our ability as human beings to imagine new possibilities and to collaborate around those possibilities in order to build our future together.”

The Market Street Prototyping Festival is part of a larger San Francisco effort to enhance and improve Market Street by involving the community to help create meaningful public spaces. More than thirty interactive installations comprised the 2016 festival from Steuart to Seventh Street, ranging from a peaceful pop-up forest, an installation inviting pedestrians to vote with their feet on hot topics, to a dance studio. Based on the experiences during the three day festival in October, the installations will be improved, and some of them will be installed throughout San Francisco. Cullinan: “I am proud of our ongoing collaboration with the City. Together, we have changed the culture of planning in San Francisco and we have inspired prototyping festivals across the country and the world. People are actively participating in determining how our cities are changing through festivals in Australia, Columbia, Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico and beyond.

Learn More: Watch Deborah Cullinan at SOCAP16

Deborah Cullinan spoke on the powerful role the arts plays in shaping culture and driving social impact alongside Marc Bamuthi Joseph, spoken word artist and Chief of Program and Pedagogy at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Rha Goddess, cultural innovator, artist, and Founder of Move the Crowd as part of the Shifting Culture Toward Equity panel during the closing plenary at SOCAP16.

About the author

arjanna-at-lowlandsArjanna van der Plas is a social impact focused author, yoga teacher and workshop facilitator. She currently spends most of her time in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, teaching yoga and meditation at the Healing Well, and writing a book and blog series called Stories Behind The Fog together with the Free Range Puppies. With Stories Behind The Fog she wants to challenge the single-minded view of homelessness by rendering its entire spectrum, one story at a time.

Before Arjanna moved to San Francisco, she was communications manager for the Amsterdam based sustainability startup Circle Economy. Prior to that, she was a lecturer at the TU Delft, innovator at TNO (the largest independent research organization in the Netherlands) and freelance science journalist. Arjanna holds two MSc. degrees from the TU Delft, one in Industrial Design Engineering and one in Science Communications. Follow her on Medium, Linkedin, and Twitter.

SOCAP Entrepreneurs: Share Your Story with #FacesofFounders to Catalyze the Inclusive Entrepreneurship Movement

Posted by on November 10th, 2016

Inclusion is one of the core values of the SOCAP conference. We encourage diversity among applicants to our Entrepreneur Scholarship program and require gender and racial diversity for all SOCAP conference sessions. We do so because we believe that a diversity of thought leadership at impact convenings can help create a more just and equitable world.

The #FacesofFounders initiative is also working to help build a more just and equitable world by fostering entrepreneurial inclusion. Their aim is to change the face of entrepreneurship by drawing attention to diverse entrepreneurs who are achieving success today–and how far we as a nation must go to even the playing field for everyone. Currently, fewer than ten percent of venture-backed companies have a woman founder and fewer than one percent have an African-American founder. #FacesofFounders, which is sponsored by the Case Foundation, Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Google for Entrepreneurs, UBS, and Fast Company, hopes to catalyze the entrepreneurial inclusivity movement by shining a spotlight on successful American entrepreneurs who are defying stereotypes and blazing a pathway for others. In doing so, they hope to encourage greater numbers of people from groups that have been historically sidelined to begin their own entrepreneurial journeys.

They are currently asking entrepreneurs to join the movement by sharing your image and your story. Five entrepreneurs will be selected from the pool of applicants to be featured on  FastCompany.com.  

#FacesofFounders at SOCAP16

SOCAP16 attendees were treated to a sneak peak of the campaign before the official debut of FacesofFounders.org. Everyone who attended SOCAP16 was invited to their booth to share their story and have a headshot taken by a professional photographer.  
 


 
After the conference Jessica Zetzman of the Case Foundation told us that, “the overwhelming support and positivity from the SOCAP community helped to influence its launch. We are so happy that SOCAP could be a part of the process. Not only did many people at SOCAP lend their faces for the campaign (we took headshots for 226 people!), but we collected 25 stories at SOCAP from entrepreneurs who took time to sit down and write out their entrepreneurial journey for a chance to be featured in Fast Company.”

Since SOCAP16, the #FacesofFounders story booth has appeared at a number of notable events including the White House’s South By South Lawn (SXSL) festival, the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit, a Project Entrepreneur event at the New York Stock Exchange, and Google Demo Day: Women’s Edition.  

How to Participate

#FacesofFounders wants to hear real stories of how entrepreneurs are disrupting the status quo while overcoming the challenges faced by every entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs who have founded, exited, or are in the early ideas stages of founding a startup are encouraged to apply by answering the following three questions at FacesofFounders.org:

  • Tell us about your business. What problem is it trying to solve?
  • What has been the biggest obstacle in your entrepreneurship journey?
  • How do you or your business contribute to advancing inclusive entrepreneurship?

From the applications, reviewers will select five entrepreneurs whose stories epitomize an inclusive approach to entrepreneurship. 
The panel of reviewers will be looking for variety of criteria, including scalability and originality of the business model, the founder’s demonstrated level of motivation and passion for changemaking, and their venture’s potential to create jobs and build communities.

#FacesofFounders will accept applications from entrepreneurs until Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 3:00 pm ET. Apply Here. The five winners will be notified by late January 2017.

Learn More

Calling All Entrepreneurs – Share your photo & story for a chance to be featured in a sponsored story on FastCompany.com

 


All headshots in this article were taken at the #FacesofFounders photo booth at the Fort Mason Center during #SOCAP16.