10 SOCAP Scholarship Entrepreneurs Share About the Value of the Social Capital Markets Conference

Posted by on March 23rd, 2017

Now is the time to apply for the 2017 SOCAP Entrepreneur Scholarship. Every year hundreds of entrepreneurs from around the world apply for the SOCAP scholarship, from all sectors and stages of growth. This year up to 150 of the most innovative ventures will be selected to receive:

  • Free SOCAP17 full conference pass (valued at $1495)
  • Exclusive access to the Impact Accelerator @SOCAP
  • Hostel accommodations for the duration of the conference
  • Recognition and high visibility at SOCAP17

Year after year SOCAP scholarship awardees tell us that they received so much more than anything we can list in bullet points. We asked the 2016 class of entrepreneurs to tell us in their own words about the things they valued most about their SOCAP experience.

My SOCAP Experience

Of all the wonders of SOCAP, the most interesting is the entrepreneurs you will meet through the scholarship program. This is perhaps the most valuable yet undervalued aspect of the scholarship. Entrepreneurs are truly passionate about their work and learning about yours, they become a sounding board and resource throughout the rest of the weekend. Cuthbert A. Onikute, Dechets a l’Or

The entrepreneur scholarship was a fantastic experience for me – the insight I got from the speakers and my fellow entrepreneurs was super helpful in improving my pitch before I took it into the market. You can’t help but get better being in the same place with so many other smart, inspiring entrepreneurs. Mike Geddes, The Third Half

Attending SOCAP is a highly valuable experience for a variety of reasons. You…have access to thought leaders, investors, program administrators and entrepreneurs. As a result, you can take away new knowledge and perspectives on approaches to making social impact as well as for making your program attractive and beneficial. Ira Sockowitz, Learning Game Studios

It was a life changing experience, as we were able to understand how the capital markets work and the scale we can reach with our companies if we combine the right elements. Inspiring entrepreneurs already reaching millions of people, tons of connections and new friends from all around the World. Antonio Nuno, Someone Somewhere

As a sole founder, one can feel a bit isolated so I loved the opportunity to interact with so many entrepreneurs with similar goals and challenges! Naa-Sakle Akuete, Eu’Genia Shea

The SOCAP scholarship allowed me to affordably attend a world class conference and connect with mentors and other entrepreneurs. Eli Mitchell-Larson, Sun Farmer

Being an scholarship entrepreneur truly made the SOCAP experience great!  We were recognized by other participants, got to network with our peers, and got great tips to prepare for the conference. Afzal Habib, Kidogo

SOCAP ’16 was an incredible experience. TruClinic was given a great opportunity to expand our technology and impact to a global audience. I can’t wait to attend next year! Justin Kahn, TruClinic

Being a scholarship entrepreneur helped me forge lasting relationships with fellow mission-driven entrepreneurs. It’s great motivation to meet others working so hard to make a positive impact, and commiserate about the challenges of building a business that turns a profit and changes the world! The one-day accelerator really helped me make the most out of the rest of SOCAP. If you’re an entrepreneur thinking of coming to SOCAP, applying to be a SOCAP scholarship entrepreneur is really a no-brainer.” Cullen Schwarz, DoneGood

There were lots of accomplished social entrepreneurs and innovators who are working on projects or facing challenges similar to mine, presenting amazing opportunities to listen and learn. Sam Gwer, Ubuntu-Afya Project

Entrepreneurs: Ready to Join us at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco 2017?

Apply for a SOCAP Scholarship Here

If you know an innovative social entrepreneur that would benefit from the SOCAP Entrepreneur Scholarship, please share this information with them or encourage them to apply.

2017 Application Deadlines

The deadline to apply is June 1st for internationally based entrepreneurs who need an early decision (for visa application purposes). The final application deadline for all entrepreneurs is June 30th.

*Please note: Scholarship does not include travel expenses.

Announcing Early Scholarship Dates

Posted by on March 21st, 2017

In response to recent events, SOCAP is opening applications for the Entrepreneur Scholarship program earlier this year than ever before.

The early launch for scholarship applications will help give accepted international entrepreneurs and non-US citizens enough time to obtain visas to enter the United States. Now through June 1st, international applicants can apply for the SOCAP17 Entrepreneur Scholarship program for early consideration. For stateside applicants, the deadline is June 30, 2017. Accepted entrepreneurs will be notified in early July.

Since the first convening of SOCAP in 2008, 547 social entrepreneurs from 71 countries have received scholarships to attend SOCAP, coming from Asia, Europe, Africa, North, Central, and South America, and Australia. Last year SOCAP welcomed over 2,800 attendees, including 150 entrepreneur scholars from over 30 countries.


The Future of Social Capital Markets

“We prioritize support for inspiring entrepreneurs, as they are the future of the social capital markets,” said Lindsay Smalling, Producer and Curator of SOCAP.

Sam Gwer, a SOCAP16 scholarship entrepreneur from Nairobi, Kenya, traveled 19 hours to attend the program last year. He scheduled his visa appointment two months in advance, and paid extra to secure a 5-year visa with the option for future travel.

“I am not quite sure about the implication for visa applications [for 2017]  but I would advise that there is no loss in applying considering the likely gain in attending SOCAP17,” he said.

Gwer rated the overall SOCAP Scholarship experience as “highly valuable.”  

“There were lots of accomplished social entrepreneurs and innovators working on projects or facing challenges similar to mine, presenting amazing opportunities to listen and learn,” he said. In a follow up interview directly after the conference, he added that he had the chance to meet with potential investors, and make valuable connections.

“I made friendships that will last a lifetime,” said SOCAP16 entrepreneur scholar Isabel Rauh Hain, who attended the program from Mexico. Her top three takeaways from the scholarship included the realization that it’s possible to exponentially increase her impact; the opportunity to increase her mindset (“there are a lot impact investments and grants”); and seeing that impact businesses have the possibility of being very profitable.


Details & Application

Successful scholarship entrepreneurs are selected for their outstanding ideas, inspiring stories, and passion for creating sustainable business models. Up to 150 entrepreneurs will be awarded scholarships to SOCAP17, along with the following benefits:

  • Free SOCAP17 full conference pass (valued at $1495)
  • Impact Accelerator @SOCAP – tailored entrepreneur programming pre-conference
  • Hostel accommodations for the duration of the conference
  • Recognition and high visibility in the SOCAP program
  • Dedicated mentorship from notable impact leaders

Interested international applicants can apply at the following link now through June 1st, for early consideration: Application Form. For all other applicants, the deadline is June 30, 2017. Selected scholar entrepreneurs will be notified at the beginning of July.

SOCAP Conversations: Meghan French Dunbar of Conscious Company on the First BIG Global Leaders Forum & The Rise of Sustainable Business

Posted by on March 16th, 2017

Conscious Company Media’s mission is to make sustainable business the future of business.

The company’s remarkable growth has kept pace with the rapid rise of interest in sustainable business practices, social entrepreneurship, and conscious leadership. Conscious Company Magazine broke ground in 2015 as the first nationally distributed publication in the US to focus solely on sustainable business. Since then, the Certified B Corp has attracted widespread attention from readers and business leaders from across the spectrum.

In 2016 Conscious Company supported SOCAP as a media partner. The company has announced that, this June, they will join SOCAP as a convener. They are now organizing their first national event. From June 7 – 9, 2017, The Business Impact for Good (BIG): Conscious Company Global Leaders Forum will convene leaders from across the country at the San Francisco Impact Hub to discuss topics related to purpose at work, conscious leadership, and sustainable business. We recently sat down with Conscious Company Co-founder Meghan French Dunbar to talk about the importance of having a sense of purpose at work, the rise of “conscious leadership,” and the vision that inspired their upcoming event.


SOCAP: Conscious Company Magazine has been on stands for a little over two years now. Can you tell us about the developments you’ve seen since your first issue?

Meghan French Dunbar: When we were conceptualizing the publication in 2014, we were operating under the thesis that there was intense interest in this industry of conscious business and sustainable business and that it would soon start growing. My business partner (Maren Keeley) and I both did our MBAs with a focus on sustainability. We knew that there were graduate programs popping up all over the United States focusing on that.

With that first issue we put out, we got into every Whole Foods in the nation, which was a massive win for us. But we were curious about whether or not we would ever make it past Whole Foods. We weren’t sure we would be able to bridge the gap to more mainstream retailers. After that first issue sold really well, we got picked up by Barnes and Noble. It started selling well there. Since then, over the last two years, we’ve been picked up by Target and Kroger and HEB and Publix.

We are now seeing the trend that what we were hoping for, that more traditional business people are interested in learning about how sustainable business practices could really benefit their bottom line–what we are calling the conscious curious group. There has been a tremendous interest in the magazine itself as well as a yearning for more information beyond the magazine.

What inspired Conscious Company Media to become a convener, or the idea for your upcoming event, The Business Impact for Good (BIG) Forum?

The BIG Forum event in June will be our first national gathering. The impetus for becoming a convener was that, we noticed the magazine attracted leaders from almost all of the major industries in the sustainable business movement. They were all contributing. We had posts from Social Venture Network and Conscious Capitalism and B Lab and the American Sustainable Business Council and the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. In reading the magazine, industry groups were cross pollinating ideas with each other.

So we saw that this was happening through the vehicle of the magazine and we really wanted to understand how to take that to the next level. That is where the idea for the event came from: We are hoping to bring together all of these industry group leaders along with key influencers and business leaders who have come into our network through the publication of the magazine to really talk about how to make a broader impact working together rather than everyone working on their own causes in different silos.

What can people expect to see at your event? How are conversations going to be stimulated within the group?

We are unpacking the traditional conference model. While there still will be a focus on major keynote speakers who have a lot of insights to share, we are really going to be focusing on workshops, on small group work, and breakout sessions. The point of the event is really to get these people in the same room to collaborate—to stimulate dialogue between attendees. We are focusing on collaboration efforts and workshops to facilitate discussion that helps people get perspective and cross pollinate ideas.

The framework of the event, we are hoping, will set the stage. The three triads of conscious leadership that we are focusing on are: the personal work that we all need to do, the workplace development work that we all need to do, and the cause based work that we need to focus on externally outside of our businesses. Self, workplace, and world, that is how we are framing the different tiers of the event.

You have already announced a few of the facilitators and speakers who will be presenting at the conference, can you share some of the content you are most excited to see?

As we are pulling together the agenda, there are so many sessions that I am excited about–honestly, all of them. Sessions will cover everything from Mandy Cabot (the Co-founder and CEO of Dansko) talking about workplace culture, and mindfulness to experts in workplace development, such as Cory Smith (Co-founder and CEO of Wisdom Labs) and Marc Lesser (CEO of Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute), to Robert Egger (the Founder and President of L.A. Kitchen) who focuses on cause-based work and figuring out how to have a larger impact on the world through the work that you do. And Chinwe Onyeagoro, President of Great Place to Work US, will lead a deep dive conversation into how to create a great place to work. It is exciting, across the board, including a few folks that I’m not allowed to name yet along with some large cap companies that are coming down the pipe.

What are you hoping to catalyze through this summit? What are some of the major takeaways you are hoping for?

We are really hoping to demonstrate that making change in the world starts at the individual level. By bringing all these leaders into the same place at the same time we hope to stimulate discussions around how important it is to embody conscious leadership, and how big of an impact that can create. Broadening out from there, helping anyone who hopes to create a big impact with their business, see how important it is to start by making the culture at your organization sustainable and driven by purpose so that employees can come to work every day feeling happy, healthy, and fulfilled. That you understand how impactful wellbeing in the workplace is–because they take that home and out into their communities.

And then the larger, the big impact piece of not only what you can do as a sustainable or conscious business, but how the product you create or the workplace culture you create, of how impactful it could be if we all started thinking about broader cause initiatives and how business can be used as a tool for advocacy. We are really hoping to highlight some of the best of the best examples, because we have seen so many business leaders come out as advocates, and really use this platform as business leaders to really effect change on a specific cause whether that be environmental protection or immigration rights or women’s rights or economic inclusion. We really hope that these great examples of advocacy will really inspire business leaders, that outside of what they are doing on a day to day basis, to really think about the causes that they truly want to have an impact on and start thinking about the next step on how to effect change as a business leader outside your company.

Business Impact for Good (BIG): The Conscious Company Global Leaders Forum will take place in at the newly renovated Impact Hub in downtown San Francisco, CA June 7 – 9, 2017. For more information visit https://consciouscompanymedia.com/forum/
Meghan French Dunbar is Co-founder of Conscious Company Media and Editor-in-chieftess of Conscious Company Magazine. Prior to launching CCM, Ms. French Dunbar was Managing Editor of two nationally distributed publications and spent nearly a decade in strategy development and project management in the nonprofit world.

Notes on Movement Building from a Convener

Posted by on March 16th, 2017

By Kevin Jones

Movements happen when people who thought they were alone discover valuable strangers who become unlikely allies. I am flying to Armenia tomorrow to keynote the Impact Investing for Development Summit (IID) convened by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and knowledge partner INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Initiative. The Summit will bring together development agencies, sovereign funds from the Nordics, Eastern European and Middle Eastern impact investors so that development practitioners can figure out how to work seriously with impact investors. The reality of climate change and societal risk has led IID Summit participants to recognize that public funds and philanthropic funds are not enough to handle the task.

At the same time, we at SOCAP are convening a session in June in Manhattan to see what it will take to integrate impact investing with Wall Street at scale. That initiative, The Good Capital Project, (GCP) will be a two year online mapping project that will convene people from Wall Street, the financial sector, impact investing and the social capital market to catalyze collaboration and accelerate capital flows into purpose driven investments. After our first meeting in June, GCP participants will convene again at SOCAP in San Francisco in October, and on other event platforms as the participants require. These people may have never worked together before GPC, but SOCAP’s secret sauce is bringing the people out of their tents at the oasis; valuable strangers discovering they can be unlikely allies. Movement building, even among strangers, is right up our alley.

SOCAP News: SOCAP Group Announces The Good Capital Project, Expands Vision with New Leadership and Capital

Posted by on March 13th, 2017

SOCAP, is proud to announce it will be spinning out of its former MissionHUB LLC ownership. Earlier this year, Robert J. Caruso, Founder & Managing Partner of Kantian Social Ventures led the investment round with a group of mission aligned impact investors and innovators to allow SOCAP to independently ramp up its efforts to spread awareness of market based solutions to the world’s greatest challenges, curate thought-leadership in the space, and educate impact market participants. SOCAP will begin expanding its brand reach to larger, more mainstream audiences and enhance its consumer engagement practices to help bring impact investing into the mainstream consciousness.

SOCAP was founded by a small group of entrepreneurs who were committed to accelerating a new global market at the intersection of money and meaning. When this passionate group of collaborators, including Rosa Lee Harden, Kevin Jones, and Tim Freundlich, co-founded SOCAP, assets managed through responsible, sustainable or impact approaches were fringe and disparate. Today, over $8.7 trillion in assets are managed through these approaches globally.

We are proud to be a pioneer of the impact investing industry and the largest convener in the space. SOCAP’s place has always been in the vanguard of the emerging global impact economy – convening ideas and capital to catalyze world change.  

Rosa Lee Harden will continue in her role as SOCAP’s Executive Producer, Kevin Jones as Convener, Lindsay Smalling as Producer and Curator, and Jamie McGonnigal as Director of Business Development.

Our annual flagship SOCAP conference in San Francisco will celebrate its 10th convening this October. We look forward to celebrating many more milestones in the future of our flagship event while building upon its successes and expanding our reach to bring impact investing into wider mainstream consciousness globally.

SOCAP is also thrilled to announce the first initiative of the new SOCAP partnership will be The Good Capital Project, an integral step in evolving impact investment from an emerging industry into mainstream practice. Through a new design thinking process, the aim of the Good Capital Project is to convene all constituents within impact investing and the social capital market to drive greater collaboration and accelerate capital flows into purpose driven investments.

Rosa Lee said of the new partnership, “SOCAP is proud of the role we have played as the leading convener within the impact space, but we know that until we begin bringing in more influential figures from the sphere of mainstream finance, that we aren’t going to make the kind of positive impact in the world that we want and need to make. We are excited about this partnership and the greater impact we will create together.”

“In many ways, SOCAP’s mission to be at the intersection of money and meaning is even truer and more important today, in a world in which impact investing is emerging into the mainstream and grapples with how to generate innovative and sustainable solutions to align the capital markets with the human needs of tomorrow. With the additional expertise, growth capital and partnerships, we are confident that SOCAP is the brand to guide our industry’s next decades,” said Bob Caruso.

“John Morris’ invaluable advice and V2V Associates’ year of work on investment design strategy lead to the investment opportunity with Kantian Social Ventures and we look forward to their ongoing involvement,” added Tim Freundlich, Co-founder and Chairman of Mission Hub LLC.

Join us at the launch of The Good Capital Project during our one day event in New York City on June 19th, 2017 to be held at Convene, Midtown East on Third Avenue.

Get tickets for the The Good Capital Project launch in NYC.

Get your SOCAP17 tickets to join the Social Capital Markets community at the Fort Mason Center October 10 – 13, 2017.