Experience a forum for social entrepreneurs to tell their stories and directly connect with the incredible resources and people at the conference. This track will feature four pitch sessions, each consisting of four entrepreneurs. Outstanding entrepreneurs were presented to us through our partner social enterprise accelerator programs, and we have chosen the best of the best. These individuals will be presenting to a panel of four esteemed practitioners in impact investing who are challenged not to find holes in the presentations, but to compete to offer real, tangible support to help the entrepreneurs reach their goals.
INTRODUCING TRACK CURATORS: JENNIFER NICE & SUZANNE BIEGEL
Jennifer has worked to advance the socially responsible investment category for the past eleven years. She currently works on strategic initiatives with Good Capital, a venture capital firm focused on expansion stages social enterprise, Hub Bay Area, a co working space tied to a global network dedicated to scaling social enterprise and Impact Assets, a non profit financial firm focused on field building and product development to drive more capital to impact investing. Previously, Jennifer worked to develop new distribution channels for The Women’s Equity Mutual Fund and during her tenure also pursued the launch of a new institutional fund targeting Community Development investments. Jennifer has worked on developing private placements that have targeted a variety of categories including clean tech and microfinance and has also been active in the creation of Donor Advised Fund Programs with foundations and individuals that highlight impact investing.
Suzanne’s role as moderator for the entrepreneur pitch sessions combines one part host, one part catalyst, and one part speed-yenta. She will be holding the space for the pitching entrepreneurs to shine, and working with the mentors and audience to generate suggestions, insights, and connections to help the entrepreneurs to move forward. She and the terrific set of mentors will also choose one entrepreneur per pitch session to present at the closing plenary each day. Suzanne has been facilitating pitch sessions of all kinds for over 8 years, from venture fairs for the impact angel network Investors’ Circle (where she is on the Advisory Board), to showcases of high growth social enterprises for the Social Impact Exchange, the Funding Network in the UK, Go Beyond business angel network in Europe, Aspen Institute, and others. As an active investor, past entrepreneur, fundraiser, board-member, and adviser, Suzanne always brings a blend of enthusiasm, empathy and engagement to her role as a host.
The New Seed Funds: Filling the Gap in Early-Stage Impact Investing
Join us for this brief Entrepreneur Track kickoff panel to hear about innovative approaches to filling the gap in seed funding for early-stage social ventures. We’ll hear from leading organizations that are providing capital, technical assistance, and other support services to accelerate high potential social entrepreneurs in a variety of sectors and geographies.
Presenters: Fund Managers from five Impact Funds
Organizers: Michael Whelchel & Shawn Lesser, Watershed Capital Group
This is a private, invitation-only event. Five impact funds ranging from microfinance, to real estate to cleantech will outline their management team and selection strategy for for qualified, accredited attendees.
A toy business founded to address unemployment, under-utilized natural and human resources and the need for entrepreneurship in Honduras; a crowd-funding platform that enables you to invest in farmers and artisans behind products that do good for the world; a social enterprise providing retail price opportunities to micro and small market products in Brazilian communities; and a business model operating like a global farmer’s market, connecting organic farmers in Latin America directly to you. Hear from these social entrepreneurs as they pitch their take on sustainability within the consumer products and services industry. Each presenter will receive on-the-spot support from mentors who will commit to providing tangible resources, offer network connections and give concrete advice.
Food & Education
Hear social entrepreneurs present their solutions to issues in food and education. From mindful meat consumption and ensuring that rice farmers in Mali do not go hungry, to bringing affordable healthy foods and education to urban food deserts, to web-based software that enables teachers to use data to improve student performance. Then witness mentors sharing tangible resources, offering network connections and giving concrete advice on-the-spot.
Scarcity & Resilience
Social entrepreneurs present their work in areas as diverse as water sanitation, information access as a human right, sustainable sanitation systems in urban slums, and affordable eco-housing solutions, with particular focus in Africa and Latin America. However, all are united in their focus on improving access to basic human needs. Each presenter will receive on-the-spot support from mentors who will commit to providing tangible resources, offer network connections and give concrete advice.
Energy & Technology
Energy and technology are hot industries right now, especially in how they are leveraged for social issues. Using smartphones to determine a person’s vision prescription on the spot, developing bio-based industrial lubricants and greases, providing turn-key solar energy solutions for homes and businesses, and creating low-cost and effective solar solutions to meet the basic energy demands of some of Guatemala’s poorest citizens – these are the solutions that you will see presented by the social entrepreneurs who have built them. Then witness mentors provide tangible resources, offer network connections and give concrete advice on-the-spot.