In the emerging field of social innovation there are a plethora of conferences here and abroad. Some are better than others. One that I am particularly looking forward to is September’s Social Capital Markets conference in San Francisco. This is only the second year of the conference, which brings together social investors, foundations, social entrepreneurs, social venture funds and others interested in expanding the capital available to social entrepreneurs.
In the inaugural conference last year, 600 people from 26 countries attended. In fact, there was a last minute rush of conference registrations shortly after the financial market collapse, painting an interesting picture of traditional finance migrating to social finance.
The purpose of the conference is to create “a new kind of capital market, a new way of doing business that takes into account people, planet and profit.” In essence they are attempting to build momentum and action around creating a capital marketplace for social good–financial vehicles for social entrepreneurs both profit and nonprofit.
Whereas last year’s conference focused mainly on for profit social entrepreneurs, this year’s conference is adding some sessions on what conference founder Kevin Jones calls “our nonprofit cousins.” For example, the opening keynote address will be about how the Obama Administration and its Office of Social Innovation is working to scale high-functioning non-profit organizations to create change. And I’m even getting into the game by moderating a panel about some of the capital tools nonprofit social entrepreneurs have used to go to scale.
I think SoCap provides an excellent venue for bringing all of those working towards expanding the capital available to social entrepreneurs together. My hope is that this conference goes beyond great examples and great networking and actually helps make more money available to social entrepreneurs, whether they are creating profit or not.
If you are interested in the social capital market space, you don’t want to miss this conference.