By Joanne Sonenshine, Founder + CEO of Connective Impact
Overlooking the beautiful blue bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, I spent three days learning from, talking to and being inspired by social entrepreneurs, impact investors, funders of all kinds, technical experts in a number of different issue areas, NGOs, and so many others who came together to think through tough questions and begin developing collaborative solutions to some of the worlds biggest challenges.
I was a first timer, among hundreds of others who had heard about the powerhouses that attend this conference each year, knowing not what to expect. Truthfully I thought the conference may be attended mostly by braggadocious investor types simply looking to make a buck off of budding entrepreneurs who claim to be doing “good” at the same time.
Wow was I wrong!
The reality of SOCAP was completely the opposite of any preconceived notions that this was simply a boondoggle for venture capitalists. I can’t recall a conference more full of intellectuals, idea generators, creative provocateurs or problem solvers. I prepared for SOCAP with many questions. I left with some answers, and many examples of amazing work that independently could be world changing, and yet collectively, with all other ideas permeating through the conference, could be paradigm shifting.
What questions did I have to begin with?
What did I learn?
I could have attended every session offered at SOCAP and still not have taken advantage of all the knowledge and creativity that was clearly abundant among the 3000+ attendees. I barely made it to the sessions I had planned to attend, and even then, spent much of the sessions among the standing room only crowds trying to absorb what they could. Some sessions were high level and barely scratched the surface of what organizations are doing, and others had more granular approaches. Examples of the dynamic ideas I heard about included:
There were also several big funding announcements including:
I have no doubt that world changing action is ahead.
Joanne Sonenshine Is Founder + CEO of Connective Impact, a partnership advisory firm providing structure and methods to mission-driven, socially and environmentally-conscious companies to aid in effective collaboration for lasting impact.
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