Imagine being in a place where people speak to your mind: same wordings, social challenges, values, aspirations, investments, and purposes. Imagine meeting, sharing, connecting, and learning from key actors and stakeholders — social entrepreneurs, decisionmakers, investors, accelerators, activists — about social innovation, impact investing, gender lens, sustainability, Technology for Good, and so many other human-centric and impact-driven areas. All that took place between 22 – 25 October 2019 at the beautiful Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. SOCAP 2019 (Social Capital Markets “At the Intersection of Money + Meaning”) is the vanguard of the emerging global impact economy, convening ideas and capital to catalyze world change. With over 3,000 attendees, SOCAP brings together a network of impact investors, world-class entrepreneurs, innovative cross-sector practitioners, and social impact leaders to address the world’s toughest challenges through market-based solutions and increase the flow of capital toward social good.
The first day was a full and exclusive session “Accelerating the Accelerators”, co-facilitated by Avary Kent, Executive Director of Conveners.org and Pamela Roussos, Chief Community Officer, Miller Center, to explore best practices for impact accelerators. It was a great opportunity to learn about other programs, find out more about new best practice materials, and build from commons goals and challenges — all while creating a synergy between the ecosystem stakeholders, both locally and globally.
The next days were a great opportunity to connect, learn and share through sessions, workshops, and side connections about social innovation, impact investing, women’s empowerment, Technology for Good — gathering and connecting social entrepreneurs, decision-makers, and investors from a wide spectrum of international organizations: entrepreneurs, governments, accelerators, NGOs, think tanks, community organizations, and more.
We learn from shared information, projects, and initiatives. However, we get inspired by shared stories and experiences. For the rest of my life, I will keep in mind so many discussions: a social enterprise in India making education fun and impactful for kids; a $10 million fundraising journey from a young woman entrepreneur; a serial entrepreneur (actually a VC) investing in raising startups because, in his words, it’s better than buying a Ferrari; mentors from the Bay Area sharing their knowledge and experiences with seed entrepreneurs; and so many other human connections and interactions.
As an Atlas Corps Fellow with Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, focused on their Women’s Economic Empowerment initiative, SOCAP 2019 was the greatest starting point that I could have had. And, on top of that, it was an incredible immersion into the network of social innovation stakeholders and decision-makers in the Bay Area and from around the world.
It is just the starting point! I’m looking forward to an infinite journey of serving, learning, sharing, connecting, and growing, directly with my host organization Miller Center with their large network of mentors, SEs, fellows and partners, and also with organizations and people in the Bay Area and beyond.