Archive for the ‘Social Entrepreneurs’ Category

SOCAP16 Daily Highlights – Thursday

September 15th, 2016

It is the second full day of the conference at the intersection of money and meaning and momentum is building. Here is some of the amazing programming that will be happening around the SOCAP16 campus today.


Thursday Morning Plenary

Come to this morning’s plenary to hear from established leaders and emerging voices from the worlds of impact investing and social enterprise on new pathways being blazed in the areas of cleantech, equity and inclusion, and sustainable supply chains.

  • Ross Baird, Executive Director Village Capital
  • Ashara Ekundayo, M.A. Co-Founder, Chief Creative Officer Impact Hub Oakland
  • Kevin Jones, Convener, SOCAP
  • Dawn Lippert, Director, Energy Excelerator
  • Deval Patrick, Managing Director, Bain Capital Double Impact
  • Rick Ridgeway, VP of Public Engagement, Patagonia
  • Garima Sahai, Co founder & CEO, Svadha WASH Private Limited
  • Jim Shelton, President, Chan Zuckerberg Education
  • Reuben Teague, Director, Prudential
  • Monique Villa, CEO, Thomson Reuters Foundation

LATAM@SOCAP16 Investment Roundtables

Agora Partnerships will be hosting Investment Roundtables for 11 high-growth entrepreneurial leaders who are creating social and environmental impact in Latin America and the Caribbean. All entrepreneurs participating in the Investment Roundtables at LATAM@SOCAP are graduates of the 2016 Agora Accelerator.

Investors are invited to sign up to join a small group of other interested investors to participate in a one hour intimate discussion with an entrepreneur facilitated by Agora. Sessions will be taking place between 9:30 AM and 4:30 PM. Investors will receive an overview of the business and impact models, growth and operations strategy, as well as capital needed to achieve their vision.

Learn more or register for the LATAM@SOCAP16 Investment Roundtables.

Wine Down and Local Meetup

Thursday Wine Down from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM. This on-site happy hour is hosted by Impact Hub and SOCAP 365. Connect with fellow attendees from your local community or use Pathable to organize your own.

Meet the SOCENTs of SOCAP

If you have not yet had the opportunity to get to know some of the entrepreneurs that have come to SOCAP from around the world, make sure to visit the Big Top Tent today. There you can see samples and purchase products from the Innovation Showcase and Marketplace. The #SOCENT Central lounge in the Big Top features a lounge and seating area for conversations as well as profiles of over 150 SOCAP Scholarship Entrepreneurs.

Final Day for Free Headshots

If you have not stopped by the Faces of Founders SOCAP Photo Booth in Festival Pavilion, visit between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM today to share your story and get your headshot taken. The Case Foundation and Blackstone Charitable Foundation are sponsoring this booth and the new Faces of Founders campaign to help make entrepreneurship more inclusive.

To learn more about efforts to level the playing field for all entrepreneurs attend the session Am I an Entrepreneur? Challenging the Stereotypes on the Festival mainstage at 4:00 PM. Speakers include Sheila Herrling, SVP of Social Innovation from the Case Foundation, Blackstone Charitable Foundation, 500 Startups and Zuvaa African Fashion.

Live Demo of the Measure What Matters B Impact Assessment Tool

For those who are interested in impact measurement or currently using the B Impact Assessment Tool, Come to C230 today between 4 PM and 5 PM to see a live demo of the latest version of the most widely used impact management tool. This tool is funded by the impact community and is used to create high quality jobs, strengthen communities, and preserve the environment. Speakers include Kate Ahern, Director, ESG and Communications, Bain Capital; Eric Edelson, CEO, Fireclay Tile; Carla Heim, Senior Advisor Social Entrepreneurship, BDC; and Hardik Savalia, Program Manager, B Lab.

Thursday Self Organized Community Discussions

OpenInvest Beta Launch Lunch 12 PM to 1 PM at Festival Pavilion Yellow Tables

Impact Investor Lunch 12:15 PM to 1:15 PM at the Big Top Tent

Mobile Technology in Africa and Asia 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM at the General’s Residence.

Find out more information on these community discussions on Pathable or speak to the Host to add your own.

New Conference Session: Entrepreneur Pitches Live at SOCAP16

September 6th, 2016

SOCAP16 attendees are invited to attend an inspiring and fast-paced new offering, Entrepreneur Pitch Sessions live at SOCAP. The Social Capital Markets Conference brings the marketplace of investors, entrepreneurs, and intermediaries together in one place to connect, and we want to make the most of being together in person. The Entrepreneur Pitch Sessions at SOCAP16 are designed to elevate the great work of entrepreneurs from around the world and facilitate valuable connections to partners and investors with aligned values.

socap ents

Like What You Hear? Connect with Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs will deliver their pitches in groups divided by sector. Sectors represented include community development, health, education, technology, energy, and environment. Individual entrepreneurs will be given four minutes each to pitch their ventures. After the presentations, all of the entrepreneurs from that sector will move over to the Big Top Tent to take questions, receive mentorship, and continue the conversation.

We encourage you to share your support and encouragement for these innovators making a difference on the frontlines of impact!

Presenting Entrepreneurs  

These entrepreneurs were invited to pitch out of the 150 total scholarship entrepreneurs to represent a diverse range of solutions within these sectors based on the ingenuity of their ventures, their specific product or service, and geographic focus.

Community Development

Bruno Lima,

Gabriela Rocha, Laboratoria

Brendon Brewster, Veerhouse Voda

Samuel Pressler, Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP)

Jessica Mayberry, Video Volunteers


Carolina Salamanca, Baby Faves Organics

Josue Daniel Nuñez Valdivieso, Nutrishake Andino

Catherine Flatley, Develop Link

Brittany Dejean, AbleThrive

Asher Hasan, Naya Jeevan

Sunny Williams, Tiny Docs


Joaquin Alejandro Viquez Arias, Viogaz

Arine de Bordes, Purasol Vida Natural

Morgan Babbs, Colibri

Jessica De Clerck, Potential Energy


Sebastian Sajoux, Arq Lite

Sarah Toumi, Acacias for All

Pedro Delgado, Aguainc

Patricia Griffin, Inagape Limited

Yvette Ondachi, Ojay Greene


Julio Alvarez, Promesa

Afzal Habib, Kidogo

John Roberts, InvestED

Cecilia Foxworthy, Torus Teens


Rosario Monteverde, GPSGAY

Marcelo Wilkorwsky, Oincs

Andres Luongo, allGreenup

Xiaoyuan Ren, MyH2O

Bessie Schwarz, Cloud to Street


Wednesday, September 14th from 2:30pm to 6pm – add these sessions to your schedule on Pathable:

Community Development and Health

Environment and Energy

Education and Technology


Pitch Sessions will take place in Gallery 308 at Fort Mason in San Francisco, CA. Follow up conversations will take place in the adjacent Gallery Tent immediately following the pitches.

Don’t Miss the Pitches!

The Entrepreneur Pitch Sessions at SOCAP16 are only open to registered attendees. The conference will kick off Tuesday, September 13 so don’t delay. Get your SOCAP16 tickets here.

How to Prepare for SOCAP16: Tips for Attendees

September 6th, 2016

SOCAP is a microcosm of the global changemaking community—a gathering place for  innovators, dreamers, thinkers and doers who are using business as a force for social and environmental change. The experience at SOCAP can feel a bit overwhelming, but there are steps you can take now that will help you feel more confident, relaxed, and productive during your time at the conference.  


Whether you are a SOCAP first-timer or a veteran attendee, this guide will provide helpful tips and resources so you can hit the ground running on the very first day of the conference.


Activate your Pathable profile and use it to start connecting to the SOCAP community and plan your SOCAP16 schedule. This online tool is where you can find the conference schedule online, learn about your fellow attendees and speakers, set up meetings, start discussions and make connections. To learn more, read SOCAP Pro Tip: Start Networking Before the Conference.

SOCAP16 Program Book

The SOCAP16 Program Book is now available online. The program book contains maps of the campus, a full schedule, descriptions of sessions, information about our sponsors, special programs and networking events, as well as lots of other valuable information about the conference experience. Note: Pathable is the easiest way to view the full schedule with descriptions.

Tips From the Conveners

In their welcome address in the SOCAP16 program book, SOCAP Convener Kevin Jones and Executive Producer Rosa Lee Harden gave this bit of advice to conference attendees,

“If you’re a first-timer—as about 30% are every year—seek out a scholarshipped entrepreneur and get them to tell you their story. If you’re an old hand, well, you know what to do. You probably have dozens of meetings set up with people you might only see once a year, and you have things to get done. Be sure to also make time to welcome the newcomers. They may be the ones you didn’t know you needed to meet.”

Producer and Curator Lindsay Smalling offers this piece of advice, “While at SOCAP16, I encourage you to actively support a cultural shift toward inclusive networks—pause and notice who is around the table, who is in the conversation, and whether our networks represent the relevant perspectives needed to create the world we want to live in.”

If you’re a first-timer—as about 30% are every year—seek out a scholarshipped entrepreneur and get them to tell you their story. If you’re an old hand, well, you know what to do. You probably have dozens of meetings set up with people you might only see once a year, and you have things to get done. Be sure to also make time to welcome the newcomers. They may be the ones you didn’t know you needed to meet.

How to Get the Most Out of SOCAP Sessions

On the opening night of the conference, at 3pm on Tuesday, September 13th, all first time attendees (repeat attendees can also benefit!) are invited to the session on the Festival Main Stage, Getting the Most from Your SOCAP Experience. This session will offer an overview of SOCAP16 programming and venues, tools to help you navigate, best practices for connecting to valuable strangers, as well as tips on how to maximize your time and align your activity to get the most out of SOCAP.

To see last year’s panel, watch SOCAP15 – Getting the Most from Your SOCAP Experience. In that session, SOCAP organizers and alums, including Village Capital Executive Director Ross Baird, offer their advice for navigating the conference and connecting with members of the SOCAP community.

Fran Seegull’s Tips for Investors

In her interview for our SOCAP Conversations blog series, Chief Investment Officer and Managing Director at ImpactAssets Fran Seegull offered tips for how investors can be prepared to get the most out of SOCAP.

“It is so tempting to attend the SOCAP sessions that are directly relevant to your interests and professional situation—for investors to go only to the impact investing track, for example. That is fine, but what I recommend is to pick a couple of wildcard sessions, topics that you don’t know much about, sessions that maybe aren’t directly related to your job or your objective (like raising capital). Mixing it up can really be a terrific way to meet new people and spur new ideas.

“Don’t always sit with the same people at meals. SOCAP can be overwhelming, and it is human nature to flock to the folks you know, to use them unconsciously as your social life raft. But the beautiful thing about SOCAP is that the community is really open. So try sitting with different people at every meal and engage them in a dialogue.

“In part, I use SOCAP for professional ‘speed dating.’ I live in Los Angeles. There are some impact investors and fund managers who come through LA, but I don’t see nearly as many as if I worked at the Impact Hub in San Francisco. So I use SOCAP as a way of convening with folks with whom I have phone or email relationships, but have never met or rarely meet in person. I schedule and conduct 20–30 minute meetings with fund managers and others. So, I supplement the content of SOCAP with the community at SOCAP which I highly recommend.”

Tips For Entrepreneurs

SOCAP alum and entrepreneur Minhaj Chowdhury wrote a guest post in 2015, How to Get the Most out of SOCAP: 4 Tips for Entrepreneurs, which includes the advice,

“Spend some time getting to know your cohort members and other entrepreneurs … I would really encourage you not to automatically move on when you encounter someone with an entrepreneur badge. Talking to other entrepreneurs has really changed our trajectory. We’ve met a lot of our customers and our franchisees at conferences. I found a customer at SOCAP last year that allowed us to expand to Bihar. That wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t taken the time to talk to other entrepreneurs. I’ve actually learned more from other entrepreneurs than I have from investors because of the overlapping challenges that we have.”

Create Your Own SOCAP Community Discussion

What conversation would you like to have at SOCAP? If you have an interest that is not reflected in this year’s programming, and would like lead a conversation with like-minded attendees about that subject, we will help you create your own discussion group during the event. Take your idea to the SOCAP host station in the front of Festival Pavilion. Let them know about your idea and set a time and a place to meet. The host will help you add the information about the meeting and topic on Pathable. Talk to a host to learn more about this opportunity!

You Need Capital for Your Growing Social Venture. What Now?

August 30th, 2016

By Kyle Munn

At the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE), we’re obsessed with one question: How do social entrepreneurs leap the chasm from idea to sustainable impact at scale? Based at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, CASE has been tackling this and related questions for the past 15 years. We are proud to be a partner organization with SOCAP16, helping to foster an ecosystem of social impact.


The Challenges of Raising “Smart” Capital  

Social entrepreneurs are busy people with many competing claims on their time. Raising capital can demand an overwhelming amount of this time, and yet many entrepreneurs end up with capital that is not a great fit for their business’s growth and/or impact.

We at the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) have heard from hundreds of social entrepreneurs that they crave the opportunity to learn how to be more targeted and successful in raising capital and scaling their impact. The challenges of identifying the right investors, communicating the right balance of information, and analyzing investment offers are ones that all social entrepreneurs need to address to raise capital that is “smart” for their ventures.

Traditional accelerator programs for social ventures strive to address many of these challenges, but are often constrained themselves. Accelerators are typically short-term and have a more general focus, but entrepreneurs’ needs and opportunities are constantly changing. We hear from accelerators that their ability to respond to just-in-time entrepreneur needs, and to provide the right expertise at the right time, is often limited.

To address these challenges, and to complement the important work of accelerator programs, CASE began development of CASE Smart Impact CapitalTM, a series of online training modules that take the lessons learned from 15 years of work with investors and social entrepreneurs around the world to address the needs and pitfalls social ventures face when seeking investment capital. The modules are designed to be entrepreneur-friendly – straightforward, flexible, and with frameworks and tools that lead to actionable decision making.

Smart Impact Capital™ modules

The modules are designed to allow users to access exactly the information they need in the moment, rather than following a linear curriculum. Not sure whether equity or debt is right for your company? The Calculating Your Funding Gap module walks you through the process of building your cash model and calculating your funding gap, and the Scenario Planning module lets you see the effects of different types of capital on your bottom line. How do you balance business growth and impact evidence when speaking to investors? Our Articulating Strategy to Investors and Motivations of Capital Providers modules give you tools to speak about both dimensions and insight into the right balance you should strike for different audiences.

SIC modules

In total, nine modules walk entrepreneurs through the core tactics needed to be successful when raising “smart” capital. Over the past few months we have invited a number of social entrepreneurs, impact investors, and other intermediaries to beta test the first two modules; the overwhelmingly positive response we received validates the need for these tools.

“I usually am a bit jittery about getting involved in online or remote kinds of training because of the lack of interpersonal communication. This was amazing. I could do it at my own pace,” said Sam Gwer, cofounder of Kenyan social venture Afya Research, of his recent experience beta testing the modules with his management team.

“You could think about growth and your financials from the unit perspective and from the whole organizational perspective,” explains Sam. “I keep on getting feedback that some of our unit managers who are still using [the financials spreadsheet]. And they say that this thing works so well because they can just change a figure here and see what that impacts on the whole growth experience.”

Soon we will be launching the new CASE Smart Impact CapitalTM platform with the opportunity to explore elements of the modules and see how they could benefit your accelerator program or social venture. We invite you to visit after September 15th, or to sign up for announcements on the release of the new platform on our interim site. You can also follow CASE on Twitter and Facebook.


SEAD_SMYP_2015_0184Kyle Munn is the Program Coordinator for Communications and Marketing at CASE. Before coming to Duke University, Kyle was an ESL instructor with the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme where she also served as a community outreach coordinator for AJET in Shiga Prefecture. You can follow her on Twitter.


Uncharted: Lessons in Scaling Globally–Our Process and What We Learned Along the Way

August 17th, 2016

A SOCAP guest post by Banks Benitez of Uncharted

The team and participants from a Global Lab powered by Uncharted in Kabul, Afghanistan

“How do we scale this thing globally?” This was the question we circulated around the six- person Uncharted team in 2014. Uncharted is an accelerator for entrepreneurs trying to solve the world’s most difficult challenges. We identify the world’s boldest, most innovative entrepreneurs and help them scale their businesses by providing intensive 6-week-long boot camps where entrepreneurs can connect with world-class mentors and investors. Every year we run one accelerator for 10-15 entrepreneurs, but there were thousands of other entrepreneurs from every corner of the world who were committed to solving major social and environmental problems. We were anxious to help more of them…hence the question: How do we scale this thing globally? How could a small organization with a small team and a small budget – based in a small office in Boulder, Colorado – go big?

We didn’t know how to scale, so we started talking to everyone. Experts, mentors, friends, our parents, and we eventually learned a very obvious lesson: there is no one right way to scale. And so we decided that we would learn how to scale…by scaling. We would just start trying and in the process, we’d eventually, maybe, if we were lucky, fingers crossed, figure it out. Here is what we did and what we learned:

What We Did

A session at the Lab in Ghana

Because we didn’t know what we didn’t know, we were skeptical about developing a bold strategy before we eased our way into it. We’ve learned that strategy is best when done inductively, meaning when it grows organically out of what the market tells us. Rapid prototyping expert, Tom Chi, says something similar when it comes to strategy: “It’s quite difficult to do [strategy] outside of an experimental context that challenges/validates and constantly evolves and improves what constitutes the strategy.” That’s basically how we started to scale: created an experimental context that slowly is molding itself into a strategy (still to this day).

Instead of doing an exact replication of our model (6-week-long boot camps that require a 5-6-person full-time team), we decided to launch a one-week-long trial version, what we called an Uncharted Lab, around the world in multiple countries simultaneously. An Uncharted Lab was a miniature version of our full-scale accelerator, but it could be planned and executed within 3-4 months by a local team on the ground. Our plan was to find a strong local team with experience in entrepreneurship and acceleration, give them an “accelerator in a box” with all of our curriculum, resources, best-practices, and templates, provide omnipresent HQ support over Skype and Slack, and then set them loose to launch these “laboratories” of experimentation on how to scale.

A snapshot from Unreasonable New Zealand.

A snapshot from the Lab in New Zealand.

The hypothesis was that Labs would serve as an important, and quick, bellwether of market readiness: what is the entrepreneurial ecosystem like? Are there enough entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, partners, etc.? Is the market untapped or saturated with accelerators? Most importantly, is the team we’re partnering with the right team to run longer Uncharted programs in the future? Running multiple Labs would also give us more opportunities to “practice” scaling; we would be able to figure out what support local teams needed, what our value proposition was for these teams, and where our blind spots were.

Nearly two years later, we’ve launched 22 Labs in 16 countries in 6 continents, accelerating over 250 entrepreneurs. Some Labs have been truly extraordinary, better programs than we ourselves have ever run, and we’ve taken careful notes on what makes them so good. Other Labs have been utter failures and we’ve taken even more careful notes to understand the limitations of our support and our selection process. Some Labs are advancing to launch long-term, full-scale Uncharted Institutes in their region, which was the goal all along.

We’re not there yet. We’re approaching the next frontier of unknowns about how to scale, but here are three key learnings that might help other ventures that want to scale but don’t know how.

What We Learned

  • Optimize around rate of learning: Steve Blank says that “a startup is a temporary organization in search of a repeatable model.” Arriving at a repeatable model requires testing, learning, revising, and testing again. One question that was helpful for us: what are the biggest unknowns when it comes to scaling and how we can we design a quick, temporary experiment to validate/invalidate them?
  • Pursue incrementalism: Hold loosely to assumptions and models and what’s worked in the past and tightly to a commitment to respond to what the market tells you. Steve Blank, again, says “No business plan survives first contact with customers.” One question that was helpful for us: Based on all of this learning from dozens of Labs around the world, what is the signal and what is the noise? What should we be paying attention to that can inform our next step and our future strategy?
  • Get out of the way: For us, scaling meant determining where we were a bottleneck and where our greatest points of leverage were to equip other people to help us achieve our mission. This meant that we had to get out of the way. One question that was helpful for us: where are we in our own way when it comes to scaling? If we were to 10x our scale, what would need to change about our model?

We are still working to master the art of scaling, and to do that we’ve put learning at the the heart of our organization. To learn more, please reach out at

As President and Co-Founder, Banks leads the organization’s strategy and manages the team. A Denver native who joined Uncharted in the spring of 2012 as an unpaid intern, Banks has served in a variety of roles for the organization: from leading entrepreneur selection, to managing the mentor network, to leading the expansion of the Institute around the world. In 2015, Banks launched Global Labs in 12 countries. To date, Uncharted has equipped 32 teams to run 5-day accelerator programs (Global Labs), bringing their programming and curriculum to communities across the globe, from Afghanistan to Cambodia to Sierra Leone. Banks is a Colorado native, with a Bachelors in Economics from Vanderbilt University and a Masters of International Development from the University of Sydney in Australia.

Uncharted is a SOCAP16 Network Partner.