SOCAP16 Themes

SOCAP programming starts fresh each year as we scout the growing landscape of social capital, seeking out the leading thinking on innovative investing and entrepreneurship for impact. As always, SOCAP16 programming highlighted recurring themes and emerging conversations from the impact community around the world. Attendees came to network, learn, and share. SOCAP was also a live marketplace, with an abundance of supply and demand for world changing solutions. SOCAP16 featured expanded opportunities for entrepreneurs to share their solutions, and for attendees across sectors to connect by sector and geography.

SOCAP16 is now over! Can’t wait until next fall to connect with like-minded changemakers? Attend a SOCAP 365 event near you to get those important conversations started now.

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Impact Investing

As impact investing goes mainstream, the field is navigating a new normal. There are more segmented conversations to be had, about approaches to impact in specific asset classes or sectors, and also much broader conversations to be had, to make values-aligned investing accessible to a larger audience. Impact metrics have gone through multiple iterations and are increasingly important as the diverse marketplace of impact offerings calls for standards and benchmarks. At SOCAP, founders, leaders and practitioners convene with others who are just finding their way in this evolving field for the most dynamic conversations in the impact ecosystem.



From the very first SOCAP conference, meaning has been the “why” that drives how we invest and build companies for impact. Meaning is a core theme to explore and highlight each year because it is both individual and collective, elusive and persistent, and variable across cultures. With global progress as inspiration, and global turmoil as an urgent reminder, sessions will reflect on where we find meaning in our work and how to integrate the “why” across all of our activities. The Meaning track at SOCAP16 grounds the conversation in our interconnectedness and strengthens the resolve to create the world we want to live in.


Neighborhood Economics

A healthy flow of capital among buyers, sellers, makers, and producers keeps money and value circulating, and is a very different market dynamic than the relentless pursuit of growth or the short-term orientation of quarterly earnings. How might the economy work better for all people if the markets looked more like Main Street than Wall Street? When value exchange and human relationships drive transactions, neighborhood economics result in investing and giving in a way that creates community wealth for all.


Cities: Centers for Change

More than half of the global population lives in cities and that figure is projected to grow to 66% by 2050. In addressing the world’s most challenging problems, cities are a powerful unit of change due to their density of people, as well as concentrated access to resources and services. Cities are also incredibly complex, with layers of economic, political, cultural, and environmental factors to navigate. Large investments and philanthropic commitments have been made in the past few years, with impact in cities as their focus. Conversations in this track will explore the unique challenges and opportunities of innovating in cities, and the urgency of collaborating across stakeholders to increase resilience and sustainability in urban centers.


Inclusive Entrepreneurship

Solutions can come from anywhere, because they spring from our experience and a fresh perspective on a problem. However, there is a glaring opportunity gap for many potential entrepreneurs. Creative solutions are being overlooked because there is not a level playing field across gender, race, class, and age for sourcing and supporting great ideas. Taking a hard look at current inequity in funding, access, and mentorship and then taking concrete steps to enable a more inclusive and representative ecosystem has the potential to unlock powerful solutions from underrepresented communities.


Clean Energy for All

The immense opportunity of a 100% clean energy future is not just replacing dirty fuels and combating climate change, but also shaping a new global economy where clean energy is affordable and accessible to everyone. The worst impacts of climate change will disproportionately affect the world’s most vulnerable populations, but investing in a new clean energy economy will create better economic, health and environmental outcomes for all. Join the discussion on the role of impact capital in leading this massive systems change, across the lifecycle of development, commercialization and deployment to provide clean energy for all people.


Sustainable Food and Agriculture

Agriculture is the world’s largest industry and has deep connections to the global economy. On the farm, and in the countless global supply chains that rely on agriculture commodities, there are wide variations in practice from sustainable, regenerative management to harmful operations – both with tremendous impact on people and precious environmental resources. Within food systems, SOCAP16 will explore innovative efforts focused on reducing food waste, sustainably feeding a growing global population, and raising awareness of food justice and equitable access to healthy food.


Country Context

The concept of investing for impact resonates across the world, but the implementation is uniquely contextual to each geography. A series of sessions, each focused on the market landscape and key sectors within a specific geographic region, will highlight the diversity of investment opportunities around the world. They will also provide a forum for more nuanced discussion of cultural, political, and economic dynamics in play for investors and entrepreneurs in various regions.