Major gaps still exist in the social impact ecosystem between entrepreneurs and successful innovators who want to give back to the world, and investors who are willing to support their cause.
The only way to truly tackle the world’s growing pains is by closing this gap and finding sustainable solutions to enduring social problems.
Within this context, academia continues to make strides towards finding such solutions and acting as an incubator for the next wave of social entrepreneurs and impact investors. As the awareness and prevalence of social impact continues to evolve, leading universities are making this topic part of their value proposition by promoting ways in which business can be a force for good.
For the second year running, The Wharton School is bringing together a community of socially innovative thinkers who understand that what is good for society is also good for business, by hosting the student-led Social Impact Conference at its San Francisco campus on April 10, 2014.
Last year, nearly 150 members of the public convened to discuss the future of the sector, and the present movement that’s bringing social capital, resources and entrepreneurs together. Open to all, this year’s conference features a wide-ranging focus and more than double the panel discussions, on topics from urban development, to education transformation, to the art of impact investing. Scheduled speakers include leaders in finance, food, funding and more.
Keynote speaker, Bobby Turner, W’87, of Turner Impact Capital, will set the stage with a presentation on the importance of a “triple bottom line” investment strategy, where environmentally responsible projects can yield high financial returns for investors while providing new opportunities to community residents.
In a panel on “profitable purpose” Meg Garlinghouse, Head of LinkedIn for Good, Ben Cain of Revolution Foods, and Matthew Pohlson of Omaze will share insights into how their companies have struck the equilibrium between higher purpose and financial success.
On the financial management side of the ecosystem, an expert panel will delve into the art of impact investing. Alex Levin, of Citi Community Capital, Julia Sze of Sonen Capital LLC, Cynthia Ringo of DBL Investors, and Susie Lee of the Skoll Foundation will share insights and answer pressing questions such as how deals are conducted, what investors should realistically expect, and how impact investing is evolving and improving lives.
For entrepreneurs and innovators in this space the redirection of donations is a thing of the past: organizations are constantly re-writing the guidebook on how social businesses can secure funding and make a huge positive impact.
Wisdom on this topic will come from Aradhana Roy, PhD Consultant at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Kohl Crecelius, CEO and Co-Founder of nonprofit Krochet Kids, and Kriss Deigimeier, CEO of San Francisco-based Tides.
Additional breakout panels will cover “Rethinking and Transforming Education”, “Building community through sustainable housing and urban development”, “Social Innovation and Healthcare” and “Social and Environmental Consciousness.”
This will be a landmark event on the West Coast and for the social impact community at large. As part of team of executive MBA students running this event, we are very passionate about the opportunities that conferences such as this can provide by connecting like minded individuals in one of the worlds most entrepreneurial cities, for the collective cause of social good.
For further information, please visit www.whartonsfsocialimpact.com. Tickets are available online now.
About the Author: Simon Rycraft, WG’14, is a second year MBA candidate, and heads the marketing efforts for the student-run social impact conference at Wharton | San Francisco. He also serves as Director at A.T. Kearney in San Francisco, and was formerly a management consultant at Accenture.