By Sarah Hidey, JVA Consulting
This is THE Moment for Social Enterprise. This is the title of the opening keynote address for the Social Enterprise Annual Summit, and I couldn’t agree more. In a couple weeks, Janine Vanderburg and I (Sarah Hidey) are headed to Chicago to attend this exciting event hosted by the Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA). Social enterprise is such an interesting and cutting edge field—and I am excited to meet some incredible social entrepreneurs and learn from experienced veterans about new ways to help JVA clients.
Here are some of the things I’m looking forward to:
The first place you will find me is at the pre-conference session led by JVA’s President, Janine Vanderburg: Navigating into Social Enterprise: Understanding Fit, Readiness, and How it all Works. This session is back by popular demand, and I’m excited to participate in this refresher class on the fundamentals of social enterprise. It seems like the perfect session to kick off the conference.
Then, I’m heading to the special screening of Bonsai People: The Vision of Muhammad Yunus, a documentary by SEA Board member Holly Mosher about Muhammad Yunus, the father of micro-finance and innovative social entrepreneur. The documentary’s website states: What if you could harness the power of the free market to solve the problems of poverty, hunger and inequality? Just reading that literally gives me goose bumps. I became a big fan of Muhammad Yunus while working for an indigenous micro-finance organization in India during graduate school. I can’t wait to learn more about his innovative social businesses!
The next afternoon I’ll be ready for the opening keynote by Paul Carttar, Director of the Social Innovation Fund, and Darell Hammond, founder of KaBOOM!, an organization that helps communities build playgrounds. It will be interesting to hear their take on how social enterprise is a great tool to address the economic issues in the United States—even the Obama administration is on board with social enterprise!
As soon as the keynote is done, I’m going to run to Storytelling by Leaders in the Field so that I can hear first hand from Brother Julius Walls, Jr., co-author of Mission, Inc.—one of the books JVA highly recommends to anyone considering social enterprise—and founder of Greyston Bakery. Greyston Bakery’s motto is: We don’t hire people to bake brownies. We bake brownies to hire people. I love that, and look forward to hearing how Brother Walls transformed the bakery into such a successful business.
There are also so many great breakout sessions led by experienced social entrepreneurs; I don’t know how I will ever choose which few to attend. Strategy Drivers: Measuring the Impact of Social Enterprise sounds like a session I will need to check out. Helping JVA clients determine how to measure the impact of their projects is essential; I hope to learn some new strategies to share. Another session that looks engaging is Innovative Ways Technology Empowers Your Social Enterprise and Enables Your Story, Message and Reach. Knowing how powerful social media can be, I’m interested to hear how this power can be harnessed to spread the message about how social enterprises are changing lives.
Lastly, I’m going to make sure I find Tamra Ryan from the Denver-based Women’s Bean Project during one of my breaks. She is definitely on my list of people to talk to, since I’m a big fan of the concept of the Women’s Bean Project (have you tried their soup mixes? Yum!). I’d love to connect with her and hear more about how the project helps women develop skills to overcome poverty in Denver.
If you are headed to the Social Enterprise Alliance Annual Summit, send me a message. I’d love to grab a cup of coffee and talk about the exciting world of social enterprise with you!