Social Enterprise Summit Wrapup

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    Here are some highlights from the recent 2013 Social Enterprise Summit (Social Enterprise Alliance) in Minneapolis:

    SES graphic

    The Summit coined the term “purpose economy” as the defining element of the 21st century. Second, the summit launched the concept of leveraging policy change as a major thrust of the social enterprise movement’s overall strategy. This sea change started with the inspiring Van Jones who said it best – “[i]t is possible to turn the latest economic breakdown into a breakthrough.” Aaron Hurst, founder of the Taproot Foundation [told the group] “[p]urpose will supplant information as the core of our economy. Suzanne Smith

    SEA and its members are building an economy on purpose by directing renewed efforts to pursue policy initiatives that help these entities succeed. SEA’s specific policy objectives include: (1) Support the passage of the Social Enterprise Ecosystem and Economic Development Commission Act (re-introduced by RI Rep. David Cicilline last Monday) to … identify opportunities for the federal government to leverage social enterprise. (2) Expand … SBA and Commerce Dept loans, loan guaranty and technical assistance programs to include nonprofit social enterprises. (3) Add social enterprise to public procurement policies and practices. (4) Increase the use of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs)/Pay for Success programs. (5) Adopt new hybrid social business legal entities, including L3Cs, Benefit Corporations, Flexible Purpose Corporations and other entities. – Cecily Jackson-Zapata

    Debbie Alvarez-Rodriguez, one of the keynote speakers, was quite inspirational in talking about how to focus on what really matters and what really makes a difference. She suggested that in every action and interaction, you figure out first “who am I?” and by that she meant what’s my fundamental, even transcendent, purpose and role here. And secondly, that we figure out how our passion aligns with those of others, especially those we serve. And finally, that we address the core question of how we feel about power. How much power do you really need to hold onto — can you relinquish control? – Rolfe Larson

    Inspired by all that I learned about the good we can make through social enterprise, I want to leave you with the words of Social Enterprise Alliance President Kevin Lynch, who said, “strength to your sword arm and honey to your heart.” Or, in other words, love is stronger than greed and we should take the radical step of building an economy on love. Clearly, I’ve been put to task and there’s a lot of work to do now that I am back from the summit, but I am invigorated after getting to know so many entrepreneurs making a difference around the country and learning about innovative practices in the sector. Emily Winslow

    What do you think?