Over 200 leaders from the social purpose business, nonprofit, and social change sectors came together in Los Angeles for the Western Summit for Social Enterprise. The event included workshops, keynotes by visionaries in the social enterprise field, and tours of successful local social enterprises.
Topics covered included marketing, crowdfunding, scaling, and profitable partnerships for social enterprises. Notable plenary speakers and moderators included Carla Javits of REDF, Michael Hannigan of Give Something Back, and MacArthur Fellow Jim Fruchterman of Benetech.
The workshop titled ‘Pathways to Profitable Partnerships’ was introduced by Betsy Densmore, Founder and President of ASE, and lead by Archie Holton, ASE’s lead facilitator for Social Enterprise Leadership Forums. The workshop discussed how well-designed “passive social enterprise” generates revenue from the sale of someone else's product or service. The ‘how to’ style session helped participants brainstorm on how to best develop such opportunities. This workshop was especially relevant for small and medium size nonprofit organizations where the focus is on executing strategic alliances with local and mid-size businesses.
Densmore also curated a panel on Impact Investing in which panelists discussed who is involved in double bottom line investing, what is driving its’ growth and what kind of social enterprises are most likely to attract this kind of funding. Panelists Fran Seegull of ImpactAssets, Tina Castro of The California Endowment, and Marta Ferro of Starfish Impacts, addressed various topics including the “landscape” of Impact Investing and what attracts investors, Foundation approaches to Impact Investing, and related strategies such as micro-lending and crowd-funding.
The Social Enterprise Alliance’s aim is for social enterprise to reach its full potential as a force for positive social change, in service to the common good. To achieve this purpose, SEA provides social enterprises with the tools and resources to succeed, and works on building an optimal environment in which social enterprises can thrive. Membership in this national network has nearly doubled in the last year. ASE is a proud member of SEA and our staff were thrilled to contribute expertise and resources to the conference.