When the Latin American Impact Investing Forum was created in 2011, New Ventures had no idea it would later become the most important meeting on impact investing of Latin America. It came to light very naturally, as you bring together your best friends to share a good bottle of wine. Since its creation, the Latin American Impact Investing Forum—Foro Latinoamericano de Inversión de Impacto (FLII in Spanish)—has always been about the people it brings together.

After six years of gatherings and a growing number of impact investing events that reflect the dynamism of the sector throughout the world, we wanted to  create something special for our 2017 convening; we aimed to generate a friendly and relaxed atmosphere for high-level investors, entrepreneurs, and changemakers, all of whom share a common interest in bettering the lives of thousands of people in Latin America. That was our success metric.

With more than 400 attendees from 24 different countries (50 percent of attendees came from countries other than Mexico), the 7th annual FLII demonstrated that you can have fun while tackling critical issues such as health, education, women empowerment, housing, access to energy, mobility or transparency (just to name a few).

Held in Merida, Mexico on February 14-16, the forum included inspiring panel discussions, speed pitches, speed talks, workshops, and opportunities to discuss challenging questions with a diverse audience. Together we explored the blurred lines of the sector, and dealt with exciting trends such as the role of foundations in impact investing, the potential of faith-based initiatives, and lessons learned from investing during difficult times.

During the forum’s three days, the conversations covered a large spectrum of interests, from the importance of mentoring to strengthen the ecosystem, to the value of storytelling, and the relevance of innovation and creativity, regardless of your position in the impact investing world. The perspectives of social impact bonds in Latin America provoked constructive debates, as well as exit strategies for investment funds.

Networking sessions played an even greater role this year, for this edition—purposely called “Let’s meet up!”—specifically aimed to offer participants numerous and relevant opportunities to connect. We were particularly happy to attract new attendees to the forum this year, and observe that about 50 percent of attendees participated in FLII for the first time this year. And we are obviously thrilled to know that they are all willing to come back next year!

For those of you who were unable to attend in 2017, we invite you to join us next year and let us know what you would like to see, hear, and experience so we may make next year’s experience even better together.