Connected Smart Cities & Communities 2020

The Connected Smart Cities & Communities 2020 (CSCC) is the annual community event organised by Open & Agile Smart Cities. CSCC brings together city representatives, companies, research, and policy-makers to discuss the state of smart cities & communities and how to make smart cities open, interoperable and more sustainable.

This year’s theme – Scale with Us – reflects global initiatives to scale up urban digital solutions for better quality of life on our cities and communities. These globals efforts are supported by international institutions and organisations such as the European Commission and the World Economic Forum.

Keynote speakers of #CSCC20 include

  • Minna Arve, Mayor of Turku
  • Anna Lisa Boni, Secretary General, EUROCITIES

More speakers will be announced soon.

SVI Women Bay Area 2019

Don’t miss your opportunity to join 100 of the most passionate and visionary business leaders in an intimate space that offers you the chance to focus on YOU and your business. What a combo!

SVIW offers high quality mentors, a confidential and supportive learning environment, and a practical problem-solving format that enable you to acquire a rich portfolio of skills, a plan to grow your enterprise, and finally a curated network of peers to support you.  Most SVIW participants are first or second-stage entrepreneurs who are facing challenges in growing an enterprise while maintaining a social mission.

SVIW 2018 participants gained a deep connection to community, new and innovative business strategies and a renewed sense of possibility for themselves and each other. These women, like you, are changing the world through their businesses.

SVI Women takes the core SVI model and packs it into three days of learning from experts, peer networking and business case study problem solving to equip attendees with skills to build thriving sustainable enterprises. We welcome all women including trans-women and people whose gender is non-binary.

Registration is $550USD and does not include accommodations.

All participants apply to attend as part of a pre-approval process. These community commitments guide the approval process:

  • The SVI agenda focuses on strengthening and supporting individuals across social venture sectors working to quicken the pace of their own professional development, promote organizational effectiveness, and support emerging entrepreneurs.
  • SVI Women is committed to supporting access to women for this conferences among diverse communities across gender, race, and socio-economic status. It’s in your best interest to share as much as you can about yourself, your work, the communities you serve through your entrepreneurship and why you want to attend Social Venture Institute Women.

We anticipate receiving more applications than spots available. Returning alumni to SVI are invited to apply through the same channels as new applicants. Once you’ve submitted your application, a confirmation email will be sent to you, letting you know when you can next expect to hear from the producer team. You will want to block off the conference dates, April 10-12, 2019 on your calendar. If you have any questions, please email

Do Good by Giving Up More: A Vision of Restorative Investing

We live in an urgent time: duopolies and monopolies greatly suffocate the growth of small, local businesses; tax policy overwhelmingly favors the wealthy; corporate subsidies remain a lynchpin in economic development efforts; and the racial wealth gap continues to grow exponentially. Systems changing ideas and beliefs are needed to confront today’s economic challenges.


hundred years ago, Greenwood, a 35-square-block section of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was home to one of the largest concentrations of African American-owned businesses and wealth in America. Booker T. Washington referred to Greenwood as “Negro Wall Street.” Black Wall Street, as it’s called today, had more than 300 African American-owned businesses serving roughly 11,000 residents.

It all came to a violent end in 1921, when a teenage African American boy was accused of assaulting a white female elevator operator. Followers of American history will know what came next: On May 31, 1921, white residents marched into Greenwood and burned it to the ground. Hundreds of black residents died and thousands more were left homeless. City and state officials were complicit in the violence: Instead of curtailing the riots, the National Guard was sent to detain African American residents into detention centers.

I first learned of Greenwood at the knee of my grandfather, a black man from the South who fought in the Korean War and received a Purple Heart for his troubles. Like millions of African Americans who served in the military during Jim Crow, my grandfather was denied the privileges owed to him from the G.I. Bill of Rights, which provided financial support in the form of cash stipends for schooling, low-interest mortgages, job skills training, low-interest loans, and unemployment benefits.

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” — William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun

Most of us know nothing of Greenwood, or how G.I. benefits that helped to build the American white middle-class systematically excluded African American servicemen and their families, denying and suppressing wealth creation in black households for generations. Few of us know anything about redlining and blockbusting, and even fewer are aware that in 2018, financial institutions like Bank of America and Wells Fargo are being sued and fined for discriminatory lending practices in African American and Latinx communities. Indeed, the past isn’t past — it lives with us today.

“If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there’s no progress. If you pull it all the way out that’s not progress. Progress is healing the wound that the blow made.” — Malcolm X

In 2016, a United Nations panel declared that the United States owed reparations to African Americans, as compensation for “the legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality.” Thomas Craemer, an associate professor of public policy at University of Connecticut, concluded that U.S. slave labor in the 89 years between our country’s founding until the end of the Civil War would be worth approximately $5.9 trillion today.

Chattel slaveryJim CrowRedliningMass incarcerationPredatory lending. It’s a minor miracle that the racial wealth chasm between white and African American households isn’t significantly larger than it is today.

For over 40 years, the U.S. political economy has been shaped by ideas conceived by Milton Friedman’s “Chicago School” of free market orthodoxy. These ideas have defined much of American social, economic, and political life. In 2017, these ideas enabled bipartisan support (Tim Scott on the “Right,” Cory Booker on the “Left”) for the Investing in Opportunity Act (Opportunity Zones), developed by billionaire venture capitalist Sean Parker, who proudly pronounced:

“Instead of having government hand out pools of taxpayer dollars, you have savvy investors directing money into projects they think will succeed.”

In this narrative, government is bad and market investors are the heroes of American ingenuity. Forbes’ commentary on Opportunity Zones says it all:

“If everything goes right, a big slice of the estimated $6.1 trillion of paper profits currently resting on American balance sheets is about to go to work to revitalize America’s depressed communities. If all goes wrong, however, it will prove to be one of the biggest tax giveaways in American history, all in service of gentrifying neighborhoods and expelling local residents.”

Opportunity Zones are just the latest invention of neoliberal free market orthodoxy. However, the ideology has seeded countless prominent institutions and networks. And as Anand Giridharadas illustrates in “Winners Take All,” its influence is pervasive in left-leaning institutions as well.

Today, with wealth inequality exploding and economic anxiety and political tensions rising, unlikely voices clamor for new ideas and paradigmatic shifts. Hewlett Foundation is investing $10MM over the next two years to support research on new ideas and intellectual frameworks to address problems like wealth inequality, wage stagnation, economic dislocation due to globalization, and loss of jobs and economic security due to technology and automation. In its most recent call for Fellows, Open Society Foundationsinvites applicants to respond to the following provocation:

New and radical forms of ownership, governance, entrepreneurship, and financialization are needed to fight pervasive economic inequality.

Even billionaire financiers Ray Dalio and Paul Tudor Jones acknowledge that free market capitalism no longer works for most Americans. However, they are bereft of ideas on what can be done, turning to platitudes like improving schools, increasing access to higher education, public-private partnerships, microfinance, and creating stronger job training programs. In other words, more of the same. 10 years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, NY Timescolumnist and “Too Big To Fail” author Andrew Ross Sorkin admits that, “capitalism, the way we’re operating it today, is not working.”

Alan Greenspan’s 2008 testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform served as a succinct indictment of the ideology behind neoliberal free market orthodoxy. This exchange between Greenspan and then Committee Chairman Henry Waxman sums it up:

Greenspan: I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms…

Waxman: In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working.

Greenspan: Absolutely, precisely. You know, that’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.

Of course, one can credibly debate whether or not things had been “working exceptionally well” over the 40 years that preceded Lehman’s collapse, with income stagnation, radical wealth inequality, and costs for healthcare and higher education increasingly out of reach for ordinary Americans. Greenspan would note that the “whole intellectual edifice” behind his faith in Wall Street and free markets collapsed in the summer of 2007.

And yet, today in 2018, the free market status quo is tightening its grip. We can recite such frightening statistics as:

  • 82 percent of all wealth created in 2017 went to the richest 1%
  • The world’s billionaires saw their wealth increase by $762 billion
  • The poorest 50 percent saw no increase in wealth at all
  • Median wealth of African Americans could be zero by 2053

We live in an urgent time: duopolies and monopolies greatly suffocate the growth of small, local business; tax policy overwhelmingly favors the wealthy; corporate subsidies remain a lynchpin in local economic development efforts; and the racial wealth gap continues to grow exponentially.

And while governments, philanthropists, investors, and civic leaders seek answers to today’s economic challenges, they lack truly systems changing ideas and beliefs. Opportunity Zones, impact investing, “doing well by doing good” — these ideas spring from the same intellectual edifice as trickle-down economics. It’s a tough fact to swallow, yet the truth of it is no less potent.

What is needed is an entirely different intellectual edifice.

“People should think things out fresh and not just accept conventional terms and the conventional way of doing things.” — Buckminster Fuller

The mainstream ideas that drive our political economy concentrate authority, power, and wealth into the hands of the few, while actively marginalizing, exploiting, and extracting from the rest of us.

Where there was once slavery, indentured servitude, and sharecropping, there is now prison labor, wage theft, and the gig economy. In California, prisoners make up nearly 40 percent of firefighters — saving the state $100MM annually — and earn just $1.45 a day to fight deadly fires. Capital continues to find new ways to, in the words of Ta-Nehisi Coates, plunder. This is fundamental to how our economy works. But it need not be.

In our pursuit of new ideas and innovation, we’ve dismissed history and the collective capacity, genius, and tireless work of communities of color. As Jessica Gordon Nembhard and Edgar Villanueva make clear in Collective Courage and Decolonizing Wealth, African Americans and Native people have a long history of cooperative ownership and democratic economic participation, two intertwined beliefs that are antithetical to the economics of plunder, wealth hoarding, and “market power.”

In fact, the very answers sought-out by Giridharadas, Dalio, Jones, Hewlett, and Open Society can be found in marginalized communities of color that have historically built and operated economic alternatives to colonization, oppression, and exploitation.

Restorative investing is one such alternative. Pioneered by brilliant black women like Nwamaka Agbo and Alfa Demmellash, restorative investing acknowledges the urgent moral, economic, and ecological imperative to share and redirect power and promote collective well-being and social equity. It is an attempt to subvert the systemic injustices that plunder from rural, Native, and majority communities of color, and repair the harm unjustly inflicted upon economically exploited communities.

There is no shortage of leaders and communities who put restorative investing into practice. Inspired by Latin American indigenous movements, Thousand Currents’ Buen Vivir Fund demonstrates what is possible when investors democratize capital, enable community wealth and power building, and promote well-being above the preservation and accumulation of capital. Tiffany Brown and Kate Poole, principals at Chordata Capital, challenge, guide, and support their clients — largely, young inheritors of generational wealth — to invest with a laser focus on racial and economic justice.

In Boston, a network of frontline leaders — including BALLE leaders Aaron Tanaka and Deborah Frieze, alongside Nia Evans, Lucas Turner-Owens, and Mark Watson — work incessantly to build a community-controlled economy that redresses the city’s astronomical racial wealth divide through transformative efforts like Ujima Project and Boston Impact Initiative. And through the Runway Project, a powerful group of women of color — BALLE Fellow Jessica Norwood, Nina Robinson, Konda Mason, and Rani Langer-Croager — audaciously tackle the racial wealth gap and its adverse impact on African American entrepreneurs.

The major criticism levied against Giridharadas’ Winners Take All is that it lacks solutions. This criticism is intellectually dishonest at best — a complex system predicated on unequal power dynamics in which one party controls the purse strings and systemically sets the terms cannot be “solved.” In fact, what Giridharadas painstakingly sets out to prove is that financial elites are winning by the rules of a rigged game. What is required is a paradigmatic shift in the rules — moving from systemic power imbalance and wealth accumulation to distributing wealth and power equitably.

Foundations might prioritize investing in structures that resulted in perpetual community wealth building above their own institutional perpetuity.

Donor-advised funds (DAFs) — which surpassed $110 billion in total assets under management in 2017 — would serve as risk capital largely inaccessible to communities of color due to systemic racism and economic exploitation.

And instead of spending $90 billion every year in tax breaks and cash awards to companies like Amazon to move across states, U.S. municipal and state governments would invest in cooperative ownership, minority-businesses, community-empowered development, and other authentic alternatives for advancing community wealth and economic equity.

There are clear alternatives to the status quo. In order to build a just and equitable economy, we must reckon with our compounding moral debts and heal the wounds caused by generations of economic plunder and exploitation. And for those of us with power and wealth engendered by the status quo, it means giving some of it up — rather than doing well by doing good, it means doing good by giving up more; less privilegeless wealth, and less power.

Philanthropy and investment — indeed the act of giving itself — is in need of reframing. I’ll leave you with a simple question: What are you willing to give up in order to make lasting systemic change?

Original posting of this article can be found on

Rodney Foxworth is Executive Director of BALLE, a network of local economy leaders from across the US and Canada. This year, we’re calling for a #ShiftCapitalTuesday to refocus our efforts on communities that have been historically marginalized and economically exploited. To support this work, and the collective efforts of the BALLE network, consider a commitment of action by tagging #ShiftCapitalTuesday on Twitter or by making a contribution here.

SEA Chicago Annual Meeting December 2018

Join Social Enterprise Alliance-Chicago for our Annual Meeting. SEA-Chicago Board Members will share highlights from 2017 and SEA Vision 2019 on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 from 6:00 – 9:00 pm at the YMCA Learning Institute, 1030 W Van Buren, Chicago, IL 60607.

Members Free, $25 Non-Members. Includes: Food, Wine, Beer

Moving the Dial: Spring Activator Releases Inaugural Impact Report

At Spring Activator, impact means fostering social, environmental, and financial sustainability into all of the businesses we work with. Since 2014, we’ve supported 700+ entrepreneurs, helped created more than 300 companies and jobs and enabled early-stage funding of over $16 million to be raised.

Today, we are thrilled to release our inaugural impact report, as part of our mission of making impact entrepreneurship mainstream and changing the world.

How Have we Measured our Impact?

For our internal impact as an organisation, we highlight our certification as a B Corporation® and B Impact Score of 94, which we achieved in 2017. Being a Certified B Corp™ is essentially the business equivalent of Fairtrade and Organic products, showing how we adopt successful and sustainable business practices. We also aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) that are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. We primarily contribute towards SDG4: Quality Education, and then towards SDG10: Reduced Inequality, SDG1: No Poverty, SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth and SDG5: Gender Equality.

In addition, we share some metrics of impact that stem from our core offerings:

What about our Wider Community’s Impact?

For the companies we support, we built on the UN SDG framework and developed our Impact Theme Framework, by canvassing out 75 Impact Themes. This helped us capture the spectrum of impact areas undertaken by our community. The chart below shows the SDG scope of our current portfolio of roundtable companies. In general, each of the companies in our roundtables are supporting at least 2 or more of the SDGs. We also share select alumni stories, which illuminate the deeper impact (business and personal growth, as well as lifelong skills) experienced by our community members.


Spring was founded in January 2014 with the mission of making impact entrepreneurship mainstream. While traditional incubators and accelerators tend to focus on technology ventures, we work with leaders and innovators solving today’s biggest societal challenges. The common thread behind all the ideas and ventures that we help support is their commitment to changing the world for better.


Sana Kapadia – Chief Impact Officer at Spring

Sana has transitioned her career from investment banking and corporate finance to social impact, mission venture capital and entrepreneurship. She believes that by aligning purpose with business and working collaboratively alongside other stakeholders, we can solve real societal challenges. At Spring, Sana guides entrepreneurs in their capital raising journeys. As the the driving force on all things impact at Spring, she led Spring’s B Corp™ certification process and spearheads all impact related programming and reporting. She is committed to fostering an innovative impact entrepreneurship ecosystem as we change the world for the better. (photo credit: Chung Chow)

Reality Summit at the Esalen Institute

RE-IMAGINE REALITY: This intensive is focused on the nexus of transformation and innovation.

The emergent technology revolution and the mindfulness movement are powerful change agents that can be utilized to benefit the very evolution of our species.

In 2018, we will convene industry leaders in virtual/Augmented/Mixed Reality AI, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Robotics and associated emerging technologies at the birthplace of the human potential movement.

Convene Great Virtual Meetings

14 years ago we pioneered the virtual Art of Convening Training. Way back before Skype or Zoom. We have learned a thing or two.
We've learned that virtual meetings don't have to be a waste of time. In fact, they can be more valuable than face to face meetings. They are an inexpensive way to get people together: no travel costs and readily available technology.

Unleash your team’s EQ with the power of convening: learn how the skills of inner game of being a convener can shift the culture of your team, department or organization to full-on commitment. Each step of the way is a journey into personal and professional learning and application of the technology of relationships.
We'd love to work with you. Please join us!

JENNY KASSAN: Fund and Fuel Your Dreams

Fund and Fuel Your Dreams is a 3-day event where you will get hands-on, expert training on how to raise money for your business.

You will leave with a step-by-step plan and resources to take the plan forward.

It is also a place to connect with like-minded mission-driven, heart-centered women entrepreneurs in a supportive fun environment!


We are honoured to host Gathering Our Voices National Aboriginal Youth Conference on the territory of Westbank First Nations.

From March 21 - 24, 2017 GOV will bring together more than 1000 Indigenous youth delegates as well as chaperones, presenters and guests to Kelowna, BC. Young people from all across across Canada are invited to join us to explore, to learn and to engage with our culture among peers. This year’s conference is rooted in culture.

Youth, chaperones, presenters, exhibitors, Elders, volunteers and other guests will have the opportunity to make new connections, rekindle old bonds, engage their passions and discover a new drive. How can we improve the present? How can we create a brighter future for ourselves? Are we prepared to face the upcoming challenges?

Join us and learn from pillars of our community, hear their stories, their struggles, and their triumphs. Then, forge your own way by creating your own special blend of workshops, it is your choice what you learn, just as it is your future. Spend your evenings participating in our live Talent Showcase and dance party. Finally, reconnect to your roots during our cultural morning and closing ceremonies.

A Glimpse Of The Past
The BCAAFC has previously hosted fourteen Aboriginal Youth Conferences. Youth delegates and chaperones from all over the country travel at their own expense to attend these conferences. The purpose of these conferences is to unite youth throughout the country in learning, healing and sharing and to provide tangible tools, resources and knowledge that the youth can bring back to their communities.

The first two conferences hosted over 100 youth attendees, while the third saw attendance triple to over 460 youth delegates. The fourth and fifth conferences doubled attendance to over 800 youth. The 2008 Conference in Victoria had nearly 1000 people in attendance; the 2009 Conference in Kelowna had 1300 people attend; the 2010 Conference in Vancouver and the 2011 Conference in Prince Rupert, over 1500 people took part, in Nanaimo (2012) over 1600 people gathered together, in Penticton (2013) more than 2000 people participated, and Vancouver (2014) saw more than 2200 participants. In Prince George (2015) the conference reached capacity months before the event started. Last year in Victoria we reached 2000 registered delegates, even before early registration had closed. This overwhelming response serves to reinforce the need for a forum where Indigenous youth can come together to begin to make positive changes in their own lives and in their communities.