Summit '19

Social Enterprise Alliance empowers social enterprises with the tools and resources they need to succeed and works to foster a social enterprise ecosystem in which they can thrive. Since our founding, we have convened the robust social enterprise field – practitioners, enthusiasts, experts, funders and more – at the Summit.

This year we’ll gather in the heart of downtown Chicago for three days of networking, exploring best practices and enjoying candid discussion on the future of the social enterprise. Join us on September 9th -11th at the Radisson Blu Hotel, and enjoy expert-led panel discussions on all aspects of social enterprises, like marketing, sales, capital, and procurement.

You’ll also have the chance to tour local social enterprises and shop their products at our social impact marketplace, all at the center of a city known for its art and culture.

Register by April 30th to snag early bird pricing, the lowest price of the year!

ANDE SGB Orientation Training: Intro to SGB Investing

The ANDE SGB Investing Orientation Training is a two-day comprehensive overview of the small and growing business sector with a focus on how to make impact investments in emerging market enterprises. The agenda will include sessions on: financial models, doing deals, impact investing, sector analysis, business plans, case studies, social entrepreneurship 101, and more!

Geared towards new hires, summer associates, and those new to the sector, 300+ individuals have participated in this training over the past five years.

For questions related to this training, email

SVI Vancouver

Apply for SVI Vancouver

Join business leaders and social entrepreneurs at the Social Venture Institute (SVI) Vancouver for an intensive, interactive inquiry into how to face the day-to-day challenges of running a socially conscious enterprise. Take advantage of this opportunity to fine tune business strategies, learn best practices for solving problems and build long lasting relationships with business peers and mentors.

SVI Vancouver 2019 takes place Wednesday, April 24th through Friday April 26th. Registration for the conference is $575.

Social Venture Institute Vancouver 2018 will take place at the Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre at Goldcorp Centre for the Arts in Vancouver, BC. The centre is located at SFU Woodwards: 149 W Hastings St Vancouver, BC V6B 1H7

The registration cost for SVI Vancouver is $575, with a 10% Discount for non-profits, students and seniors. Registration includes meals throughout the conference, with the exception of dinners.

Scholarships are available. Please indicate if you’d like to be considered for a scholarship in the application form below.

All  participants apply to attend as part of a pre-approval process. Returning alumni are invited to apply through the same channels as new applicants. You will want to block off the conference dates on your calendar: April 24-26, 2019. If you have any questions, please email We look forward to connecting with you!

The Rise of Social Enterprise in New Zealand

Purpose, inspiration, sustainability, passion… this is what social enterprise thrives on.

The social enterprise concept is not like hoverboards, which are here today, gone tomorrow. Social enterprise has proven to implement so much good into our community that it is only going to continue to grow.

Defining Social Enterprise 

Since the beginning of the 1990s the social economy has gradually come to be recognised as the ‘third sector’ outside of the private and public. Made up of cooperatives, charities, and associations, the social sector has continued to grow through this century. As technology and social needs have diversified, so too has the social economy, breeding subsets like social enterprise. Though the social economy is relatively well understood, its offspring - social enterprise - is less so.

Social enterprise is an up and coming industry and is rapidly becoming more popular. Broadly defined, social enterprise is a commercial operation with a social purpose, formulating strategies and applying tactics with the underlying intention of making improvements to human and environmental well being.

Social Enterprise in Aotearoa

The Misprint Co. is an example of a social enterprise that has been making a substantial impact since 2014. They take hardly used paper from around Wellington’s CBD offices and repurpose it into multi-purpose notebooks. One full Misprint box saves 55% of a 10-15 year old tree.

“Sustainability is the core of what we are trying to achieve. We are using the humble notebook to encourage people and businesses to look at their sustainable practices and see what more they can do. It takes 10 litres of water to make an A4 sheet of paper, and to date we have offset 176,620 litres of water from the paper production process. We’ve also re-purposed over 2 trees worth of paper and… we’re only just getting started”, say the ladies of Misprint Co.

Sir Ray Avery has also been busy implementing his ideas into a social enterprise with the hope of improving access to quality healthcare on a global scale. He is the founder and CEO of Medicine Mondiale and is a key speaker at the Social Enterprise World Forum in September. Among the technology created by Medicine Mondiale, there’s LifePod, an infant incubator which is designed to be indestructible, purifies its own air and water, costs a fraction of a traditional $35,000 incubator and will run continuously for 10 years without the need for replacement parts or maintenance by trained technicians.

Social Enterprise Aligns with kaupapa Māori

While social enterprise is a relatively new term, it's existed for hundreds of years within Māori culture. The Māori word, kaitiakitanga means guardianship and protection where people have deep connection and relationship to the land and sea. People are becoming keen to learn more and to start their own 'modern' ventures and the reason for the rapid growth is because of our genuine care for people and the place we live. Māori businesses and Iwi incorporations are often structured on this principal. Where every commercial goal is driven by a social agenda.

Government Support

New Zealand is a progressive nation where we have the freedom to think through new and ingenious ways to solve problems. We seek out opportunities to use our creativity for good. As people in the community are starting to become more educated on social enterprise, the government is following suit.

A working group has been assembled to build the government’s knowledge of the sector, promote its growth and encourage the growth of social finance. Minister Alfred Ngaro, Minister for the Community and Voluntary sector, describes the group as a big focus for his work. He plans to meet with social entrepreneurs around the country, raise awareness of the sector and ask other government departments ‘to look for ways they can join up to make it easier for social enterprises.’

"We’re really lucky that New Zealand is full of smart and caring people who want to use their business acumen to do good,’ notes the Minister. ‘I’m hugely supportive of this."

Social Enterprise World Forum 2017

The largest social enterprise conference in the world is being held this year in Christchurch. Shining a light on innovative recovery initiatives after the devastating Canterbury earthquake in 2011, the city has seen a large number of social enterprises emerge and is quickly becoming a hub for entrepreneurial ventures.

This conference, hosted by social enterprise intermediary The Ākina Foundation, will provide New Zealand with the opportunity to showcase our national social enterprise sector to a global audience. A key goal of the conference is to strengthen the sector and cement the story of what it means to be a social enterprise in New Zealand.

“New Zealand has made significant progress in the last couple of years; however, our sector remains young, fragmented and underserved – we still have a way to go in terms of optimising the social and economic benefits on offer. The momentum amongst Kiwi social entrepreneurs and enterprising communities, plus their knowledge and effectiveness, will grow through this conference”, says Chief Executive of Ākina, Alex Hannant.

If you’re interested in immersing yourself in the world of social enterprise, register for Social Enterprise World Forum 2017 to join the movement and create change in your community.

This post originally appeared in the New Zealand Story website and is republished here with permission.

WASET: International Conference on Social Enterprise (ICSE)

The ICSE aims to bring together leading academic scientists, researchers and research scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results about all aspects of Social Enterprise. It also provides the premier interdisciplinary forum for researchers, practitioners and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, and concerns, practical challenges encountered and the solutions adopted in the field of Social Enterprise.

Redefining "Replication" For Social Enterprises

Social enterprises are judged by both their social impact and their ability to thrive as financially sustainable businesses. As in the strictly for-profit business realm, it makes sense to identify what successful social enterprises are doing well and to replicate those successes.

Empower Generation trains Nepalese women to sell solar lanterns in their communities. The program creates jobs and provides clean energy.

Unfortunately many, if not most, attempts at replicating social enterprises have failed, in part due to faulty assumptions that the success of a social enterprise will emulate the success of a purely for-profit business.

So what’s the best way to replicate successful social enterprises? After 14 years of working to accelerate social enterprises through its Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) methodology and programs, Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship has gained some important insights.

The place to start is by rethinking our assumptions about what both “success” and “replication” mean with respect to social enterprises.

Characterizing Successful Social Enterprises

Too often, we measure social enterprises using the same yardsticks we use for purely profit-driven enterprises—expecting social enterprises to eventually look like an Apple or a Google.

Why is that an unreasonable assumption? As much as profit-only enterprises tout their corporate social responsibility (CSR) or corporate citizenship programs, the heart of their businesses—and how their success is ultimately measured—relates to how many products or services they sell, what profit margins they achieve, and their stock prices. In this sense, every successful traditional enterprise looks very much like every other successful enterprise: it’s all about financial returns.

For social entrepreneurs, the level of social or environmental impact they can achieve is what drives them and fuels their passions. If impact were the only goal, however, social enterprises would be indistinguishable from charitable organizations. Social enterprises differ from charitable organizations in their application of business principles, earning income to support all or parts of their operations.

Imagine a social enterprise that provides clean drinking water to a village, perhaps in Kenya or Nicaragua or India. How many villagers would the enterprise need to serve with clean water to be deemed successful? Fifty percent? Eighty percent? One hundred percent? What if it reaches 100% of the villagers but can’t generate enough revenue to become self-sustaining financially or to pay back its impact investors? Is that a successful social enterprise? What if it has a perfect balance sheet but falls far short of its impact goals?

In social enterprises, success means making meaningful progress toward specific social or environmental impact goals, while also achieving as much financial self-sufficiency as possible. But the target balance between social impact and business performance will vary depending on many factors, beginning with the problem the enterprise aspires to solve. Unlike traditional enterprises, one successful social enterprise might bear little resemblance to other successful social enterprises: the impact returns vary widely.

What Replication Means for Social Enterprises

Traditionally, replication has meant finding the optimal business and technology solution to a particular problem, then copying and disseminating it. This could include setting up franchises, opening new branches or satellite operations, establishing licensing arrangements, or forming distributorships.

Of course, depending on their impact sectors and other factors, some social enterprises are well suited to replication through means such as franchising, opening up branches, and setting up strategic partnerships in the region. For instance, a social enterprise using biodigesters to convert farming waste to energy is combining opening new branches with partnerships that lower costs to entry to replicate its business model from Mexico to countries in Central America and Africa.

This approach succeeds because the fundamentals of the social enterprise—farmers that generate organic waste and communities able to use the natural fertilizer and biogas generated by the simple, affordable biodigester—are relatively similar across diverse geographies, cultures, and environments.

In contrast, consider social enterprises in off-grid clean energy. Potential solutions include micro-grids, which work well in areas of high population density. But if the population density is too low, the transmission losses from micro-grids will supersede the ability to distribute power. For communities with lower population densities, the optimal solution might be stand-alone solar home systems.

Thus, within the category of off-grid clean energy, social enterprises with similar impact goals could have quite different technology solutions for achieving those goals. Different technology solutions often require different business model solutions: individual households can purchase stand-alone solar home systems through financing plans, whereas a micro-grid solution usually requires the social enterprise to make the capital investment. Social enterprises might also need to devise different strategies for energy storage (e.g., batteries, which require correct disposal), product distribution, pricing, and other foundational issues.

What’s emerging is the need to expand the traditional definition of “replication” when applied to most social enterprises. A more useful concept is to identify sets of best practices, along with the conditions under which the social enterprises operate, to inform the development of “playbooks” that can help up-and-coming social entrepreneurs learn from the achievements and setbacks of those who have traveled similar paths before.

These playbooks could present best practices across sectors, business models, and technologies to identify key elements needed to launch social enterprises, such as target markets, capital requirements, technology needs, distribution networks, and supply chains.

Using these playbooks, social entrepreneurs addressing particular problems could overcome obstacles more quickly and efficiently, by learning from entrepreneurs who have already tackled the same problems. As a result, playbooks could reduce the risk of failure for new social enterprises by enabling their entrepreneurs to take advantage of proven approaches to financing, pricing, marketing, and/or distributing their solutions—and to use their creative energy getting to market more quickly and efficiently.

Emphasizing best practices could also reduce the risk for capital invested in social enterprises. Impact investors could use best-practices playbooks to more quickly evaluate social enterprises in a given sector, rather than evaluating each investment opportunity anew. Investors will still need to conduct full diligence on the entrepreneurs—but the technology and business model solutions would have successful precedents.

Replicating Social Enterprise Successes

Imagine identifying common technology needs and business models among many community-scale social enterprises addressing similar problems. Instead of viewing replication as cutting and pasting business models from one locale to another, we can redefine it to include applying sets of best practices. By enabling local adaptation, involving partners to bring together the right people, and documenting the process in playbooks, we could help more social enterprises to thrive and to achieve success—whatever “success” looks like in each case.

As a bonus, these shifts in how we perceive social enterprise success and replication could help mobilize and aggregate capital, including from impact investors. This, in turn, makes possible the aggregate social enterprise scaling that’s required to trigger a meaningful reduction in global challenges such as poverty, environmental degradation, and gender inequality.

This post originally appeared on the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship Blog and was written by Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., Executive Director, and Neal Harrison, Associate Director, Replication; it is republished here with permission.

NEW VENTURES MEXICO: FLII - The Latin American Impact Investing Forum


The Latin American Impact Investment Forum (FLII), organized by New Ventures Mexico, has positioned itself as the largest gathering of the region seeking to strengthen the social entrepreneurship and impact investment ecosystem. The event facilitates meetings and dialogs between the main actors from different sectors across the region: social and environmental companies, corporate, investment funds, business media, foundations, ONGs and business schools, among others. In order to strengthen the ecosystem of support and funding of social and environmental entrepreneurs, done by speeches and interviews with experts, case of success boards, workshops and panel discussions where the exchange of experiences and knowledge among attendees are key factors to find collaboration points and the promotion of joint actions.