Friday, January 22, 2010

Social Enterprise Alliance Summit

As I head off to the WEF Summit in Davos, I'm also excited about the Social Enterprise Alliance Summit coming up in San Francisco at the end of April. The membership of the Alliance are "my people," folks who speak both social and business fluently.

The response to the early bird registration was incredible. We had to extend the early bird a week (actually, from last Friday to today) for member organizations to make sure everybody who wanted to register early got their double-discount (being a member and being an early bird). Benetech is sending four of our team, including me. We're really looking forward to it.

This year's Summit is special because we're cohosting the Social Enterprise World Forum, which was held in Scotland and Australia the last two years (I got to go to the first one in Scotland: it was incredible to see how vibrant and successful the movement is in the UK). So, we're expecting a great turnout from our international peers in the social enterprise movement.

The environment is also conspiring to make this a hot ticket: social enterprise and social innovation are big this year following our little global economic blip. Greed for its own sake is out of fashion (well, except for on Wall Street and in the big banks). Many consumer-facing companies are realizing that issues around the environment, food safety, local sourcing, employee relations and the like aren't frill topics: getting them wrong can trash your business. I see more and more forward looking companies engaging with the social enterprise sector and its values, and I think that will be good for our society. Business is an incredible engine for change: let's make sure it's going in a good direction for both society and for shareholders!

Hope to see you in San Francisco for the SEA Summit (and if you're an SEA member, today's your shot at getting your double discount on the conference!).

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