SOCAP is the world’s leading conference activating the capital markets to drive positive social and environmental impact – convening the marketplace at the intersection of money and meaning. The conference brings together impact investors, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, business leaders and other innovators from across the world in a unique cross-sector approach to catalyze collaboration for change. Kicking off a new decade of impact at SOCAP18, we have gathered over 20,000 people in the past ten years to accelerate the flow of capital for good.
"This industry uses the power of finance and business to make the world a better place, and SOCAP, which is the biggest convener of all the main stakeholders in the industry, is a big part of the reason why."
– Huffington Post,
As always, at the core of our gathering are conversations that squarely focus on the why and the how of impact investing – the state of the field, new product innovation, infrastructure and service providers, impact measurement and evaluation, and global development of the impact investing ecosystem.
Conversations that elevate meaning inside and outside of markets are a foundational element of SOCAP, because integrating our beliefs, communities, and families into conversations about business and value will lead us to a more sustainable future.
Gender + Markets
Long before #metoo and Time’s Up, core members of the SOCAP community raised issues of gender equity, women’s empowerment, and investing in women and girls. This community has advanced conversations around a gender lens in investing and entrepreneurship for many years and we’re seeing many new developments in this field to elevate gender to a central theme of SOCAP19.
The conversations and organizational change sparked by the inaugural Racial Equity track at SOCAP17 have continued across other convenings and collaborations this past year. We will continue to deeply explore this complex topic to support all stakeholders building the impact economy in setting a foundation of racial equity, and prioritizing a diversity of perspectives for truly inclusive organizations and practices.
Real estate is an anchor of the market in most places and investors can transform communities by applying a lens of affordability, walkability, transportation, access to healthy food, services, and other considerations that bring a more holistic and sustainable approach to development. Institutional-scale investment opportunities are emerging that build on conversations of affordable housing, creative placemaking, and social determinants of health from previous SOCAP programs.
An amazing range of stakeholders in the African impact ecosystem reached out this year to support a greater presence of African entrepreneurs and investors at SOCAP18. With help from various ecosystem builders, we will have a robust discussion of the gaps and opportunities in social capital markets across the continent, and specific to regions and sectors, with African representation much greater than previous years.
In the field of international development, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have catalyzed a wave of new public-private partnerships to drive more capital into achieving the global goals. As a longtime platform for breaking down silos, SOCAP is thrilled to host conversations of innovative financial instruments that meet the risk, return, and impact expectations of a range of investors to unlock more capital to address social and environmental challenges.
How might we design waste out of systems, and build an economy that is restorative and regenerative? Beyond being an interesting theoretical concept, recent work to shift various (food, fashion, consumer packaging, electronics) systems toward a circular economy is uncovering massive investment opportunities that are showing up all across the ecosystem, engaging corporate, seed stage, and institutional investors among others
Alternative Ownership Models
Employee ownership is a powerful alternative to the extractive nexus of corporations and mainstream finance. And other ownership structures go further, challenging the concept of ownership itself. We will explore innovations in the ownership space and detail how investors and entrepreneurs can think about implementing alternative ownership structures: multi-stakeholder, multi-generational, non-permanent.
Indigenous Peoples constitute the largest minority in the world at almost 5% of the global population, and their traditions offer valuable wisdom on environmental stewardship, health, community, and more. However, investment into indigenous communities can be misunderstood and difficult to access, and requires nuanced cultural understanding. Welcoming leaders of indigenous finance and entrepreneurship will add ancient insight and new opportunities to this year’s conversation.
The mass movement of more than 68 million men, women, and children cannot be ignored or kicked down the road–it is an urgent social and environmental crisis. Investors, entrepreneurs, and corporations are elevating the conversation and identifying the investment opportunities to respond to the refugee crisis and build a new paradigm of inclusive economic prosperity.
Blockchain for Impact
Though cryptocurrency has attracted a lot of hype and skepticism, there are important applications for blockchain technology within the social impact space. Experts exploring the world-changing potential of blockchain will explain and share insights around opportunities for financial inclusion, supply chain transparency, human rights, digital identity for vulnerable populations, and more.
This year’s tax bill included the “Investing in Opportunity Act”, which has led to the designation of “opportunity zones” in every state, which can now attract significant private capital due the capital gains incentives laid out in the bill. Ensuring that this new influx of capital results in the intended impact – to promote revitalization and inclusive economic development for previously distressed communities – is one of the biggest opportunities and challenges for the impact investing field this year.