Green Story was fortunate to be invited to SOCAP twice, last year and this year, as one of its select SOCAP entrepreneurs (only 150 are invited from around the world). So did we go for the second year in a row to the most interesting impact investing conference in the world? Oh yeah!
As a bonus, we didn’t get to go alone this year as we were accompanied by representatives from MaRS, the Social Ventures Zone and fellow social entrepreneurs from Canada, Access Now, Hypercare and Tamga.
So what is SOCAP? It stands for Social Capital Markets and is the biggest impact investing conference in the world. Every year, social entrepreneurs and impact investors convene in San Francisco to recharge, make deals and help make the world better! It’s such a whirlwind few days which have a month’s worth of stuff packed in it. It’s hard to pick just 5 highlights, but here goes.
Number 5 – The positivity:
Let’s face it, being a social entrepreneur is hard in the real world. SOCAP is a much needed break from the constant rejection. You get to meet bright and motivated individuals from all over the world looking to make a positive impact. It’s great to feed off the positive energy and get revitalized for another great and challenging year.
Number 4 – James Higa:
What can you say about someone who was the right hand man of Steve Jobs for 20 years and oversaw the release of pretty much all of the i-products? Let’s start with Wow! James’s talk was inspiring on many levels. The advice he gave was not earth shattering but it came from a place of wisdom and experience. He has walked the talk for many years. My biggest takeaway? Simplicity is about clarity, whether it be your product or purpose, if you’re clear in your vision, you will do well.
Number 3 – The Dutch do it right:
If we’re honest, most people snuck into the Dutch social innovation talk for the great slave-free, fair-trade chocolate. What they got was so much more. It’s amazing to see how the Netherlands has built up a social innovation system from the grass roots and how the government has stepped in to support in just the right way. We meet a lot of inspiring entrepreneurs from the region, from the aforementioned chocolate manufactures (Tony’s) to water ATMs for remote areas (Susteq).
Number 2 – The food truck party:
This was for the glutton in all of us. Same as every year, SOCAP brought out the best food trucks that San Francisco had to offer. Not only was it a great chance to pig out (and with the help of the Canadian crew pictured above, we did), it was also a great open space to meet new people.
Number 1 – Having great meetings every second:
Speaking of meeting new people, my number one highlight was the accidental meetings with wonderful people that keep happening at SOCAP. From our awesome clients Tamga Designs to impact investors like the Cordes Foundation that we met after the ethical fashion session, SOCAP is a breeding ground for great meetings. You don’t have to do much, just hang out in the Impact Hub and you’ll meet people who can change your life.
Bonus – The Cotton Diaries:
Maybe it was the social innovation hangover of SOCAP or maybe it’s just California, but the Saturday after the event, I ran into Marzia Lanfranchi of Cotton Diaries. Her innovative documentary already won the Textile Exchange’s Organic Cotton Round Table Innovation Award! And guess what? Green Story will be in it! Stay tuned…
Overall SOCAP is always an exciting time for us and there were a lot of takeaways. We can’t wait for next year.