Hosted by the Social Enterprise Initiative

Business for Social Impact Forum

May 6 -7, 2014


Social Enterprise

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Never has there been a time when so many believed in both the ability and responsibility of business to combat the world’s greatest social challenges. Recent years have seen the creation of thousands of businesses across the globe providing goods and services to consumers at the base of the socio-economic pyramid. This influx has been accompanied by the emergence of new approaches to investing dedicated to generating significant social impact. Today’s young leaders and the next generation of high net worth individuals aim to build their businesses and invest their wealth in endeavors to fight hunger, bring clean water, education, and healthcare to the world’s poor, and end homelessness. Large scale institutional investors are examining how to generate a positive social return at market rates of return.

The Business for Social Impact Forum will gather a group of innovative practitioners and thought leaders who engage with businesses that attempt to create significant social impact while simultaneously achieving their financial goals. We will focus on businesses that serve segments of the population who earn less than $10/day (with adjustments for purchasing power parity) and the investors in such enterprises who seek both financial and social returns, with the goal of highlighting best practices while also drawing out the limitations of such business models. What has business done well? What has it done poorly? And what should it do to enhance its impact? The forum will explore these questions through a deep dive into three topics: business models at the base of the pyramid (B-Bop), innovations in impact investing, and defining what financial and social success means.

As the Social Enterprise Initiative commemorates its 20th anniversary, this forum will help to advance and set the stage for some of the issues that will shape the next decade for both the Initiative and the field of practice. We hope that these discussions will further our understanding of the role and contributions of business in society. This forum, which is by invitation only, will begin on Tuesday, May 6 in the morning and end on Wednesday, May 7 at midday.