Six Topics for 2012 Good Enterprise Conferences

It’s (still kind of) the beginning of the year, so perhaps no surprise, but just today, I was asked for program input on three national conferences on local business, socially-responsible business, and the nonprofit sector. Which is kind of lovely, because that is the intersection where my team and professional buddies hang out. The queries forced me to slow down and consider: what are the big ideas that we’re working in and under. And that we’d love to dig deeper into and hear from colleagues on.

So, with that, here are some of the topics/big themes we’re working on:

• Hyperlocal innovation and job creation through social enterprise and socially-responsible small business.

• Funders and impact investors. What do they want and need to step up investment in this sector in a major way. How can we really improve enterprise readiness for significant funding and how can we encourage freer release of capital?

• Unusual Suspects. Connecting with nontraditional, unexpected players for job creation, social enterprise support, resource sharing, community impact investment, revenues, and community wealth.

• Beyond the Benefits. After the legislation (benefit corporation and L3C and flexible purpose laws), what happens next? How  these laws could be (but as of yet, are not being) leveraged in practical ways to help grow common good enterprises. This is mostly work that will happen off the national stage in state and local level administrative levels. But that’s where rubber meets the road in neighborhoods, business districts, and rural areas that need the economy to step up.

• “Modern” microlending models that include wrap around or at least some key social system supports, and that include village or collective cooperatives (both U.S. and international examples)

• What’s new in fundraising (along with what’s “old” and doesn’t change), such as crowdsourcing, the “democratization” of philanthropy, the increasingly crowded asking market.

Obviously, we’d love to put together sessions or panels on these topics. And hear more from colleagues about what they are doing and learning in these areas.