One part of technology, two parts of social innovation, mixed with a generous deal of good intentions and a pinch of thoughtful investments: voilà! We have a recipe for successful social entrepreneurship. Horyou blog is media partner of the Social Good Summit, an impact investment and social innovation event which took place in Geneva on the 6th of October, during which we followed the journey of real-life changemakers and now share their stories!
Organized by Impact Hub in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the one-day event was focused on promoting social entrepreneurship and impact investing for the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Dozens of entrepreneurs, investors, media and organizations shared success stories and inspiration to transform the world into a better place.
The opening speech was delivered by Sarah Bel and Maria Luisa Silva, from UNDP who called for the engagement of all actors to pursue the agenda of SDGs. The private sector and innovators are key participants on this social good path as “we will need an incredible amount of innovation in the next 15 years, and that’s exactly what the private sector does better”, said Maria Luisa. Karen Wilson, from the OECD, asked: “Why invest in social innovation? Because it makes good business sense – it is an innovative and increasingly accountable way to diversify portfolios”.
The Summit was then open to the real stories of young and brave finalists of Accelerate 2030, a social impact supporting program which received more than 177 applications from 10 countries. The 5 best projects were presented during the Social Good Summit. There were amazing stories such as Agruppa’s, a Colombian startup who has helped small food shop owners to buy 30% cheaper and be more competitive only by aggregating their demand in a mobile technology solution; or Ignitia’s, a tropical weather forecast company much more accurate and with a strong focus on small farmers from climate change vulnerable areas in Africa.
All the entrepreneurs gave a short pitch to the audience and then answered questions about their business models, challenges, potential grey areas and future developments. All of them were looking for investors and shared their prospective plans with a very engaged public.
Many of them face the challenge of maximizing their impact. “Good leadership, quick learning and simple business models are important drivers”, said John Ayliffee, CEO of Swiss Idea Box. Access to talent and to financing are also challenges, according to Krisztina Tora, from the UNLTD, especially in developing countries – difficulties like finding good back office professionals were mentioned by some entrepreneurs during the event. All of the speakers shared a vision for 2030: a world with equal opportunities for all social entrepreneurs, shared business models and markets. Deeper and broader positive impact on society.
Investors also had the opportunity to express their views on innovative ventures. Bertrand Gacon, from Lombard Obier bank, sees mainstream investors increasingly accepting the idea of impact investments – he believes entrepreneurs still have to work on liquidity mechanisms to be more attractive. Katherine Millinga, from Schwab Foundation, added that social enterprises should leverage technology, distribution and aggregation solutions to attract more investors.
Aymeric Jung, from Quadia, believes sustainable businesses are a matter of survival. “Impact investing is the new economy”, he said. Ivan Agabekov, from INOKS, explained impact is not a subcategory of investment – according to him, performance and impact should not be excluding.
The Social Good Summit ended with their visions of the future – a more impactful one, with more innovative and profitable social entrepreneurs and a true aim to turn the Sustainable Development Goals into reality. Being a strong supporter of the SDGs, Horyou shares their views and believes that the future lies in social innovation & social good. 2030, here we go!
Written by Vívian Soares