Impact Hub Vienna at SOCAP 2014

by Christine Spernbauer and Lena Gansterer

At the beginning of September, the 11th SOCAP took place in San Francisco and hosted once again more than 2200 participants in the beautiful conference center of Fort Mason. The who is who of the global social impact scene gathered at the docks, overseeing the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, a truly scenic spot to connect to a multitude of stakeholders and to discuss current trends and the future of the impact economy.

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As SOCAP is operated by Impact Hub Bay Area and partners closely with the global Impact Hub network, the conference offers the largest Impact Hub space. Many hours were spent on experiencing the connections, collaboration and inspiration while meeting with other Impact Hub founders and makers, promising partners and many social entrepreneurs.

For the second year, selected ventures from the Investment Ready Program could participate with a scholarship in the entrepreneur track of SOCAP. Ricardo Cravo from Consulta Click, Evelina Lundqvist from Zero Waste Jam and Bernhard Hofer from talentify took the opportunity to present themselves at the entrepreneurs fair and to meet with potential investors.

It´s hard to tell whether the personal meetings aside from the agenda or the content provided in the 3 days program of 176 parallel sessions were more valuable. The topics ranged from sharing economy, impact investment, health, food systems, financial inclusion or sharings of personal experiences within the impact economy.

Sitting next to leaders from 25+ accelerator programs from around the globe in the Accelerating the Accelerators track, proved the value of best practice sharing and peer-to-peer learning. It also showed that Impact Hub Vienna has a unique approach within its acceleration activities by supporting entrepreneurs from idea stage to scale.

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This years conference theme “igniting vibrant communities” blends well with our agenda of building up the ecosystem for impact investment in Central and Eastern Europe, and it was inspiring to see the scope of the topic on a global level. To turn it into a question, what does it take to ignite vibrant communities?

Surely, gatherings that engage:

  • change agents in communities and global leaders;
  • institutional investment officers, philanthropic program officers, financial advisers, students, researchers and community development enterprises;
  • entrepreneurs from Ghana to India, Brazil to Japan, and South Africa to Canada with world-changing visions that cut across sectors and geographies

That is exactly what SOCAP ‘14 did! Impact Hub Vienna crew was happy to work and meet our partners (Lisa and Charly Kleissner from Toniic or Sarah Nichols, long-term shaper of the Impact Hub Vienna community),  who supported us to build a bridge between Vienna and San Francisco.

To check out more of SOCAP ’14 highlights, click here.

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