Friday, March 16, 2007

2007 Harvard Social Enterprise Conference

"Social Enterprise brings together the nonprofit, private, and public sectors - and puts best practices from across industries and around the globe to work toward the common good."

- Harvard Social Enterprise Conference website

Celine Ruben-Salama has written a synopsis of the most recent Harvard Social Enterprise Conference.
"Open to the public, the conference draws roughly 1000 participants and provides a forum for exploring the synergies between for-profit, non-profit, and public sector approaches to addressing critical social issues. As usual, I left the conference inspired, with new ideas and contacts. Social Enterprise is a broad umbrella term that encompasses everything from microfinance to public health to environmental sustainability to corporate social responsibility and so on. These organizations trade in goods or services, and link that trade to a social mission. The need to deliver on financial, social and environmental performance targets is often referred to as having a triple bottom line.[..]

Catherine Laine of the Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group [AIDG] offers a breakdown of the keynote presentation by Victoria Hale as well as a summary of other panel sessions. One panel session - Making People Care - was filled with a standing room only-capacity crowd. Ms. Laine commented that she hopes that corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship is going to start becoming more commonplace. She says that educational institutions such as the Harvard Business School are "starting to put more stock into it" and that the ripple effects will likely start being felt in boardrooms throughout the world over the next few years/decades.