Social Venture Institute Creates Transformative Experiences

Social Venture Institute Creates Transformative Experiences

Event convenes socially-conscious entrepreneurs, investors and leaders

Socially-conscious CEOs, entrepreneurs and investors will be sharing their experiences in a rejuvenating environment at Social Venture Institute (SVI) Sept. 14-18.

The 16th annual SVI Hollyhock takes place at the Hollyhock Centre on Cortes Island in British Columbia, an internationally renowned centre for learning and well-being.

Presented by Renewal and Social Venture Network, SVI was founded by Gary Hirshberg, president and CEO of Stonyfield Farm.

  Pamela Chaloult

Pamela Chaloult, Renewal managing director and SVI producer, says it is inspiring to have 140 people come together who share values and the desire to use business for social good.

“There is a generosity and intimacy that is created,” she tells Axiom News, noting this is because of the people and the Hollyhock venue.

Participants set aside five days for intense growth that is both personal and business-related.

“We blend business, spirituality and personal growth all into the mix which really provides a very potent container,” says Chaloult.

The interactive and experiential format includes case studies, where participants present their current business problems to a faculty of experienced business leaders and fellow participants for advice.

Smaller business problem-solving groups also take place.

In the evenings, participants hear true confessions from leading entrepreneurs who share about their journey in creating and growing a socially-responsible business.

The agenda also includes workshops around a variety of topics, roundtable feedback sessions, a marketplace of ideas and one-on-one consultants.

Each day features activities to experience the environment such as yoga, hiking, kayaking and silent meditation sessions.

Elizabeth Crook, CEO of Orchard Advisors, has attended SVI Hollyhock 10 times, each time as a faculty member. This year she is leading a workshop on creating a strategic framework guided by purpose and values.

She says she is looking forward to meeting new people, reconnecting with friends she sees every year, and being inspired.

“What I walk away with is the determination and ingenuity entrepreneurs apply to making the company and their cause have an impact,” says Crook.

She notes there is an open sharing of challenges and expertise, where everyone is a student and a teacher.

Denise Taschereau, co-founder of Fairware, a sustainable promotional products company, first attended SVI five years ago.

“One of the most powerful things I walked away with was a sense of community and camaraderie, that I was part of a bigger movement focused on leveraging business for social and environmental impact,” says Taschereau.

This year Taschereau is attending with her business partner and says they are looking forward to the time to re-charge.

“I hope the time at SVI will help shape the next five years of growth for our business, that it will inspire us and connect us with a group of mission-based entrepreneurs that will help us take it to the next level,” says Taschereau.

Chaloult says when she leaves an SVI she is “speechless” because of the transformation that happens to people during the experience.

“People walk in all rushed, looking at their BlackBerries, wondering why they decided to take four days off from their businesses and how are they ever going to manage doing it all.

“Then by Sunday morning when they leave their eyes are shining more brightly, they have a whole new group of advocates for their work and some friends that are going to support them and opportunities for their businesses that they would have never imagined,” says Chaloult.

She adds people go back to their businesses better people, creating an “amazing” ripple effect to make their businesses and communities better.

Chaloult says the result is inspiring, humbling and hopeful.

To learn more, visit this link.

If you have feedback on this article, please contact Jennifer at 800-294-0051, ext. 26, or email jennifer(at)

Writer Bio

Jennifer Neutel's picture
Jennifer Neutel

Jennifer Neutel is a Story Advocate and Generative Journalist at Axiom News. She completed her Bachelor of Journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa in 2006, and joined Axiom News in 2007. She has taken on a variety of roles at Axiom including new social media intiatives and has a passion for creating strengths-based questions that can lead to positive change.

Contact Jennifer:, or 705-741-4421 ext. 26.

Reprint This Story

Axiom News content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Stories may be reprinted in their entirety with permission and when appropriately credited.

Please contact Axiom News at
1-800-294-0051 for more information.