Rhode Island Summit to Connect, Convene Social Enterprises

Rhode Island Summit to Connect, Convene Social Enterprises

Nov. 5 SERI Summit exploring social enterprise in the next economy

The social enterprise community in Rhode Island is convening Nov. 5 to share inspiring stories, learn about launching and growing social ventures, and connect with some of the leading innovators in the state.

This is the second annual Social Enterprise Rhode Island (SERI) Summit, hosted by Social Venture Partners Rhode Island (SVPRI), and will focus on social enterprise in Rhode Island’s next economy.

Tony Silbert, an executive SVPRI board member and principal of Innovation Partners International, says they were amazed to have more than 350 people attend last year’s summit.

Silbert notes they have found higher leverage through hosting an event that brings together and connects the community, and is excited to have Social Venture Partners International attending this year.

Social Venture Partners is a network of individuals who want to make the world a better place. Engagement is fundamental to the model, as well as money — partners give their time, professional skills and creativity to work in partnership with local non-profits to bring about positive social change.

Rhode Island is a “hot bed” for social entrepreneurs, says Silbert. There are more than 100 social enterprises in the state, and more than 500 Rhode Islanders have supported the SERI movement during the last year.

Jen Hetzel Silbert, also an executive SVPRI board member and Innovation Partners International principal, notes Rhode Island has been historically known for importing college freshmen and exporting college seniors.

“Social Venture Partners RI is radically transforming that reputation, in fact it is turning it all on its head,” she says.

She adds the state has a unique concentration of high quality universities, and through incubation and mentoring programs they are helping create a pipeline of social ventures.

“(Entrepreneurs) are putting their passions together with purpose, they are creating that nexus of new, smart consumer power with a social mission attached to it, and this generation really get it unlike any other,” says Hetzel Silbert.

She notes locally they are experiencing entrepreneurs graduating from college and creating jobs that employ the difficult to employ, promoting self-sufficiency and reducing dependency on social services across the state.

Hetzel Silbert says her hope for the social enterprise movement is to see others consider engaged philanthropy through Social Venture Partners.

“The more we give of our time and our energy, our passion and our talent, the more we’ll really be the change we want to be in this world,” she says.

“We’re in a time where we’re all being called to a new level of giving in a way that’s not just financial but it’s about engaging, it’s about creating and strengthening community, it’s about connecting networks,” she adds.

Silbert says he also sees hope in having social enterprises across the U.S. and the world coming together on an international level,

“This is the start to the tipping point, hopefully,” he says.

New at the SERI Summit is a SERI Sales component, which creates matchmaker opportunities between social ventures and to connect ventures with buyers. Over the past months SVPRI members have mentored 15 social ventures who will be giving a one-minute pitch at the summit.

Silbert notes the mentors also plan to use their relational or social capital to connect the social ventures with networks across the state and New England.

At the end of the day, organizers will make a commitment announcement and share all the matches that have taken place.  

The Summit will also feature a Buy with Heart marketplace, showcasing the products of social enterprises during lunch and breaks and providing participants the opportunity to be a consumer.

The agenda features social enterprise innovation stories, the Buy With Heart pitches, a keynote speaker, seminar sessions focusing on social enterprise in practice and a networking reception.

The Nov. 5 SERI Summit runs from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island, in the MAC Center.

To register or learn more, visit http://www.socialenterpriseri.org/.

To read a recent article co-authored by SVPRI executive director Kelly Ramirez, click here.

If you have feedback on this article, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 26, or e-mail jennifer(at)axiomnews.ca.

 

 

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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: jennifer@axiomnews.ca, or 705-741-4421 ext. 26.

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