Backing the change-makers in a time of uncertainty: can we do more?
Dublin, 13-14 November 2012
The 8th EVPA Annual Conference, which took place in Dublin on 13-14 November 2012, addressed the question “Backing the change-makers in a time of uncertainty: can we do more?” The conclusion was that we can and should do more. As Conference Chair David Gold and EVPA CEO Kurt Peleman remarked in their closing session, we need to learn from each other – also from failures. Innovation is not only about the new but also about doing things better.
The conference gathered around 400 leaders from a variety of sectors, such as VP and social investment funds, PE/VC firms, donors, advisory firms, foundations, banks, academics and some selected social entrepreneurs. It confirmed one of the key distinguishing factors of EVPA: the capacity to attract and gather diverse players to discuss, share and create greater knowledge.
The keynote speakers included Katinka Greve-Leiner, Director of Ferd Social Entrepreneurs, who promptly and successfully took over the place of Johan Andresenwho unfortunately could only join us via Skype for questions at the end of the session. Katinka moved the audience with the personal story of the richest man in Norway, Owner and CEO of FERD, who became a celebrity and advocate of social entrepreneurship. In addition to his purely commercial businesses, has set up FERD Social Entrepreneurs with the aim of supporting social purpose organisations. Johan’s story is an example of how if capitalism is used right it can be a powerful force in supporting social change.
Further keynotes included Paul Carttar, Former Director of the Obama’s Social Innovation Fund, who showed how government and venture philanthropy can work together by drawing attention to his personal journey and experience. His key message was that both government and VP are critical and necessary to realizing the potential of social change. However, both are under-performing and must do better. VP organisations should see governments not only as grant-makers. They should also propose solutions to them.
Finally Mary Robinson, President of the Mary Robinson Foundation, inspired delegates and highlighted the need of change-makers with a passion for social justice to really make a difference in difficult times. She highlighted that there is no Plan B and urged world leaders to begin looking at problems from the standpoint of those experiencing the hardships and to do more not only combat climate change, but also work to improve healthcare and education.
The parallel sessions on the second day of the conference (14 November) covered a number of issues – from venture philanthropy in practice, latest trends, to developments in the sector. This year, for the first time, participants had the possibility to join site visits to Dublin based social entrepreneurs.
The main networking event took place in Trinity College and delegates were joined by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Prime Minister of Ireland.
The full report is available for download here.
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The 2012 Annual Conference was generously supported by: