November 15, 2017

Over 500 participants exchanged ideas on taking action for social impact during the 13th EVPA Annual Conference

Over 500 actors interested in social impact, from 45 countries gathered between 9 and 10 November, in Oslo, Norway, to find ways to build new solutions for society during the 13th European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) Annual Conference themed Guiding lights organised in partnership with Ferd Social Entrepreneurs.

Over 500 Participants From 45 Countries Present At The 2017 Evpa Annual Conference In Oslo

In his keynote speech, Sean Hinton, Director of the Open Society Economic Advancement Program and CEO of the Soros Economic Development Fund, underlined that risk-taking, knowing your customers, and backing teams is the key to bring together the soul of philanthropy with the spirit of investing.

Cooperating with multiple actors in the sector and taking risks when supporting social purpose organisations are two main elements participants identified as essential in order to build solutions that contribute to improving the society we live in.

This is one of the largest and most established conferences in social investment and venture philanthropy, bringing together European social investors, social enterprises, grantees, venture philanthropy organisations, business representatives, academics and policy makers from a variety of countries. This year’s conference has been supported by FERD, Oslo Kommune, Sparebankstiftelsen/DNB, Sparebankstiftelsen Oestfold A, TD Veen.

I am grateful for the community arriving here in Oslo. This conference means a lot for putting venture philanthropy on the map. It gave many people from the Nordics a chance to see what kind of people are in the sector in many other countries, and the competences they bring with them. I think the conference is a good starting point for more Nordic actors to join the venture philanthropy space. The conference gave me a sense of common goals. We are a community ready to act, to solve problems, and to spread solutions., declared Katinka Greve Leiner, Director of Ferd Social Entrepreneurs.

This conference is the place to learn and to openly exchange thoughts, struggles and get inspiration from others. As social funders, we need to take risks and accept failure. We cannot pick a few winners, but we should support solution development based on the potential impact, even when success is not a given. Taking risks is worth it when we can change things for the better in our society. Also, more than ever, we need to collaborate with other actors not only in stages, but simultaneous both as entrepreneurs and amongst funders. This must be a collaborative exercise with many other actors such as governments, corporates, foundations, and investors because producing sustainable change is a massive effort., said Bernard Uyttendaele, EVPA CEO.

In 2018, the EVPA Annual Conference will head to Warsaw, Poland. Currently, only 2% of venture philanthropy investments are allocated to CEE, while 67% go to Western Europe. Social entrepreneurs face difficulties in accessing patient early stage capital that does not demand high financial returns. By organising the 14th EVPA Annual Conference in CEE, EVPA hopes to build a different message around the region, to increase resources and bring new actors into the sector.

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