Secretary Clinton Endorses Social Entrepreneurship Movement, to Co-Host SOCAP@State

Secretary Clinton announced in a recent speech that the State Department intends to partner with SOCAP to co-host a conference next year on social capital markets, to be called SOCAP@State.  Speaking  to the Commonwealth Club of California, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endorsed social entrepreneurs as working in alignment with the State Department’s strategic goals of fostering innovation.  Said Secretary Clinton:

Innovation is one of America’s greatest values and products and we are very committed to working with scientists and researchers and others to look for new ways to develop hardier crops or lifesaving drugs at affordable costs, working with engineers for new sources of clean energy or clean water to both stem climate change and also to improve the standard of living for people. Social entrepreneurs who marry capitalism and philanthropy are using the power of the free market to drive social and economic progress.”

Powerful words coming from the most powerful woman in the world.  As Secretary Clinton’s talk continued, it became clear her lauding of the social entrepreneurship movement was more than vocal support.  Instead, Secretary Clinton went on to formalize an announcement that is no doubt sending positive and momentous shockwaves throughout the social entrepreneurship community:

I also urge you to become involved with the social entrepreneurship movement, which is proving every day that there is money to be made through socially responsible investments. Putting financial and social capital to work is one of our goals. And next year we will host a conference for social entrepreneurs and investors in Washington, called SoCap — s-o-c-a-p — @State.

Set aside for a moment the revelation that the State Department is increasingly flat, with mentoring programs like TechWomen that pairs accomplished women in Silicon Valley with counterparts in Muslim communities around the world, a partnership that was joined by Twitter.

Fresh off a banner SoCap Conference, where more than 1,200 conference attendees discussed the intersection of money and meaning, the role of philanthropic capital in moving social innovation forward, and the possibility of social entrepreneurship as a new asset class, the social entrepreneurship movement has seen a catapulting forward into the mainstream and acceptance by global stakeholders.

Lala Faiz, Senior Partnerships Advisor working in the State Department’s Global Partnership Initiative, had this to say about the State Department’s partnership with Social Capital Markets:

“We are acutely aware that supporting the growth of social capital markets can advance our nation’s interests and values around the world. Thus, we are bringing SOCAP to State in Fall 2011 to highlight the work of leading investors, social entrepreneurs, public sector agencies and policy-makers. We aim to secure commitments that will further innovation and the expansion of social capital markets.”

Even before this announcement, Jonathan Weber wrote for the New York Times that “Conferences can be a good indicator of the health of an industry, and by that measure the emerging sector of “social entrepreneurship” appears to be booming.”  But as Sean Stannard-Stockton of Tactical Philanthropy writes, the implications of the State Department’s explicit endorsement of social entrepreneurship as a movement and social capital as a viable investment strategy are far more significant, particularly in light of President Obama’s $50 MM Social Innovation Fund.

Says Stannard-Stockton about next year’s SOCAP@State:

It will also be interesting to see how the Social Innovation Fund might leverage the gathering. Senior officials at the Fund have told me that they are very interested in supporting a “secondary market” for applicants to the Fund. The vision is that other funders may well be interested in supporting both finalists and non-finalists. The Fund’s director told me in an interview, “How we leverage this universe of applicants is a key question because they are a real asset… The goal of the Fund is not just to fund great organizations. What this is really all about is changing how capital is allocated in the philanthropic sector.” It seems to me that SoCap@State would be the perfect venue for the Fund to push this broader agenda.

Senator Clinton’s endorsement has opened up a wealth of ideas related to the growing of the social entrepreneurship asset class.  As Stannard-Stockton outlines, the tie-in of State and SOCAP could incentivize private funders of social innovation to pick up where the $50MM fund leaves off, funding finalists and even non-finalists of the fund’s grants, in recognition that their innovative ideas are nevertheless potentially world-changing and deserving of funding.

This announcement is fresh off the heels of another breakthrough announcement, by Kevin Doyle Jones, founder of Social Capital Markets and the SOCAP Conference, that SOCAPEurope will take place from May 31st to June 2nd at the historic Amsterdam Bourse in the Netherlands, considered the world’s first stock exchange.

Said Kevin Doyle Jones in an interview with

“We think it’s time to do it over again, capital markets 2.0, the social capital market, the market at the intersection of money and meaning,” he said. “And we are really interested in the ways we are planning to include indigenous voices, indigenous capital that invests against a multigenerational concept of return.”

NextBillion was also able to uncover some of the ways in which the State Department and Secretary Clinton’s global influence could assist the breakthrough success of the social entrepreneurship movement.  In regards to the resultant additions to the agenda, Managing Editor Scott Anderson writes:

There are two, top-of-mind outcomes, he said. For one, considering the corporate CEOs and the influential cultural figures with which Clinton has access, this linkup will highlight some of the people who have shaped the movement and forge new partnerships.

Secondly, they are looking at “holistic social enterprise ecosystems” that are comprised of multiple social enterprises working together. Specifically, the focus will be on collaborative projects and a mature, resilient, systems approach to things like investing in conflict zones, with commitments tied to milestones, Jones said.

The HUB LA has been a proponent of servant leadership, stakeholder capitalism, and a commitment to the development of social capital markets as a venue for incubating the next-generation of world-changing social enterprises.  As the announcement of the State Department’s partnership with the SOCAP conference indicates, global stakeholders and institutions have begun to take notice of the importance of bringing these values to light.  The rise of the social entrepreneurship movement received a massive voice of support with Secretary Clinton’s commitment to partner in developing and endorsing social entrepreneurship as a mechanism for social good and social change as well as the development of social capital markets that could completely re-conceive how business is done in the United States.

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3 Responses to “Secretary Clinton Endorses Social Entrepreneurship Movement, to Co-Host SOCAP@State”

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