How we started and grew.
Impact Circles started out as "Social Entrepreneurs Meetup," a monthly meetup event for social entrepreneurs and those interested in social impact. It existed because the three passionate community builders were frustrated by the disconnect among social innovators, grassroots non-profits, funders, and policymakers. The idea was to create a series of events to bring together changemakers across the sectors to exchange their perspectives on public issues, identify barriers, and explore synergies for creating positive changes.
In January 2019, the first event was held with over 30 individuals on the IFC rooftop. They found that the crowd had a tremendous appetite for having a platform for dialogue about the complex challenges we are facing and for connecting with their fellow changemakers. Within two years, Social Entrepreneurs Meetup has grown into a community of 2,000+ members with diverse backgrounds through monthly meetup events and discussions in the WhatsApp groups.
To consolidate resources due to the rapid growth of the global audience, Social Entrepreneurs Meetup was rebranded into Impact Circles. Taking inspiration from TEDx, Impact Circles adopts decentralized governance by empowering the community builders to organize their own local chapters with Impact Circles' community-building tools and network.
In 2020. A former member of Social Entrepreneurs Meetup Hong Kong - Jessie Yang - successfully replicated the meetup model and started a Taiwan chapter. Its strategic direction is to connect local social entrepreneurs with the international community.
In 2021, Jessie Huang and Amy Meadows co-launched Impact Circles' San Francisco network. They are exploring opportunities to scale its impact through producing mini-documentary series about social enterprises and worker-owned businesses.
From 2021 - 22, we started collaborating with Hong Kong's Bureau of Commerce and Economic Development, on startup needs assessment and funding schemes promotion. We also partnered with KPMG and EY on impact startup outreach and mentorship program. Impact Circles is increasingly recognized as a bridge between grassroots social innovators and resources allocators.