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Past events, discussions, and research papers.


Reimagine Coop Model For Our Future Workplace

A “cooperative” is an organization or business owned and operated for the benefit of its members. Unlike corporations, the earnings and profits are distributed among its members, users, or owners. Cooperative economics has been practiced for centuries and is the most prominent form of an economic organization today. From the People Cooperative Bank in Jamaica (1906), to collectively managed sugar cane production in the United States Virgin Islands (1950), and collective farms in rural China (1955), humans faced our common needs, challenges, limited resources, disenfranchisement, by shifting to cooperation as a natural way for diffusing risks and optimizing farm outcomes.

Are “co-ops” dead, or still viable? Are there viable ways to create worker-owned companies? How do co-ops fundraise and why do investors invest in a co-op?

In this panel discussion, we are going to hear their reflection on the co-op they each created and the cutting-edge models they developed that provide you a new perspective of looking at our future workspaces.

Social Enterprise Corporate Relations: Navigating Market Demand for Social Good Products and Services

In our last survey with the community, we found that more than 50% of the social entrepreneurs included "corporate partnership" as a challenge to business growth. Increasingly, there are more startups and social enterprises who struggle to understand the response to the market demand from the corporates. While they struggle to find new income sources, corporates have their own pain points as they enter partnerships with social enterprises.

In this session, we will learn from the speakers and discuss: 

- How do we frame and understand corporate CSR/CSV?
- How do corporates curate their social impact partners/ procure their products?

- Challenges of cross-sector collaboration from corporates' perspectives

- Opportunities for the mission-driven organizations in pursuing a partnership with corporations during and after the pandemic?

Urban Resilience and Social Innovation in the San Francisco and China's Bay Areas

San Francisco and China’s Bay Areas share many commonalities: both are innovation hubs with rich offerings in financial resources and talents. Both hubs also similarly enjoy a high level of urbanization and community diversity. However, the two areas have limited knowledge exchange in pandemic coping strategies, which could be leveraged to replicate or scale-up solutions for building urban resilience.

In this webinar, we will explore how social entrepreneurs and innovators have responded to the crisis and helped their communities to become more resilient under the CRF. Our speakers will answer some key questions including:

  • What does social innovation entail in the context of COVID-19?

  • What are some innovative examples of building city resiliency given the CRF?

  • How can social innovators & civil society synergize with NGOs, businesses, and policy-makers?

  • What are the outstanding gaps, and how can the different players fill these gaps?


Social Innovation during COVID: New Frontline in Private and Social Sectors

COVID-19 is attacking societies at their core and increase the need for social innovations to help those most vulnerable. In the SF Bay Area, low-income neighborhoods are disproportionately hit by coronavirus cases. The number of tents in the historic neighborhood has “exploded by 285% since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.“ In the United States, millions of low-income people may lack access to health care due to being uninsured or underinsured. Or, many of them lost their health insurance after losing their jobs.

In this session, we will learn from the speakers and discuss:

  • How did their organizations respond to the increasing demand for public services in the vulnerable communities (i.e. healthcare, shelter, access to personal protection equipment, employment opportunities)?

  • How do they strike a balance between business sustainability and their commitment to the beneficiary groups?

  • Is there any new collaboration among the private and civil sector players to address the above-mentioned social issues? How does each sector complement one another practically?


Financial Inclusion: A Conversation with Alex Counts of Grameen Foundation

after having worked in microfinance and poverty reduction for 10 years. A Cornell University graduate, Counts’ commitment to poverty eradication deepened as a Fulbright scholar in Bangladesh, where he witnessed innovative poverty solutions being developed by Grameen Bank. He trained under Professor Muhammad Yunus, the founder and managing director of Grameen Bank, and co-recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.

PART 1: The need for better governance and private sector participation in social entrepreneurship: Alex's journey and insight as a social entrepreneur and poverty alleviation, hat differentiates successful social enterprises and the need for social enterprises to strive for better governance structure in order to facilitate and enable greater contribution from the private sector in the long run.

PART 2: Innovation in financial services - the key to social innovation and social change? Is this a new era where innovative financial services will bring breakthrough in financial inclusion and lasting social change?



Gender & inclusion

"Would be great to see more gender diversity on the judging panel, tho. 10 out of 10 are men..."

"This is actually quite funny - what a culturally homogeneous group a first glance, not often that you see a panel like this these days."


"So, I still have the silly question, for corp, e.g., I donate 1m, to charity, how much does it help on the ESG? I hosted 10 charity events , then how does it help my ESG? As mgt, I would like to see a quantifiable monetary returns on my donations in terms of ESG. At least, how much should I allocate thrbt budget on ESG in order to upgrade my ESG rating for one grade?"



Rediscovering Social Innovation

Social entrepreneurship and social enterprise have become popular and positive rallying points for those trying to improve the world, but social innovation is a better vehicle for understanding and creating social change in all of its manifestations.

Creating Shared Value

Companies can move beyond corporate social responsibility and gain a competitive advantage by including social and environmental considerations in their strategies.

Social Innovation A Guide to Achieving Corporate and Societal Value

Schwab Foundation For Social Entrepreneurship & World Economic Forum

Why social innovation matters to business? What are the business benefits to pursuing social innovation? How to get started?

Creating a Common Language for Cross-sector Collaboration

A framework for visualizing problems and a common language for talking about them can make all the difference.

Locating Social Entrepreneurship in the Global South: Innovations in Development Aid

Zeppelin University Allison & Wilson Center

There is no “fortune at the bottom of the pyramid” waiting to be discovered. Instead, the challenge for companies is to learn how to create a fortune with the base of the pyramid.

Social Entrepreneurship: The Case for Definition

Social entrepreneurship is attracting growing amounts of talent, money, and attention, but along with its increasing popularity has come less certainty about what exactly a social entrepreneur is and does.



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