Saturday, November 10, 2012

Five reasons why Connecticut is uniquely positioned to become a hub of social enterprise

1)  We have many local examples of social enterprise to brag on: Newman’s Own, Jackson Labs, Firebox Restaurant, The Walker Group, Good Cause Gifts, Kanai Sports...  Large, small, old, new, nonprofit and for-profit - each helps demonstrate the social enterprise model is not only viable but scalable, satisfying, and sometimes wildly successful.

2)  We have the money. Connecticut has a lot of wealthy people and many of these people are interested in impact investing – putting their money where it will create a positive social impact.

3)  We have important institutions:  Trinity, Yale, Wesleyan, Quinnipiac, Conn College, University of St Joe's, Uconn.  Each of this institutions either has or is in the process of introducing social enterprise into their curriculum in some way, in large part because there is a huge demand coming from students.  These are the social entrepreneurs of the future, and they are hatching here.

4)  We have reSET which has been building a coalition of interested parties and people and which has been working on ways to ensure that Connecticut becomes a hub of social enterprise:  Introducing legislation, creating an Investment Fund, creating a social enterprise competition, setting up a social enterprise incubator in Hartford.

5)  We have a history and a culture of social innovation. The Wadsworth Atheneum, Bushnell Park, Harriet Beecher Stowe, The boys and girls club. These represented revolutionary social innovation in their day.   It's in our blood.  Social enterprise is an opportunity to capitalize on all of this and reassert our heritage as social innovators.