The University of Notre Dame will hold its second annual Irish Impact Social Entrepreneurship Conference on October 2-4 in the Mendoza College of Business. The Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship and the Fellow Irish Social Hub are putting on the event, which will gather some of the most prominent social innovators.
The conference is designed to enhance networking among social entrepreneurs and the Notre Dame community. Various sessions aim to improve the understanding of what “rate of return” means for social ventures. Goals for the conference also include introducing strategies for seeking funding sources.
Highlights of the three-day conference include: the Zielsdorf Family Investment Pitch session, where judges will hear live funding pitches from experienced social entrepreneurs; the Irish Opportunity Fair, featuring over 50 social entrepreneurs who will discuss their endeavors; and the Irish Impact Awards, which congratulate organizations and individuals whose entrepreneurial efforts have had significant social impact.
Noted conference participants include: Alexandra LaForge of Investors' Circle; John Tyler of the Kauffman Foundation; Greg Van Kirk, co-founder of The New Development Solutions Group and the Schwab Foundation’s 2012 Social Entrepreneur of the Year; Paula Cardenau, co-founder and director of Njambre, the first Impact Innovation Enterprises Builder and Accelerator in the Southern Cone; and Stephen Keppel, director of empowerment initiatives at Univision News.
The conference is open to students, faculty and staff of the Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College and Holy Cross College communities. However, the public is especially invited to attend the keynote talk on Thursday, October 3 given by David Bornstein, entitled, “Getting Smarter About Change: Social Entrepreneurship’s Age of Enlightenment.” Bornstein, a journalist and author who specializes in social innovation, is the co-author of the “Fixes” column in The New York Times Opinionator section and is the co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network. He has published a few books and is currently writing one on social innovation in the U.S. and Canada.
The Irish Impact Social Entrepreneurship Conference is made possible with the support of the Robert L. (Class of 1965) and Frances J Zielsdorf Foundation. The Zielsdorfs are longtime supporters of Notre Dame and its Center for Social Concerns; they view the opportunity to support this conference as a way to help instill the idea that elements of capitalism can be used for good.
The complete schedule for the conference can be found online.