Bringing the exploration of the Pioneer Gap to one of the nation's largest social enterprise gatherings, Upaya Board Chair Kate Cochran presented alongside Grassroots Business Fund COO Robert Webster and Lumana Village Ventures co-founder Sammie Rayner at the Social Capital Markets 2013 (SOCAP13) conference in San Francisco.
Moderated by NextBillion.net Managing Editor Scott Anderson, the panel explored the challenges impact investors face in supporting entrepreneurs in the startup phase and how different organizations - Upaya included - have developed creative models for filling the void.
(L to R) Scott Anderson, Kate Cochran, Robert Webster, and Sammie Rayner discuss enterprise support in the Pioneer Gap at SOCAP13.
"It is exciting to see how much interest there is in nurturing early stage social enterprises, as well as the acknowledgement that this stage of investment is best served by philanthropic capital--from foundations, the public sector, and individuals," said Cochran. "Although our panel included people working at different points in the continuum--some providing returns and some not--we all agreed that priming the pump with "public good" money is the best way to build a thriving ecosystem for impact investing," she said.
The SOCAP13 audience posed questions to the panelists about the opportunities and challenges of supporting early-stage businesses.