Every fall, Fort Mason, a part of San Francisco near Fisherman’s Wharf, gets transformed into a force field of new ideas, creativity and collaboration that has the potential to change the world. More than 3,000 entrepreneurs, business people, organizations (such as FINCA), funders and concerned citizens “meet up” at the Social Capital Markets Conference (SOCAP) to share ideas and find new ways to collaborate to accelerate a positive social impact throughout the world. FINCA Ventures staff were in attendance at SOCAP this year. Here are some of the key trends and observations from this event.
There was a wide array of thought-provoking discussions such as “Designing Inclusive Financial Products for Trust” and “Building the Bridge to Water Access.” A common theme we heard was that digital technologies are creating new opportunities to unlock people’s potential, but that we can’t forget that people act based on the old-fashioned human instinct of trust. Another common topic was on how innovations are bringing clean water and solar energy to rural, hard-to-reach markets. These markets require access to the kind of finance that FINCA provides so that low-income families can afford such innovations.
FINCA attended the conference to contribute our perspective to these important conversations and learn from other social entrepreneurs. For instance, the FINCA Ventures team caught up with a Zambian agriculture company that is using technology and community agents to provide a holistic approach to small-holder farmer support. We discussed how FINCA could help solve the farmers’ financing needs for high-quality inputs.
We also met with a Ugandan entrepreneur that is developing a new digital solution for small business owners to track and manage their cash flows. With this solution, they can better understand and communicate their financing needs with their loan officers and obtain more appropriate financial products. We discussed how this entrepreneur’s new, mobile phone-based product could help FINCA easily and securely reach clients with the right kind of loans.
Throughout these conversations, our purpose became clear: FINCA has a valuable role to play in supporting the next generation of social enterprises. We are committed to using the knowledge, networks and assets we have built up in over 30 years in operation to help companies with the best innovations in water, energy, education and more grow faster and smarter. We believe that access to these products will make our clients more resilient, healthier and ultimately more successful.
FINCA is aiming to achieve these goals through our Social Enterprise program. FINCA helps social entrepreneurs with needed capital and strategic advice on how to succeed in the some of the most challenging markets in the world.
SOCAP 2017 reinforced our belief that loans plus access to needs like energy, education and clean water will help people fight poverty. We look forward to bringing these products and services to the FINCA family.
Photos courtesy of Social Capital Markets.