Earlier this month, nearly 130 professionals working in the social impact ecosystem gathered for the first ever ConnectUp! MN summit. Envisioned by Y. Elaine Rasmussen and her colleagues at the Social Impact Strategies Group, ConnectUp! MN brought together impact investors, social entrepreneurs, and support organizations to build relationships and advance their common interests. One of the greatest successes of the summit was that its values— inclusion, diversity, connections—were apparent in everything from who attended to how the sessions were structured.
As an organization with many links to the growing field of social impact, we knew we had to be there, too! IG is structured as a social enterprise, incorporated as a benefit corporation, and focuses on supporting others who are creating impact. Our own Leah Goldstein Moses joined a panel of experts to speak about social impact measurement and evaluation (see her explain it here!).
As the entrepreneurship landscape in Minnesota is evolving, more organizations are shifting to social enterprises. While many women, people who identify as LGBTQ, people of color, and rural entrepreneurs are still overlooked in the more traditional investment community, there is a unique opportunity for greater inclusion as social impact investing evolves. The infrastructure for connecting these populations with potential investors and other resources, such as legal and financial experts, is just emerging, and many involved appear committed to equity.
We are excited to see this movement continue, and look forward to participating in the next ConnectUp! MN summit in June 2019!