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Calgary Microcredit conference 2011 wrap-up and thanks
Category: Microcredit | By CMC-2011, 5-Oct-2011 | Viewed 3225  Comments 0
By now, most of us have returned to our normal daily routines after the Calgary Microcredit Conference on 1 October 2011. If you contributed in any way to the success of the conference, thank you.  I know that returning to normal, feels pretty good to me. Please find below several early statistics, three attendee's comments and a huge vote of thanks.

While the conference room felt full, even crowded early in the morning, Treasurer Dave reports that our attendance was only 80% of our capacity. I enjoyed the enthusiasm of the 30 volunteers. The cash and cheques from last minute registrants have been deposited and we can approximate our level of success. It looks as though the 2011 Calgary Microcredit Conference will successfully pay all its bills with a modest amount remaining. This will seed the funding of next year's conference. The last minute sponsorship from Arc Financial tipped us into the black ink. Thank goodness for all our sponsors this year, we wouldn't have been a financial success without them. 

Our Speaker's Supper held the evening before the conference was an engaging evening as we listened to personal antic-dotes from the speakers and volunteers alike. Self introductions were used. This helped grease the interaction between people, some of whom were meeting for the first time. I believe that I reflect the general consensus on the supper with the words "it was a useful event and it was fun to participate".

One observation about the attendance was the marginal support we gleaned from the Calgary corporate social responsibility sector. This is relevant in light of our theme Microcredit & Beyond: the Emerging Wave of Social Business & Social Entrepreneurship. I believe that the conference did bring to the public's attention the fact that sustainable / social development is possible and that there are abundant examples. It may take longer than anticipated however for Social Business and Social Entrepreneurship to take hold, in a big way. It occurred to me that if we are to grow this concept perhaps we should be starting out with a younger age group. 

This gives rise to a possible theme for the 2012 conference - Student participation in microcredit. 

I received several thumbs-up comments about the conference:

"Just a note to say thanks for the honor of letting me address the Rotarians the other day. I really meant it when I told Steve and Merv that I have been to gatherings ten times as large that were not half as useful and interesting. Well done!" - Rupert Scofield, Pres of FINCA.

"Let me piggyback on your message to express my sincere thanks to you and Marie for a wonderful weekend in Calgary. I thought the conference was excellent and the way you allowed the presenters and organizers to gather both before and after the event for fellowship and sharing was a marvelous idea." - Wilf Wilkinson, Past President of Rotary International

And my personal favorite:

"I thought that after last year I knew it all but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I learned at this year's conference." Anonyms.

I was told that we didn't showcase Rotary microcredit and maybe this was missing. This is a valid comment but the situation occurred for two reasons. Firstly, the number of Rotarians in the room constituted a minority and secondly, since we were blessed with a good array of contributing agencies choosing to highlight just one organization seemed wrong.

We had the benefit this year of an excellent conference day program (http://goo.gl/hvhMf)  in which the sponsors and volunteers are listed as well as several articles and other helpful facts. 

Wrapping up the 2011 Calgary Microcredit Conference - it is with the deepest gratitude that I say thank you. In all, more than 40 people contributed to making this year's conference a success. Being part of such a capable and dedicated team is humbling. We have grown stronger in each of the four years we have held a conference and I look forward to a bigger and better version next year. It is awesome to be involved in the growth and development of such a powerful force for good.

Thank you for your help in publicizing microcredit. I believe that it is becoming the single greatest anti poverty tool known to mankind.

Warmest personal regards,

Steve Rickard, Co Chair
On behalf of Paul Gomes, Co Chair
2011 Calgary Microcredit Conference
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