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Microfinance & Social Business - Upcoming Opportunities In Calgary
Category: Microcredit | By CMC-2011, 12-Sep-2013 | Viewed 4620  Comments 0
Duncan Stanners acknowledging folks in Honduras for their due diligence in growing microfinance businesses.
For the past 5 years in October, RAGM and the Calgary Microcredit Conference have brought you a world-class line-up of speakers in an effort to increase awareness and engage individuals in the power of microfinance. As interest ebbs and flows and the focus of both Rotarians and the microfinance world shift, we have attempted to adjust accordingly. Over the last two years we have responded to interest in the field of social enterprise, of which microfinance is a part, by changing the scope of our conference and providing meaningful opportunities for engagement. 

As such, we are pleased to set aside the annual conference for this year and instead support two major and related events that will be taking place in Calgary in October 2013 - The Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) and Opportunity International Canada's International Visitor's Tour (IVT). Both of these events share the common goal of addressing some of the world's most pressing issues through innovation, collaboration and economic tools. 

Maria de los Angele's gift shop in Honduras.
SEWF will provide access to a multitude of global leaders and experts from 30 countries on a scale that the CMC cannot do. Every year a different host country is selected to celebrate and nurture its own social enterprise movement and 2013 is Canada's (and Calgary's!) chance to shine. You can take part in 6 program areas including social finance/impact investing; indigenous social enterprise; cross-boundary collaborations; social innovation; social enterprise skills building; and research and public policy. 

With 130 breakout sessions, 17 main stage speakers and over 1200 attendees, there won't be a shortage of things to do or people to talk with, but we do recommend taking part in these:

  • Social Finance Solution Labs – 6 attendees will share their social finance issues and receive advice from experts and other attendees

  • Social Enterprise Tour – Visit 15 local social enterprises including 2 social purpose businesses and the first-of-it's-kind North American innovation centre

  • $20,000 Social Pitch Contest  - A portion of all attendance fees will be put in a pot making every attendee a 'social investor' with a goal of helping one social venture move to the next level.

The IVT goes somewhat in the opposite direction, focusing on the power of 1 – one woman, from one country, sharing one story.  During the tour, Maria de los Angeles, a microfinance client in Honduras that has worked her way out of poverty by building and running her own business, will share her story with people across Canada. Maria's story is living proof of how microfinance, combined with education and determination, can empower and transform the lives of individuals, their families and their communities. Her inspiring story will motivate you and show you what is possible in spite of the most seemingly impossible situation. 

Several representatives of Rotary including Wally Gardiner, Duncan Stanners and Steve Rickard, had the pleasure of visiting with Maria last February as part of the due diligence for a $2 million project in Honduras.

Starting in Toronto with stops in London, Victoria, Vancouver, Langley and Calgary, the tour will host different events tailored to each city. We are encouraging Rotarians along the tour route to participate. In Calgary, the tour will feature a luncheon on Thursday October 24, with Maria as the keynote speaker.

A bit more about each event…

The Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF)

October 2-4, 2013
Telus Convention Centre
Calgary, AB
Tickets $695/person
Tickets and more info available at www.socialenterpriseworldforum.org. 

Opportunity International Canada's International Visitor's Tour (IVT)

October 16 – 24, 2013 (cross-Canada tour dates)
Calgary Luncheon – Thursday October 24, 2013
11:30am – 1pm
Hyatt Regency Hotel
Calgary, AB
Tickets $125/person or $1000 for a table of 10
Tickets and more info available at www.opportunityinternational.ca/tour

If you or your club is interested in hearing more about the $2 million project in Honduras or having a speaker come out, contact the President of Calgary West, Duncan Stanners at duncanstanners@gmail.com.
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