September 9 - Social Enterprise Tours

September 9 - Opening Plenary & Reception

  • 7:00 am - 3:00 pm | Registration


      Radisson Blu

  • 3:00 pm - 5:30 pm | Opening Plenary

      Summit ‘19 kicks off with an exploration into the role of social enterprise in our ever-changing society. We’ll take stead of how the dramatic changes in politics, economics, technology and culture throughout the past decade have influenced our work as social enterprise leaders. We’ll reflect on the role social enterprise plays at the intersection of these cultural dynamics and consider how these trends connect to our field’s purpose of creating a world where communities thrive in equality, basic needs are met and every individual has the opportunity to lead a prosperous life.

  • 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm | Social Enterprise Celebration & Marketplace

      Celebrate the powerful role of social enterprise in our society, shop 15+ Chicago-based social enterprises and enjoy the company of your colleagues over drinks and hors d'oeuvres.


      Radisson Blu

September 10 - Summit Sessions

  • 9:00 am - 10:15 am | Breakout Sessions
    • Broadening the Pool of Actors with Access to CapitalCapital Track

      The American Heart Association’s Social Impact Fund is focused on making investments that generate health equity and close the funding gap by demonstrating an approach that seeks to broaden the pool of actors receiving funding to take on the most intractable impact challenges within our country. In this session, you will hear from practitioners who will discuss the drivers of challenges within the funding landscape and specifics solutions that can lead to a shift in funding to organizations from the communities most impacted, a narrowing of the funding gap and the creation of significant impact.


      Adriatic / Aegean

    • Instilling Lasting Change in Your CommunityImpact Track

      Each year, thousands of social enterprises work to aid vulnerable communities in reshaping their lives after facing hardship. However, the question remains, how do we help our beneficiaries feel not just lifted out of their current circumstances, but empowered with renewed confidence? Leaders of three powerful social enterprises explore this question and share their own experiences with instilling a deep sense of agency and self-efficacy in their social enterprise communities.

    • Creating Relevant Products for Modern MarketsMarketing Track

      The journey to a successful social enterprise begins with an idea — but it doesn’t end there. In this session, we’ll hear from social entrepreneurs as they share their experiences testing and marketing new product designs. From obtaining customer feedback to implementing changes in function and design, these experts have navigated a challenging market to create innovative products that generate an impact. Join us as panelists from Kind Karma, The Zen of Slow Cooking, BeeLove and TeaSquares discuss balancing new product ideas and limited resources, designing packaging to attract buyers and share a story and other lessons learned along the way.

    • The Intersection of Laws & Markets for Social EnterpriseMarketplace Track

      Valerie Leonard, the host of the Nonprofit Utopia podcast, will chat with social impact attorney Marc Lane about groundbreaking new laws and the market opportunities they present for social entrepreneurs. Focusing on local initiatives worth replicating elsewhere, they’ll explore the strategies, tactics, tips and traps surrounding Cook County’s procurement preference for social enterprises, Illinois’ “equity-centric” recreational marijuana law, Illinois’ Limited Cooperative Association Law, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and more.

      Atlantic B

  • 10:45 am - 12:00 pm | Breakout Sessions
    • Open Discussion on How Social Enterprises Can Unlock Investment & ImpactCapital Track

      Join Bank of America, Nonprofit Finance Fund and Georgetown University for an interactive discussion on what works, what’s missing and what role capital plays in what’s possible for social enterprise. Attendees will be able to preview and provide initial feedback on recent research findings of how the social enterprise movement is contributing to economic mobility for individuals and families through workforce development and inclusion.

      Caribbean / Caspian

    • Unlocking Your Organizational Potential to Increase Your ImpactImpact Track

      Healthy cultures are the foundation of thriving high-impact organizations – and building an intentional values-based culture unlocks innovation, drives greater outcomes, motivates staff and reduces waste and operational inefficiencies. A strong business culture is necessary for sustained strategic growth as it impacts how every individual on the team connects to your vision, how they set priorities, perceive their role and how they contribute to drive value creation. Learn how the Stand Together Foundation is working with innovative social enterprises through their Catalyst Program to strengthen their culture so that they can unlock their full potential as institutions, set the conditions for growth and ultimately scale to transform more lives.

    • How to Build a Magnetic Brand PersonalityMarketing Track

      In this workshop, Briteweb’s Director of Creative Strategy, Samantha Langdorf, will introduce you to Brand Personality and the role it can play in ensuring everyone at your organization is singing from the same songbook. Through a series of lessons coupled with interactive activities, you will learn how to articulate your Brand Personality by honing in on a unique archetype for your organization. You will also learn how to bring this personality to life through your internal and external communications, and how to build Brand Personality champions within your team.

    • A Conversation on Conscious Consumerism & Online MarketplacesMarketplace Track

      In the age of a growing conscious consumer movement, there are more options than ever for social enterprises to sell their products online. In this session, you’ll get the chance to engage with the founders of Brightly, DoneGood, The Etho and Gifts for Good – four online marketplaces paving the way for social enterprises to reach a wider customer base. In these interactive, large group discussions, panelists will explore topics ranging from technology to branding to the characteristics of a conscious consumer, all to help you grow your product sales through online marketplaces.

  • 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm | Lunch

      Chicago Booth professor Linda E. Ginzel will provide a crash course in leadership development built around the contents of her recently released book, Choosing Leadership. In this session—as in the workbook—Ginzel’s exercises will help you reflect and define what leadership means to you as social entrepreneur balancing the demands of a mission-driven startup. You will leave this session inspired to carve out your own path to effectively lead (and with a signed copy of Ginzel’s book).

      Sponsored by

      University of Chicago Booth School of Business | Gleacher Center

  • 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm | Breakout Sessions
    • Debt is Not a Four-Letter WordCapital Track

      Taking on smart debt can fuel a social enterprise’s growth. However, the current lending landscape is challenging for social enterprises to navigate and succeed in, especially when working with traditional lenders. Recognizing this challenge, REDF recently launched an Impact Lending Program to better serve employment social enterprises and demonstrate a model for how flexible loan terms combined with technical assistance can improve borrower performance. As new lending models emerge, social enterprise leaders should be ready to take advantage of this new source of capital. This session will feature representatives from several lending institutions who will share practical advice for social enterprise leaders interested in securing a loan. They will also cover the steps that social enterprises should be taking today to ensure they are prepared to secure a loan in the future.

    • Open SpaceImpact Track

      Join Open Space to connect, share and self-organize with other Summit participants around topics of interest. Modeled after Open Space Technology, unconference settings are a form of crowdsourcing that encourage participation, engagement, equality and inclusion. There is no preplanned list of topics, only an open time slot and a space where interested participants propose topics for discussion. Co-create the agenda with other participants in parallel sessions to take charge of your own experience, learning and solutions in a way that unlocks creativity.

      Lauren Dekleva

      Baltic / Bering

    • Digital Marketing for Your Social EnterpriseMarketing Track

      Customers are the most important asset to any enterprise, so how can you ensure your customers stick with you for the long-term? In this workshop, you will learn how to communicate your brand and reach your ideal customers throughout the entire customer lifecycle. From acquiring new customers with effective content marketing, SEO and paid ads, to conversion and retention strategies that can increase your customer lifetime value, you’ll learn how to optimize your online store and increase your bottom line.

      Samantha Murray

      Atlantic B

    • The Trillion Dollar Opportunity - Social Enterprises in B2B MarketsMarketplace Track

      All social enterprises rely on markets to drive revenues that allow them to create social impact. For the social enterprise movement, engaging with these markets to see the unique opportunity that social enterprises offer is therefore vitally important. In this session, you will hear from SAP and Social Enterprise UK about their unique partnership to harness the power of corporate partnerships and spending power of corporations around the world. SAP has spent the past decade building trust and adding value to the social enterprise sector through capacity building and procurement with purpose. Social Enterprise UK has spent seven years supporting some of the world’s biggest businesses to “buy social.” SAP is the official technology partner to Social Enterprise UK, and participants will hear how they aim to create a better experience for connecting corporate buyers with social enterprises, and the opportunities this could create for their own organization.

  • 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm | Plenary: Chicago Changemakers at an Inflection Point

      In this session, social impact attorney Marc Lane facilitates a strategic conversation among three prominent social entrepreneurs whose organizations are at a turning point. Representing a variety of industries, each of these featured leaders will share how they are pivoting their mission-driven ventures to achieve success. Featured panelists include Dr. Byron T. Brazier of BSD Industries & Eight Anchors Distribution, two workforce development social enterprises that seek to reinvest profits into Chicago's Woodlawn community; Donna Gaines of Tabernacle Senior Citizens’ Project, a housing model addressing loneliness, isolation and food insecurity in aging communities; and Dan Swinney of Re/Cast, a nonprofit increasing business leadership opportunities for minority and women employees.

  • 6:30 pm - 10:00 pm | Evening Activities

September 11 - Summit Sessions

  • 7:30am - 8:30am | Annual SEA Member Meeting

      Join your fellow SEA members for the annual membership meeting. Meet the SEA team, learn what's new and what's coming, and share your ideas and input for increasing member success.

      This meeting is for Members only. You will be asked to sign up for this meeting upon registering for Summit '19.


  • 9:00 am - 10:15 am | Breakout Sessions
    • Capital Lessons from FundersCapital Track

      Accessing reliable funding is a pressing issue for social enterprises across the board. When it comes to financing your social enterprise, there are many options. In this session, we’ll hear from the funders themselves on a range of social financing options from grants to lending to impact investments. What are the pros and cons of these sources? Which is the best fit for your venture? What are innovative ways to leverage grants, debt and equity investments to benefit your social enterprise? Learn how to fund your venture with representatives from RSF Social Finance, Stand Together Foundation, BBVA and Benefit Chicago.

    • Addressing the Death Gap: Pursuit of Health Equity Against the OddsImpact Track

      Confronting systemic inequities that have contributed to a nearly 20-year gap in life expectancy in Chicago neighborhoods less than five miles apart is a daunting challenge. In 2019, the American Medical Association (AMA) launched its first organized enterprise social responsibility program to help address pervasive health and wellness issues in its hometown of Chicago. The AMA believes that solving problems at home is the key to success, which is why it consulted a number of established not-for-profit organizations to learn first-hand about the needs of local communities. In this session, learn why the AMA and Rush University Medical Center believe that starting locally and building a grassroots program is critical to overcoming barriers and achieving true health equity.

    • Engaging Gen Z as CustomersMarketing Track

      Studies show the majority of Gen Zers care deeply about issues like equality, diversity and the environment. With $44 billion of buying power, it’s important for social enterprises to learn how to engage these socially conscious citizens as customers. In this session, Vanessa Leong, Senior Manager at Deloitte, shares key insights for connecting Gen Z to your consumer audience.

      Vanessa Leong

      Adriatic / Aegean

    • Big Retail AssessmentMarketplace Track

      Big retail market opportunities are often an enigma to small- to mid-size social enterprises. What does your venture need to have in place to be prepared for these game-changing sales channels? Once you’re ready, how do you get in? And once you’re in, how do you stay in? Join us for a conversation with social enterprise leaders as they share their expertise on the risks and benefits of selling in big retail markets, what it takes to be prepared and the surprises their teams encountered along the way.

      Caribbean / Caspian

  • 10:45 am - 12:30 pm | Closing Plenary: The Big Business of Changing the World

      Consumers today are increasingly demanding that businesses do better. It's not enough that a business does cause marketing or donates to its community. Instead, consumers want a business that has positive impact at every level of its operations. While this is a tall order, social enterprises are driving this model forward, and the talent of big businesses are increasingly thinking about their roles in effective social change as well. What might the future look like if all businesses were leveraging their greatest assets for social impact? Join a conversation with leaders who are discovering these paths of business-done-better, and explore the limits we must all overcome to make the future one where communities thrive in equality, basic needs are met and every individual has the opportunity to lead a prosperous life.