W&M event brings together public and private sector to discuss entrepreneurial initiatives to address social issues
The Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary will be the gathering place for leaders from the public and private sectors to engage and act to address social issues. SEcon2012: The Forum for Revolutionary Thinking will focus on real-world examples of how businesses and non-profits are using their core strengths, values, and people to help solve tough social problems.
The event, March 16-17, is part of a series of socially entrepreneurial activities and forums hosted by the Mason School of Business Entrepreneurship Center. The Forum is expressly for current and future social entrepreneurs to converge, share tools, and advance ideas that work toward the coexistence of profit and purpose.
The Qatar National Food Security Programme (QNFSP) is the lead sponsor of SEcon2012. The QNFSP is an initiative of the State of Qatar and part of the Office of The Heir Apparent of the State of Qatar, HH Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani. The QNFSP Master Plan will devise a holistic solution to Food Security. Sheikh Hamad Bin Ali Bin Jassim Al-Thani, vice chairman of QNFSP will be in attendance and participate in the Food & Water panel discussion on Friday. Like many other Arab states in the Middle East, Qatar is facing limited land and water resources, restraining its agricultural growth. On top of low agricultural productivity, a majority of Arab countries import anywhere from 50 – 90 percent of their food requirement, according to the QNFSP website. Accessibility and affordability is a real concern – especially for those in poverty – as agricultural commodities continue to rise.
QNFSP, a $3-billion organization, is currently working to establish a business model that utilizes cutting-edge technologies to reach a sustainable approach to Food Security for dry land countries.
The Port of Virginia and Dominion are also sponsors.
The Forum’s format on Friday and Saturday will be in pairs of topic presentations and roundtable discussions. Practitioners will raise the issues and challenges associated with innovations in the areas of health, environmental sustainability, education, food and water, impact investing and scaling, and legal frameworks. Each topic will be followed by roundtable discussions composed of W&M faculty, students, and forum registrants. Interspersed throughout the topic discussions will be keynote addresses. A complete agenda can be found online at http://wmschoolofbusiness.com/secon2012/agenda.
Jonathan Greenblatt, White House Director on Social Innovation, will deliver the closing keynote address. It will be streamed live on the SEcon2012 website.
Social media – specifically Twitter – will be utilized throughout the conference as a way to generate dialogue and stimulate ideas for new collaborations. W&M students and Forum attendees are encouraged to tweet during each discussions leader’s talk using specified Twitter hashtags. A video booth will be available to capture short reactions, insights and ideas from students and participants. These videos, along with student notes from the roundtable discussions will be posted in real-time on the conference site. The conference site will also house all video from the presenters and speakers from the two days and available on demand.
On Friday afternoon, W&M students will be given the opportunity to pitch their social entrepreneurial idea or innovation to SEcon2012 attendees during the student poster session. Winners will receive a stipend as seed money to help get their ideas off the ground.
For more information on SEcon2012: The Forum for Revolutionary Thinking, go to http://wmschoolofbusiness.com/secon2012.
About the conference
SEcon2012: The Forum for Revolutionary Thinking will be the first of several, specifically designed events for the business community with the goal of presenting a range of socially entrepreneurial initiatives as viable strategies for growth. It will bring diverse stakeholders with the primary goal of leveraging their valuable insights to develop a new paradigm for doing business in the 21st century – creating shared values, realizing profit with purpose. Appropriately named a forum for ‘Revolutionary Thinking,’ the event hopes to generate new ideas for collaboration, new partnerships, new business models, new business funding, increased awareness, and student engagement.