efficient marketplace

This week is Social Capital Markets week!

The SOCAP 2009 conference is taking place in San Francisco, and we’re here to keep the conversation flowing online, too.

Kevin Jones (picture by Global X here), co-founder of SOCAP and founding principal of Good Capital, talked to the Huffington Post about this year’s conference: 

You know, there are a lot of conversations about the future happening around the world, but mostly they’re taking place inside walled gardens. The thing that I’m most proud of is that this conference builds bridges between these gardens, and between them and the street.

Specifically, he said, "SOCAP brings together the big players and their rigorous processes with the folks who are just starting out" as social entrepreneurs.

That’s bridging a gap we’ve talked about a lot here on Social Edge — the gap between a bright, even brilliant, idea and the funding organization that can give it impetus.

How can we best bridge that gap?

At the moment, there’s terrific duplication of effort when many small social entrepreneurs do the same research to find out what funds might be available — and there’s also the issue of the "poor fit" whereby one funding agency’s requirements my differ so greatly from another’s that a small outfit may spend needless hours filling out different forms as part of similar applications.

Another issue that has come up here is that of the startup that finds it needs to present itself in a way that aligned with foundation or investor interests, but tilts it away from its own driving passion – perhaps just a little at first, but in such a way as to significantly reduce its vision over time…

  • What’s slowing you down, in terms of getting needed funding?
  • What do you need to know from funders?
  • How could you most easily find it out?
  • What are your questions about funding?
  • Have others asked them before you?
  • Do you have access to their research?
  • Would you be willing to share yours?
  • How does collaboration work in a competitive market?
  • Could some kind of software ease the burden?
  • Who will build the application that solves their problem — and yours?

And to sum them up:

Who is stepping up to help make the whole sector more efficient rather than trying to solve only part of the problem internally just for their own organization?

These aren’t easy questions, and they’re all the harder when they’re asked in a context where beginning entrepreneurs are talking among themselves — the funders need to be in on the conversation, too.  We all want to help, we all want things to go more smoothly, for the best ideas to get effective implementation…  But sometimes we need a bridge to get across the gaps.

SOCAP offers us one such bridge.  Let this conversation be another, in parallel with SOCAP.  It’s time we talked! Join Charles "hipbone" Cameron in the conversation.