William Foote to deliver keynote at 2011 Social Enterprise Conference at Harvard
Cambridge, Massachusetts, 3 March 2011 – Root Capital Founder and CEO William Foote will deliver the opening keynote at Harvard’s 2011 Social Enterprise Conference. The Social Enterprise Conference is one of the leading forums for thought leaders, practioners, and students working in social enterprise to engage in dialogue and debate. “For those addressing the challenges of global poverty," said Foote, "there’s been a recent trend away from centrally planned, top-down solutions towards a plethora of decentralized social enterprises using market-based approaches and competing for funding in the social capital markets. The challenge is how to retain the dynamism and innovation of social enterprise while re-incorporating collaborative, cross-sector thinking that will help us see disruptive solutions to fruition and scale. Hence the importance of events such as the HBS Social Enterprise Conference, which provides a critical platform for us to come together and forge something far greater than the sum of each of our parts.”
This year’s conference theme, “Sustaining Impact, Living Change,” will feature thirty panels, a business plan competition, and workshops to promote key conceptual themes. In addition to the keynote, Foote will be joined by Harold Rosen (Grassroots Business Fund) and David Kyle (Indian School Finance Company) on a panel entitled “The Missing Middle: Finding Funding Solutions for Emerging Market SMEs.”
Patricia Devaney, Director of Knowledge and Impact; Brian Milder, Vice President Strategy and Innovation; and Jesse Last, Senior Lending and Strategy Associate from Root Capital will accompany Foote on an additional panel and workshop: “Innovations and Challenges of Social impact Measurement” and “Case Workshop—Providing Opportunities to Small and Growing Businesses: Value Chain Finance in Burkina Faso.”
About Root Capital
Root Capital seeks to fill the “missing middle” of finance in developing countries—the underserved gap between microcredit and commercial financial institutions. It provides access to capital, delivers financial training, and strengthens market connections to small and growing businesses—such as farmer cooperatives—that build sustainable livelihoods and transform rural communities in poor, environmentally vulnerable places. Since Root Capital’s launch, it has provided $256 million in credit to 320 small and growing businesses in 30 countries throughout Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.