The Forbes Funds are hoping to increase the number of social entrepreneurs working in Pittsburgh, says the nonprofit's director of innovation, Garrett Cooper, so here's a hopeful sign: The first event in Forbes' Social Innovation Forum, a new free speakers' series beginning Oct. 30, is already fully booked.
Happily, the organization plans to hold the event quarterly. The first one features current social entrepreneurs talking about today's technology as well as tech ideas in the development stage, along with a discussion of crowd-funding and the experience of one local nonprofit, the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children. The first social entrepreneur panel includes representatives from the Reuse Technology Collaborative, Nonprofit Compliance Resource Collaborative and Conversant Labs.
"Pittsburgh has come a long way in seeding technology innovation," Cooper says, citing the city's current ranking as number seven in the U.S. for tech employment and number 13 among cities for tech start-ups, as well as the local presence of Carnegie Mellon University and Google. "Yet these innovations have yet to cross over to benefit the nonprofit sector.
"We wish to seed excitement about social entrepreneurism as a viable career path," he adds. "We hope that a handful of techies and entrepreneurs walk out of the discussions and think to themselves, 'I want to develop solutions for nonprofits, and I have a basic understanding of some of the next steps I need to take to make it a reality.'" He also hopes the series helps develop "a pipeline of social entrepreneurs to assist local nonprofits."
Forbes plans on keeping these forums small, with about 50 participants each. Future events will include reps from technology companies, nonprofits, government, foundations and local universities – not to mention free beer and wine.
Learn more about the Forbes Fund's efforts at their website
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Garrett Cooper, Forbes Funds