After spending nearly three years boosting social entrepreneurship in the Americas, Ashoka’s Lorena García Duran is setting her sights on South Florida.
In addition to launching the Miami office for the international group promoting social entrepreneurship, García Duran is busy preparing for its upcoming Miami Ashoka summit, scheduled for May 9-11. The event will bring together business people, journalists and the social sector to network and collaborate on ideas. The conference, supported by Knight, looks to connect social entrepreneurs based in South Florida like Connie Siskowski, whose Palm Beach County-based organization helps empower students who are the primary caregivers to elderly, ill or disabled family members.
Today's opening session "The Future of Social Entrepreneurship" will be livestreamed starting at 1:30 p.m. EST. The session features Bill Drayton, CEO of Ashoka, Alberto Ibargüen, President and CEO of Knight Foundation and Matthew Bishop, editor of the Economist.
In a conversation with Knight, García Duran described the opportunities for changemaking in South Florida.
Knight Foundation: Why did Ashoka decide to open an office in Miami? What were some of the opportunities?
LD: Our researchers gave us four cities to explore: Chicago, L.A., New York and Miami. In Miami, we found a region that not only had significant ties to Latin America, but also had a broader perspective and more potential for impact. Of course, South Florida is more than just Miami and we found that the larger community was becoming a hub of successful young business people from all over the world. There were strong ties to the Latin American community, the Jewish community and the Indian community. When we started meeting and connecting with successful business and professional people, we learned they wanted to be part of change, but that they weren’t necessarily attracted to common philanthropy or charity, even though they wanted to be involved in social change. We started to build that hub of people as we continued to learn about what was really going on in the community. We found the community was an interesting hub that has huge potential for growth. We want to grow that hub, to connect successful business entrepreneurs and professional people with the concepts around social entrepreneurship.
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