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Last week, social entrepreneurs, impact investors, and major donors gathered at Fort Mason in San Francisco for the 10th convening of Social Capital Markets — AKA SOCAP. This meeting of minds — and dollars — connected socially minded investors with those working to achieve a brighter future for the world.

At a time when the global development community is looking to the private sector as a supporter and ally in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, the week's gathering took on a certain urgency — and leaders across government, business, and global institutions joined the conversation.

Here's what we learned.
Shifting from development aid → investment. For the first time, high-level representatives of the United Nations — including UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner — joined the conversation on shifting from development aid to development investment.

Impact investing to the rescue? All the aid and philanthropy in the world combined leaves a $2.5 trillion a year gap in the money needed to finance the Sustainable Development Goals. Impact investing has a role to play, with $115 billion tied up in "deep impact investment," and it could turn financing for the global goals from billions into trillions — as long as this emerging industry measures its impact as well as its dollars.

The grantmakers are lonely. Everyone is talking about private capital and blended finance, but grant capital still has a role to play — especially when it comes to impact investing and meeting the SDGs. With all of the talk about alternative financing mechanisms, USAID's Rob Schneider remarked that grantmakers are "frankly getting a little lonely." 

Obvious enthusiasm for blended finance. Last week's sessions focused on blended finance were filled to the brim with private investors looking for ways to connect with official development assistance. Luckily they were met with representatives from the likes of Canada, Australia, the U.S., and other major donors, who sought to build inroads with investors.

Dispatch from SOCAP. Hear more about the sessions and conversations with development leaders from Devex West Coast Correspondent Catherine Cheney.

via Facebook
→ "Flying blind" is no way to run a social enterprise. Here's how social entrepreneurs and the donors who fund them move beyond collecting data — and use it to make actionable decisions.

→ The supply of capital is there for impact investing. It's unclear whether the same is true for impact. Hear from U.S. Impact Investing Alliance Executive Director Fran Seegull.

→ Vodafone Americas Foundation launched their 10th Wireless Innovation Project. Here's the story, and here's our interview with the company's CEO, June Sugiyama.

→ Scaling innovation is hard. We've pulled together lessons learned from experienced social entrepreneurs (including from VisionSpring CEO Ella Gudwin, who once had to return funding to USAID — and parlayed her learnings into success.)

→ Silicon Valley has born a new class of philanthropists, and they have a lot to offer development — especially when it comes to blended finance. Convergences CEO Joan Larrea explains.
For the more on the intersection of Silicon Valley and global development, follow West Coast Correspondent Catherine Cheney on Twitter.

Stay on top of the latest development news on devex.com — and by joining us on Twitter and Facebook.


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