The second day of our series honed in on the role of funders in supporting small business ecosystems. We started by examining the role that intermediaries play, including their importance to donors. We quickly dove into challenging topics such as the role philanthropy should play in spurring innovation and taking risks.
“No more excuses – we’re done with ‘there’s not enough founders’, we’re done with ‘there’s more implied risk with diverse founders.’ We need to move past these historical biases and dive into the work versus standing on the sidelines. The infrastructure supporting non-profits exists and as funders we need to do more and be more proactive” – Jorge Calderon
The conversation continued with discussion around other competing priorities, including measuring social returns verus financial return on investment as well as funding direct small business grants versus investing in efforts to make the system-wide ecosystem more equitable. Finally, panelists touched on how philanthropy can spur, challenge, and partner with government-initiated or corporate-backed efforts, and whether philanthropy should actually do so.
“We can’t just program our way out of these systemic challenges. We need to be change makers with a holistic lens that includes investment, policy, built environment and other factors that can help create an enabling environment for entrepreneurs.” – Shandra Richardson
If you missed Day 2 of our series, watch the recording here.