Now in its second year, the Social Entrepreneurship Summit (SOCENT) will gather business owners across the state who are operating with people, planet and profit in mind. The goal of this one-day event is to hear directly from Arizona entrepreneurs about how and why they decided to create change. The SOCENT Summit, held on October 4, 2017, in Phoenix, will include presentations from independently owned Arizona businesses who are setting a great example, along with breakout sessions teaching business owners how to measure the impact their business is making, how to improve it and how to engage employees and consumers with the good your company is doing.

The standards of doing business continually shift and change, spurred by many factors including customer demand and the needs of the community. As citizens look closely at the impact of their spending, how satisfied they are in their jobs, and the type of community they want to live in, transparent companies that have innovative practices around their employees, environmental sustainability, advocacy and the businesses they support have a strong opportunity in the marketplace.

“For several years, we’ve been digging into how Local First Arizona business members are operating with social responsibility in the forefront and we’ve been extremely impressed with what our independent businesses are accomplishing. Often their positive impact goes unnoticed, so this event is an opportunity for us to recognize them and for other business owners to be inspired to incorporate some of these strategies into their own operations,” says Helene Tack, Program Development Director of Local First Arizona.

Opening keynote speaker Paul Saginaw, co-founder of Michigan’s Zingerman’s Delicatessen, will share how his 35-year-old business has grown from a small deli to a multi-enterprise operation with a creamery, bakehouse, coffee house, candy “manufactory” and mail-order concept. When Paul opened Zingerman’s with partner Ari Weinzweig in 1982, he did so believing that business can be a powerful tool for positive social change. He relishes the potential good that can be accomplished with 21 partners and over 725 employed individuals. He feels joyful for the opportunity to mentor others in business, offer financial literacy to all Zingerman’s staff, and continue to raise wages.

This one day Summit is geared towards the following attendees:

  • Business Owners & Staff: Businesses of all industries, large and small will find the content relevant. Whether a business has been incorporating elements of social responsibility for years, or it is just beginning to think about ways to operate with people, planet, and profit in mind, attendees will leave the Summit with new ideas and inspirations from fellow entrepreneurs. Owners, HR professionals, managers, and key staff are encouraged to attend.
  • Entrepreneurs: Individuals who are looking for ideas to solve complex social issues and environmental challenges will find plenty of inspiration at this event, and will be able to network with like-minded individuals.
  • Investors: Investing in socially responsible companies that produce value for stakeholders have the potential to result in strong financial returns. Meet Arizona companies that are doing great things in the state.
  • Economic Development professionals, City employees, and elected officials: What does a community of socially responsible business owners look like for your city or town? Learn from our panelists how their businesses create a strong, positive presence in the regions they operate in.
  • Nonprofits: Nonprofits exist to solve problems in our communities and can further their impact by implementing new ideas into their operations and telling their stories.

Event Details: