From the Desk of Brad Brown. . . EPCON 2012 Recap
EPCON 2012 was a showcase for bringing the power of entrepreneurship to social change. A full house of over 330 attendees from business, nonprofits, and philanthropy came together celebrate the energy, innovation, and courage of some of Minnesota’s best social entrepreneurs and people who invest in them.
Tuloko, an early stage venture applying the power of social media to build wealth in African-American communities by supporting local businesses, emerged from a talented field of finalists to win the Mosaic Social Entrepreneurs Cup. Tuloko will use the $20,000 prize money, a seminar on Design Thinking, and coaching from SVP partners to help establish proof of concept for its business model in the Twin Cities and then expand into other markets around the country.
The crowd was energized by Engaged Philanthropist Award winner Kate Mortenson’s challenge to “believe” – believe they we can make a better community together and to believe in our own ability to lead change. Kate’s financial and hands-on support of the Northside Achievement Zone is an inspiring example of what it means to be an engaged philanthropist.
Dr. Tim Knowles asked attendees to think how we can harness entrepreneurial innovation to drive systemic change in our public education system. Drawing on his experience both as an education researcher and practitioner he painted a picture of the breadth and depth of change we must attain if all Minnesota children are to receive the education they deserve.
We owe special thanks to our sponsors for making the fifth annual EPCON possible including the Mosaic Company, Minneapolis Foundation, Greater Twin Cities United Way, Minnesota Community Foundation, the St. Paul Foundation, Ecolab, CliftonLarsonAllen, d.school@CoCo, Finnegans Beer, Spoken Impact, Sunrise Community Banks, and Twin Cities Business.
EPCON happens over a few hours in a single day, but the work of helping social entrepreneurs solve social problems is done day in and day out by SVP partners. We are proud to be part of a community that supports those who build the common good.