When the idea came about to focus on Social Innovation for November’s Crossover, I knew it would be a tricky topic. Social innovation is a new to concept the masses but even newer for young, black professionals. What exactly IS a social innovator vs. any other innovator. What exactly IS a social entrepreneur vs. any other entrepreneur? If we could articulate these two things AND carve out the diversity niche in it all, November’s session would indeed be a success.
Well, we did it!
The session was conducted in rotating 15-20 minute small groups, think speed dating in small groups led by the facilitators. Topics ranged from defining social innovation to funding to beginning a start up. The Crossover: DC- November, far surpassed expectations with the help of four very awesome social entrepreneurs AND innovators (yes, each of them fit the bill for both), Tonia Wellons (Prince George’s Social Innovation Fund), Darius Graham (DC Social Innovation Project), Aaron Walker (Camelback Ventures) and Clarence Wardell, III, PhD (tinyGive).
Aaron Walker, founder & CEO of Camelback Ventures, challenged attendees by asking, “what little risks can you take along to move your idea and scale?” Prince George’s County Innovation Fund founder and Managing Director, Tonia Wellons encouraged one of her groups to stay their courses by reminding them, “there’s always an interest but not always an obvious solution.”
Opportunities to connect and build in small groups around topics we care about don’t happen often. As such, the goal of #TheCrossoverDC is to create spaces for conversation that lead to action. “I loved being able to network with other like minded individuals. I also liked how we talked about change and actually [taking] action steps to make things happen,” shared attendee Joel B.
Special thanks to The Case Foundation for providing the space and to Kim and Leleah for coming through in the clutch!
There’s one more Crossover this season and we’re sure it will be yet another evening to remember!
View highlights below. See all photos on Facebook.