The Social Enterprise Alliance Summit ’17

The Social Enterprise Alliance is a leading network empowering social enterprises with the tools and resources they need to succeed, and works to foster a social enterprise ecosystem in which they can thrive. We were thrilled to join this year’s Social Enterprise Alliance Summit in Los Angeles this September, where we met and learned from many of the nation’s social enterprise leaders across the industry. 


The SEA Summit is an annual event featuring the perspectives of distinguished change-makers revolutionizing the social impact field. Attendees have the chance to examine the practices of social enterprise, delve into the creation of impact and network with hundreds of other professionals and experts.  

This year’s Summit began with a reflection on our field’s purpose and promise: to create a world where everyone has access to basic needs and opportunity. Recognizing that our societal and political climate can feel anything but optimistic for creating equal opportunity, the conversation of the Summit began with the increasing importance for leaders to gather with, learn from and support one another in their ventures for change.


The first day of the Summit offered an opportunity for attendees to tour local social enterprises including some of our favorite Los Angeles based social impact companies

  • MADE by DWC Boutique – empowering women to combat chronic homelessness and addiction by discovering talents and developing artisanal skills. The boutique carries hand-poured candles, fresh soaps, journals and more.

  • Homeboy Recycling – a social enterprise hiring formerly incarcerated or gang-affiliated individuals who have graduated Homeboy’s 18 month training program. They provide secure data destruction, environmentally correct recycling, electronics repair and more.

  • Chrysalis – providing a path to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals through support and employment training.


The Summit continued with 20+ breakout sessions discussing a rage of topics including Engaging Tech in Solutions for Change, Leveraging Data for Impact, Mindful Storytelling, Diversity & Inclusion In Social Enterprises and many more. Our co-founder, AmyAnn Cadwell, moderated a panel on Navigating Access and Readiness For Mainstream Markets – a leading theme from that panel and several others was the importance of a good product independent of a brand’s social mission. Leaders highlighted that their company’s social message is vitally important, but it’s not enough. To survive as a social enterprise, businesses need to offer a high-quality product or service that can stand alone.


The conference concluded with the summit’s first ever Social Good Festival celebration, a public festival at Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles featuring dozens of social impact brands including TOMS, Parker Clay, Wunderkid and many more. 


During the Summit a live recording of an interview with Steph Speirs of Solstice for the Leading Good podcast. It’s an inspiring listen for the social impact community! Here is the link to the podcast if you would like to listen along! 

It was truly a wonderfully inspiring and energizing experience to participate in this year’s Summit. We were thankful for the opportunity to spend two days in a room full of leaders who realize the potential social enterprise has to provide opportunity and access for all.