Her message was that Austin is uniquely positioned to be The Social Entrepreneurship Capital of the World, and how she proposes we can make that happen. Austin is a good location because we are okay with new and weird ideas, and comfortable with revolt. In fact, I might argue we prefer to feel like we are in revolt. The City of Austin designated October as Social Innovation Month. There are great co-working spaces, such as Center 61, and organizations like UnLtd USA, Austin Center for Design and Innovation + that provide funding, support, and education. However, Austin faces challenges in this goal as well. Challenges that Austin might face are the lack education in social entrepreneurship, a need for more capital, and the need for a brand.
One of the best parts of the talk was finding out about the companies that are already leading the charge on social entrepreneurship here in Austin and around the country. One of Suzi's areas of specialization seems to be helping people scale their models in order to reach more people.
Emancipet - Mobile spay, neuter, and vaccination services
Eco-Rise - Helping low-income schools learn more about sustainability, translating to future jobs
Easter Seals - Help people with disabilities find employment
Aunt Bertha - Users can easily search for programs in their area to address housing, food, job training issues and more
CTC International - Helping Kenyans build and maintain sustainable infrastructure through work
Reaction Housing - Emergency shelters that are stackable and thus easily deployed & transported in the event of natural disaster
I hope to see more of Suzi and her efforts in the future. I can tell that I could learn a lot more from her!