Tips and inspiration for changemakers from the social impact crowdfunding website, StartSomeGood

The best conferences for social entrepreneurs in 2016


Photo from SOCAP 2015

Photo from SOCAP 2015 at Fort Mason, San Francisco.

As a social entrepreneur or community organiser, your time and your funds are often precious, so you have to be selective about the events you attend. Here’s our selection of the most valuable conferences happening this year, where you’re more likely to find collaborators, funders or partners, to gain new insights and perspectives and to be inspired by those who came before and what’s possible when people put their mind to making a difference.

If you think we missed anything crucial please mention it in the comments!

Sankalp Africa Summit
February 24-26 in Nairbo, Kenya.
The third Annual Sankalp Africa Summit will continue the exciting conversations on entrepreneurship, innovation and inclusive development. All conversations at this year’s Summit will revolve around the theme of “Spurring the Entrepreneurship Economy”. It will take a comprehensive look at the different strata of society which shape, influence, and stimulate inclusive and high-impact enterprises, while also building markets to efficiently carry these businesses to scale, enabling them to reach their full potential. Over the last 2 years, Sankalp Forum, a global platform with regional editions, has convened over 1200 diverse stakeholder groups in Africa with the intent to create an ecosystem approach to enterprise-led development. We invite you to participate in this exciting movement and look forward to meeting you!

Find out more.

Nexus Australia Youth Summit
March 6 – 8, 2016 in Sydney, Australia.
The Nexus Australia Youth Summit will bring together young philanthropists, impact investors, social entrepreneurs and allies – including family business members, successful entrepreneurs, and inspiring social change leaders. Connecting the financial, intellectual, creative, and social capital of our generation in action-oriented, solutions-focused, and safe space, the Nexus Australia Youth Summit aims to inspire learning and collaboration between a uniquely powerful network of peers. They will discuss the challenges facing the world today and innovative solutions to them.

By application only, applications close January 26.

Nonprofit Technology Conference
March 23-25, 2016 in San Jose, California.
The Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) is the U.S. nonprofit sector’s signature technology event. They assemble over 2000 of the best and brightest nonprofit professionals from around the world. Together, they collaborate, innovate, and discover new ways to spark change with technology.

Find out more.

Skoll World Forum photo by globalX on flickr

Ambition at Skoll World Forum 2014

Skoll World Forum
April 13-15 in Oxford, England.

Each year, nearly 1,000 of the world’s most influential social entrepreneurs, key thought leaders, and strategic partners gather at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School to exchange ideas, solutions, and information. The Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship is the premier international platform for advancing entrepreneurial approaches and solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. Our mission is to accelerate the impact of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs by uniting them with essential partners in a collaborative pursuit of learning, leverage, and large-scale social change.

By application only. Applications due January 31.

OuiShare Fest

May 18-20 in Paris, France.
OuiShare Fest is an international event that takes place each May at teh Cabaret Sauvage in Pais. It gathers a global community of 1500 entrepreneurs and social innovators, non-profit and business leaders, grassroots activists and public officials ready to step out of their comfort zone and head towards new frontiers. After the Gold Rush… is the moment for action. Are you ready?

Find out more.

Asian Venture Philanthropy Network Annual Conference
May 23-25 in Hong Kong.
The Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) is a membership network headquartered in Singapore that seeks to increase the flow of financial, human and intellectual capital to the social sector, and to improve the social impact effectiveness of members across the Asia Pacific region. They promote venture philanthropy in the broader philanthropic and social investment communities and provide specific networking and learning services to meet the needs of our members. Their annual conference brings together the key players in impact investment and venture philanthropy in Asia.

Find out more.

Anthea Watson Strong presenting at PDF.

Anthea Watson Strong presenting at PDF.

Personal Democracy Forum
June – exact dates TBA – in New York, USA.
PDF brings together close to 1,000 top technologists, campaigners, hackers, opinion-makers, government officials, journalists, and academics for two days of game-changing talks, workshops, and networking opportunities, offering an inspiring look into what’s ahead for the entire civic tech field.
Find out more.

Nexus Global Youth Summit
July – exact dates TBA – in New York, USA.
Nexus is a global movement to bridge communities of wealth and social entrepreneurship. We work to unite young investors, social entrepreneurs and allies to catalyze new leadership and accelerate global solutions.
Founded in 2011, Nexus puts the hope and promise of young people on the world stage by bringing together leaders at Nexus events around the world for inspiration, education, dialogue, and collaborative problem solving.

By application only. Find out more.

Social Capital Markets (SOCAP)
September 13-16 in San Francisco, USA.
Social Capital Markets is dedicated to accelerating a new global market at the intersection of money & meaning and is probably the world’s leading conference for the growing impact investing sector.

Find out more.

Opportunity Collaboration
October 9-14 in Cancún, Mexico.
Convene with thought leaders in social change from around the world. Learn best practices and the latest techniques & technologies to meet your greatest challenges. Connect with people who can contribute to your efforts. Find people with similar challenges and learn solutions. Find organizations with resources and capabilities to help you achieve your goals. Catalyze new paths to success. Build new and better processes, more efficient organizations, and better business models. Forge alliances and partnerships to multiply your impact.

By application only. Applications now open.

The Feast Impact East
October – exact dates TBA – in NY, USA.
The Feast Impact is an epic event that brings together inspired people from across disciplines to apply their skills to world-changing opportunities for innovation. Over three days, each participant will share what they know, gain personal and interdisciplinary insight, and advance the work of today’s greatest entrepreneurs.
Through collaboration, embodied experiences, and unlocking the power of our human potential, we create an experience of abundance unlike any other.

Find out more.

Meaning Conference
November – exact dates TBA – in Brighton, UK
Meaning is the annual gathering for people who believe business can and must be a force for positive change in our dynamic and volatile world. Their speakers are international thinkers and doers from business, academia and activism, each bringing an individual perspective on the challenges and opportunities we face.

Find out more.

The Fast Company Innovation Festival
November 9-12 in NY, USA.
Surprising conversations, keynotes, hands-on workshops and performances will take place in unexpected NYC locales. The most creative companies from around the city will open their doors to attendees for fascinating, in-depth tours. All featuring some of the biggest names in business, entertainment, technology, design, fashion and beyond.

Find out more.

Web of Change
November 28-December 2, 2016 in Big Sur, California.
The Web of Change annual conference brings together the foremost thinkers and doers in social media, digital strategy and social change. Web of Change events are where progressive organizers and digital strategists come to up their game, candidly share frontline experiences, reflect deeply on their impact and find the network and meaning needed to do transformational work.

Find out more.

What else is worth our attention? Let us know in the comments!

SOCAP photo by dianaconnolly101, PDF photo by Doc Searls and Skoll World Forum by global X, all used under a Creative Commons License.

Author: StartSomeGood

StartSomeGood is the crowdfunding platform for social enterprise, non-profits and community groups. We've funded projects in 35 countries and have one of the best success rates in crowdfunding.

5 thoughts on “The best conferences for social entrepreneurs in 2016

  1. Great list!

    Usually in autumn there is also the Social Entrepreneurship Forum in Riga, Latvia:




  3. Hi there! I’m launching a new social good event in Oct called Affect (, which will be part conference and part volunteering. We want to highlight all the work and design behind trying to effect change and boost underrepresented voices in our industry. It’ll be October 7 and 8 in Portland, OR!


  4. The Collison Conference taking place in New Orleans as we speak from April 26 to April 28, 2016 should definitely be added to the list. One of the largest technology conferences in the world where techies, entrepreneurs and investors “collide.” Social change and the way we do business is inevitable. One such company, is presenting their new app, an innovative new platform that will change how attorneys and clients interact. No more tracking of billable hours and unforeseen fees, lawyers list their services for a fixed fee and all transactions including signatures and documents are completed via the app. Learn more at:


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