Forum for Social Entrepreneurs: ForSE 2008

In 2007, I helped found an annual conference on Social Entrepreneurship in partnership with Boston University called the Forum for Social Entrepreneurship or ForSE for short.

We founded the Forum for Social Entrepreneurs (ForSE):

  • To bring together social innovators with leading business professionals, investors, donors, government officials, academics, and students
  • To facilitate the sharing of new technology and business ideas along with hard-earned management learnings
  • To foster informed discussion and action on new social venture concepts.

We feel no place is better suited to host such a conference than Boston. Boston is a center for a new breed of social entrepreneur. It is home to nearly a fifth of the Fast Company Social Capitalist awardees as well as dozens of pioneering social enterprise investors.

Last year our inaugural conference was held on November 2nd. It was a first-of-its-kind opportunity for Boston’s emerging and established social enterprises to:

  • Identify and recruit talent,
  • Meet potential partners to support their organizational growth,
  • Share best practices with peers, and
  • Interact with senior executives from Boston’s leading companies, non-profit / social ventures, foundations, philanthropies, and beyond.

In addition to featuring interactive discussions with leading social innovators from around the world, the Forum provided incredible opportunities for relationship building. It was also a critical venue for emerging entrepreneurs to meet collaborators, access professional services, and recruit. Some of the testimonials from the event attest to this.

“ForSE 2007 was a great experience for me personally as it helped make the connection with EDC, a terrific organization,” says Ned Rimer. “It addresses a key purpose by bringing together different folks with a common interest in Social Entrepreneurship.”

Ned Rimer co-Founder of Citizen Schools was one of the keynote speakers at ForSE 2007. Ned was now focusing on the challenges of providing medical care, support, and comfort to Americans at the end of life. He met with Luther Luedtke, President and CEO of Education Development Center (EDC) at ForSE 2007 and subsequently joined EDC to lead a community initiative to improve chronic and end-of-life care.

“I was fortunate to attend ForSE 2007 as I was just getting started. It not only helped me recruit a key board member, an active TiE Charter Member who I met at the conference, but also introduced me to [our] legal counsel. And, with the help of connections I made at Boston University, I was also able to get a few college interns to work with me on my business plan.”

Lotika Paintal is the Founder and Executive Director of Water Centric, an international NGO focused on providing clean water to school children around the world beginning in India. See related post.

There was strong interest in last year’s conference and we eventually had to shut registration off when we reached our capacity of 250 attendees with several people on the waiting list. The audience was a diverse collection of business leaders, social innovators, academics, and other engaged citizens.

  • More than one-third were senior for-profit or non-profit executives (CEO, Executive Director, or Board level)
  • Nearly 10% of participants were Founders or co-Founders

You can click here to download a document that provides additional details, demographics and testimonials about ForSE. You can see some of the photos from last year’s event here.

This year we are planning for 300 attendees and will be holding ForSE 2008 on Friday, October 10th from 9 am to 5 pm at the Graduate School of Management at Boston University. We hope you plan on attending.

You can see more info on last year and this year’s conference at

You can read about last year’s event in an article I wrote for Lokvani here

On November 2nd, 2007, TiE Boston’s Social Entrepreneurship SIG (Special Interest Group) together with Boston University and the Deshpande Foundation hosted the first regional conference for social entrepreneurs – “ForSE 2007: Forum for Social Entrepreneurs”.  The event was a great success attracting over 225 attendees consisting of budding social entrepreneurs, veteran organizations and working professionals. All the participants were very interested in learning more about opportunities to connect and help emerging players in the social sector. The conference was structured to address the needs of both young startups, with workshop oriented sessions, as well as the needs of professionals interested in engaging with social entrepreneurs, with keynotes and panels.

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