The SOCAP09 Conference (Social Capital Markets 2009) took place in San Francisco from 1 to 3 September. Over 1,500 participants explored the role of venture capital funds with a social approach, new trends in social investment, and measuring the impact of donations for social projects, among other issues. SOCAP09 participant David Bonbright of Keystone noted, ‘You could see a range of opportunities for social enterprises in Latin America, perhaps more than in other regions.’
Although these are only recently emerging issues in Latin America, two announcements made during the event indicate that there are indeed opportunities and new visions. For one, Starbucks announced that it will add USD2 million (to the USD 7 million already invested) to Root Capital, a pioneering social investment fund that supports rural and vulnerable communities. Since its founding in 1999, Root Capital has provided more than USD150 million in loans in 30 countries in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.