Finger Lakes Social Entrepreneurship Institute

The Third Annual Finger Lakes Social Entrepreneurship Institute will take place November 7-9.

Building on the success of the last two years, this Institute will feature tools that are essential to the success of a social venture, a keynote talk, plenary presentations with inspiring and innovative social entrepreneurs, a pitch session, a workshop on compassionate communication, and field trips that showcase transformative local efforts that are helping to create an ecological sound and socially just community that works for everyone.

The detailed 3-day schedule can be found below.

Cost: $200, 10% early bird discount until October 10 (discount code "Earlybird")

Student rate: $100 (discount code "Studentspecial")

Full and Partial Scholarships are available.  To apply click here.

Registration ends at midnight, October 26.

Your ticket gives you access to Friday's opening plenary and reception, all the workshops on Saturday (including a Keynote presentation and the pitch presentations), and either the Communication workshop or a field trip on Sunday. 

Meals included are:

  • Friday reception
  • Saturday Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Sunday Breakfast and Lunch


Eventbrite - 2014 Finger Lakes Social Entrepreneurship Institute

Invited speakers include:

  • Dennis Derryck, the founder of the Corbin Hill Food Project, which works with farmers from upstate New York and community groups in New York City to deliver fresh, local produce to Harlem and the Bronx. The Corbin Hill Food Project is transforming the CSA model so that farm fresh food is accessible to all. 
  • Omar Freilla, the founder of Green Worker Cooperatives in the South Bronx, which is dedicated to incubating worker-owned green businesses in order to build a strong local economy rooted in democracy and environmental justice.
  • Paul Schmitz, the founder of Public Allies, a national non-profit dedicated to supporting young people through full-time community service and leadership development programs.  Paul is recognized as a foremost expert in Collective Impact and one of America’s most influential nonprofit leaders.
  • Veronika Scott, founder of The Empowerment Plan, has built an organization that began around a single idea: to design a coat specifically for the homeless. The coat is self-heated, waterproof, and transforms into a sleeping bag at night. That idea has now transformed into a system of empowerment in which homeless women are paid to learn how to produce coats for people living on the streets, giving them an opportunity to earn money, find a place to live, and gain back their independence for themselves and their family.
  • Yve-Car Momperousse and Stephane Jean-Baptiste, founders of Kreyol Essence. Kreyol Essence offers an extensive array of organic, wellness-based beauty, body, and health care commodities. The creation of KE was fueled by Yve-Car’s vision to stimulate economic activity in Haiti through jobs instead of aid.

Featured Models and Tools:

  • The Business Model Generator Canvas: The BMG Canvas is a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool. It allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent, and pivot your business model.
  • The Matrix Map:The Matrix Map is a visual tool that plots all of the organization's activities -- not just its programs -- into a single, compelling image. By illustrating the organization's business model -- through a picture of all activities and the financial and mission impact of each one -- it supports genuinely strategic discussions.
  • People-Centered Design: This Design Process helps people hear the needs of those they’re designing for, create innovative approaches to meet these needs, and deliver solutions that work in specific cultural and economic contexts.
  • Collective Impact: Collective Impact is the commitment of a group of people from across different sectors (i.e., nonprofit, for-profit, government, education) to a common agenda for solving a complex social problem. There are five conditions that, together, lead to meaningful results from collective impact: Common Agenda, Shared Measurement, Mutually Reinforcing Activities, Continuous Communication, Backbone Support.

The Institute will include local, healthy meals, and panels and workshops where you will:

  • Apply and evaluate leading models pivotal to the success of social ventures.
  • Know and incorporate elements of creating a collaborative, inclusive economy into their social ventures or areas of work.
  • Integrate the insights and know-how of experienced social entrepreneurs, peers and consultants.
  • Develop relationships that continue beyond the Institute with a diverse group of social entrepreneurs and people in key supporting sectors such as education, business, finance, policy, and community organizing.


Eventbrite - 2014 Finger Lakes Social Entrepreneurship Institute


Friday, November 7 Milstein Hall Auditorium, Cornell University

5:00 - 6:30pm  Registration

6:30- 8:30pm Opening Plenary with Dennis Derryck, Omar Freilla, Paul Schmitz, Veronika Scott, Yve-Car Momperousse, and Stephane Jean-Baptist. (this event is free and open to the public)

Reception to follow

Saturday, November 8 Greater Ithaca Activities Center, Downtown Ithaca

8:00am Breakfast begins

8:15-9:00am Morning Gathering, Orientation, and Yoga

9:15-10:15am Concurrent Workshops

  • Introduction to the Business Model Generation Canvas
  • Introduction to the Social Impact and Financial Sustainability Matrix Map
  • Collective Impact Workshop with Paul Schmitz

10:30-11:30am Concurrent Workshops

  • Business Model Generation Canvas Clinic with mentors
  • Social Impact and Financial Sustainability Matrix Map
  • Collective Impact with Paul Schmitz continued
  • Persuasive Pitching
  • Social Enterprise and Impact Investing 101

11:30 am Lunch begins 

Noon-1:00pm: Keynote by Veronika Scott

1:00-1:30pm Relationship Building and Yoga

1:45-2:45pm Concurrent Workshops

  • Will it Work? Assessing Your Concept's Viability
  • Worker Owned Cooperatives : a holistic approach to business development
  • Solving Problems by Design
  • Pitch Clinic with mentors
  • Collective Impact: report back from Toronto Collective Impact Summit

3:00-4:00pm Concurrent Workshops

  • Cause Marketing and Branding Defined
  • Creating a New Paradigm:  The Social Entrepreneur’s Organic Potpourri to Serve the Most Vulnerable
  • Design Clinic with mentors
  • Collective Impact: peer-to-peer dialogue

4:15- 5:00pm Relationship Building and Yoga

5:00 Dinner Starts

5:30-6:30pm Panel: Learning from Failure 

7:00-9:00pm Pitches 

9:00pm Networking at a local restaurant and bar

Sunday, November 9:  Greater Ithaca Activities Center, Downtown Ithaca

9:00am Breakfast

9:30am Field Trip and Workshop Options (choose one)

  • Workshop at GIAC on Communicating to Build Trust and Understanding
  • Field Trip I: Closing the Loop on Food Dignity (bus tour)
  • Field Trip II: The Pocket Neighborhood: A model for sustainable communities (walking tour)

12:45pm Lunch at GIAC

1:30-2:00pm Closing


Eventbrite - 2014 Finger Lakes Social Entrepreneurship Institute


This event would not be possible without the generous support of our co-sponsors: Department of Development Sociology, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Engaged Learning + Research, Entrepreneurship at Cornell, Iscol Family Program for Leadership Development in Public Service, the Park Foundation and the United Way of Tompkins County.


Participants of the Institute said:

"This wonderful event was filled with some of the brightest minds and biggest hearts I have ever seen."

"I had a fantastic time and learned so much about what I want to do post college and the tools I need to get there. I met some of the most inspiring people I have ever met in my life. So thank you for making this happen."

"I can't thank you and your staff enough for all the work you all did in giving us an incredible conference. It was outstanding. I don't think I can name just one phenomenal speaker as they were all class acts! The opportunity to learn and network was wonderful."

"This was a FANTASTIC experience - thanks for all the hard work and for bringing together such a phenomenal group of experts and entrepreneurs. I got a lot out of it."

"I now feel even closer to this community and the dreams we have. The Institute was inspiring. "



Visiting Ithaca

We hope participants in the Finger Lakes Social Entrepreneurship Institute are able to take some time to explore the area.