Four Trends for Ten Years: 
a conversation with Amy Pearl on meeting the needs of the future

May 28, 2014 at 9:03 am 2 comments

Ten years ago Amy Pearl launched Springboard Innovation, an organization based in Portland OR, designed to deliver curriculum, programs, training, and models that build capacity in youth and adults to become better thinkers and more effective doers.

Last year Amy launched ChangeXchange NW, a brand new economic engine for growing community capital that includes a Northwest-only crowdfunding platform. Between then and now, she leased a building that would become HATCH: A Community Innovation Lab. Hatch is a collaborative space for visionaries and realists who are working for a better world.

It’s been a busy time.IMG_3103 For a decade, Amy has been creating an infrastructure that supports small, locally owned business, investing for impact, and social enterprises. I sat down with Amy near the ten-year anniversary of Springboard Innovation to find out what would be next.

Impact Entrepreneurs: Ten years ago you were launching Springboard Innovation. Today you have added HATCH and the ChangeXchange. What will your work look like ten years from now? Can you paint a picture of Springboard Innovation in 2024?

Amy: When our decisions effect our own neighborhoods, we tend to make better decisions. In the next ten years we will see a shift in what we now call “impact investing.” We will see local investing thriving and communities investing in themselves. In ten years we will be putting our money in our own backyards, investing will be thoughtful and it will transform everything.

For the past ten years Springboard Innovation was focused on curriculum for entrepreneurs. We were getting people to address community problems. And we were good at it! Our programs are astounding. Yet, with all the people and all the ideas, there was no ecosystem or environment where those ideas and organizations could thrive. ChangeXchange and HATCH were born to address this.

When we started, impact investing was taking off as a theme, but the enthusiasm was only for globally scalable ideas. I remember back then I was confused about the lack of support for communities. Why aren’t we focusing closer to home? Then, things started to shift. The JOBS Act was signed into law, and locally focused efforts grew. We realized that really, it’s all about our local communities, wherever they may be.

My team and I have identified four key trends that, when taken together, could meet our needs and transform our ability to solve our own problems.

1. Social Entrepreneurship: A global trend consisting of entrepreneurs who combine nonprofit mission with business strategies

2. The “Local First” Movement: Partnerships and programs in states across the country are incentivizing citizens to shop, buy, source, stay, and invest locally

3. Impact Investing: An emerging class of investors will want their money to matter

4. Change in the Law: The JOBS Act and new state-based laws will transform how we view finance and create new pathways for unaccredited investors to engage. Amypearl_4trends

We have some powerful strategies to leverage here. They’re in our communities, in each other, and in us. It’s a fascinating, terrifying, incredibly exciting time… and we better start taking advantage of these opportunities!


Entry filed under: Funding, Impact Investing, Social Entrepreneurship. Tags: , , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Don Nasca  |  June 25, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Nice article Abby. I just want to say that as an Italian/Irish NJ skeptic who believes most people are full of hot air; I took the chance at joining Amy Pearl’s army for change and slowly I can see the light.

    So many people come to Hatch and to my Social Entrepreneurs Meetup looking to find a way to make a positive difference in society. The hard work is to harness all that positive energy and transform it into a plan and then implement the plan and measure the outcomes.

    While I have not invested much time in the whole unaccredited investor plan, I am hoping the few folks like me who do not have a net worth of $1M excluding home equity could participate in local investing as a means of survival during retirement. The stock market sure won’t care when it drops 50% again and the banks laugh when they smile and offer you 0.5% on your money and inflation is 2% or more and then we pay tax on the gain (I mean loss)!

    My focus is on helping local social entrepreneurs and hoping I find a few to help me with my work. Amy has recently revealed a new business planning model that is far better than anything I have read about, tested or suffered though. If you want to join forces and collaborate with passionate people or to simply learn more, just Google my name and say hello.

  • 2. abbychroman  |  June 30, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Don, thank you so much for your thoughtful response. You have an important story and we look forward to working and learning alongside you.


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