I’m very excited to be speaking at the 2011 Toronto International Microfinance Summit, a conference being held on Saturday, September 17, 2011. The theme for this year’s conference is: From Microcredit to Financial Inclusion: Making a Difference in our World.
This, as many other important things in life, came about on the side of the soccer field. I was watching my son play, and along came Karen Somerville, whom I know from the soccer world, but who, as it turns out, is also the Vice-Chair of the Toronto International Microfinance Summit Gala.
Karen and I got to talking about Cuppa Change. She asked if I’d be interested in submitting a paper about my initiative. I didn’t think Cuppa Change would fit thematically at a conference about micro-finance; Cuppa Change is more of a micro-enterprise, given we don’t lend anyone money. But, lo and behold, the Summit invited me to speak on what sounds like it will be a great panel called ‘Social Enterprises: Transforming Lives By Linking Markets’. Sure enough, that is what Cuppa Change does.
All of a sudden, we needed to get organized. Of course this happened while I was writing very full-time on the fun show Wingin’ It, so I had to marshal all my resources. The Cuppa Change website which I’d long been thinking about suddenly needed to become a reality, so that people could find out about the wonderful things Cuppa Change and its partners have been doing. I have the great Mary Coopland to thank for that.
Then I needed to prepare my presentation for the conference panel. That really made me focus on Cuppa Change’s fundraising model and what we can take as our next steps in the near and not-so-near future.
The Microfinance Summit also offered Cuppa Change a booth at its micromarketplace, for micro-entrepreneurs who would like to showcase and/or sell their product at the conference. Kevin Walters from Alternative Grounds will be there with Cuppa Change to sell coffee and promote fair trade. We will also have all kinds of information about the work that Free the Children does, which Cuppa Change supports.
So come to the Microfinance Summit on Saturday, September 17, and check it out. The conference runs 7:30 am – 5:00 pm at:
Toronto’s Allstream Centre,
105 Princes’ Blvd.,
Toronto, Ontario M6K 3C3.