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The Innovation Marketplace: An ALC Debrief

By Lauren Stebbins on 10/06/2010 @ 03:44 PM

Tags: Innovation, Innovation Marketplace, ALC 2010

Innovator-in-Residence Hilary Abell speaking with visitors to her Innovation Station.

As a featured event of this year’s Assets Learning Conference, the Innovation Marketplace showcased 50 Innovators, Sponsors and Exhibitors that had booths set up during the entirety of the Conference. Conference attendees were afforded an amazing opportunity to learn about and make connections with practitioners and organizations leading cutting-edge work in the asset-building field. The diversity of topics in CFED’s innovation portfolio was well-represented at the Marketplace; some of the work featured included green entrepreneurship opportunities as a prisoner reentry strategy, matched savings accounts for higher education costs and assistive technology for people with disabilities, solar energy products for Native American communities, financial education and savings accounts for children in Uganda and a shared responsibility model for healthcare costs. Traffic in the Marketplace reached its peak during its featured time slot of 4:30-6:30pm on Thursday, September 23 and included the addition of the Entrepreneurship Fair. During this time, Marketplace participants were joined by about 20 creative entrepreneurs committed to social change and expanding economic opportunity who were able to demonstrate and sell their products and services. A fantastic performance by some of the young ladies of the Young Women’s Drumming Empowerment Project infused the atmosphere with even more energy and excitement.

The Marketplace proved to be successful in creating a large, interactive space for CFED innovators to expand outreach on their work, and in creating a dynamic and fun setting for Conference attendees to become intimately introduced to them and other innovative ventures. The feedback we have received has been extremely positive, with many commenting on how the Marketplace created both a fun and informative setting to learn about an “amazing display of innovations” and having it open during the whole Conference created opportunities for “meaningful interactions” and “some of the best conversations.” Our innovators have expressed to us how much they appreciated having a venue to personally meet and connect with a national audience and make valuable connections that will help them move forward.

We would like to send a huuuuge thank you to all of the Marketplace’s innovators, sponsors, exhibitors and volunteers! Your participation helped make this year’s ALC the best ever. For us here at CFED, the success of the Innovation Marketplace exceeded our expectations, and we could not be more pleased to know that the both the innovators and visitors gained so much from this event.

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