This past week, the Pomona Impact team participated in the first ever FLII Central American Conference. FLII (Foro Latinoamericano de Inversión de Impacto) is an annual conference that focuses on impact investing and social entrepreneurship in Latin America. This year, FLII hosted a separate, Central American focused conference in Antigua, Guatemala coordinated and sponsored by local groups such as Alterna, New Ventures Group, Ashoka, Argidius, Hispanics in Philanthropy, Mercy Corps, and Pomona Impact.
The agenda for the FLII included topics ranging from “Financing the ‘Missing Middle’” to Speed Pitches by social entrepreneurs to “The Road to Finding the ‘Perfect Partner’?” Of the over 250 attendees of the conference included organizations from both the private and public sector such as USAID, Agora Partnerships, FOMIN, Peace Corps, Oxfam International, Kiva, Technoserve, Catholic Relief Services, Village Capital, Global Partnerships, Root Capital, Spark Ventures, and many, many more. The two founders of Pomona Impact, Mark Jacobsen and Rich Ambrose, were also part of the two panels mentioned above.
It was exciting to see the interest and support from so many different organizations that are working all over Central America, and in some cases in Latin America as a whole, coming together to discuss this new and upcoming ecosystem. The change in interest and support for impact investing and social entrepreneurship from even just five years ago is staggering and signals a shift for these sectors that is promising for the development in this region.
For Pomona Impact, this conference served not only as a great way to create discussions around what is happening in Central America but also to showcase the work that we have been doing since 2011, driving the focus slowly towards Central America and putting a spotlight on the amazing social entrepreneurs who are starting their businesses and creating change here.
During the coming weeks we will be thinking and posting more takeaways and thoughts on the FLII conference.