By Abby Croman
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. 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
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!