Impact Investing in Action 2013 has been the un-conference I hoped it would be. There was a plenary session to start the day, but speakers were engaging, concise, and honest about the opportunities AND challenges of impact investing. Much of the morning was dedicated to showcasing the entrepreneurs from Agora’s 2013 class, as well as a select group of other social entrepreneurs from Latin America that Agora vetted as investment-worthy.

The afternoon consisted of small group sessions - a combination of deal rooms where the vetted entrepreneurs could receive interested investors to tell them more about their business and current funding needs. Not being in a position to offer financial capital to these deserving young businesses, I spent the afternoon in the small ‘conversations’ and ‘workshops’ that Agora carefully curated, using conference guests as expert moderators fromBLabsANDEVillage CapitalGlobal Partnerships, and Deloitte Monitor, among others.

Another fabulous dimension of the conference was the consistency with which it was put on: the food was all fromStartup Kitchen, an incubator for chefs in DC. Coffee break supplies were from Agora businesses like Mayorga Coffee- and I hear homemade by Agora staff for today. And the cocktail reception was held at Powerhouse, a new and very cool event space made possible by crowdfunding and real estate gurus, the Miller brothers. Newest board member, Scott Leonard, spoke about his fabulous work through Indigenous: a much-needed stylish and traceable version of artisanal fashion. Overall, well done, Agora - this is how conferences should be! Looking forward to Day 2, starting now…