Inaugural Social Venture Institute / Hudson Valley To Connect World-Changing Social Entrepreneurs

Weekend Retreat: May 9-11
'Keynote + Cocktails' Event: May 10

Hosted by Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY

Many believe that the independent, socially responsible, triple-bottom-line businesses and innovative nonprofits found up and down the river will lead our Hudson Valley communities to a place of vibrancy. It helps to have thoughtful, savvy and connected leaders.

Which is exactly what Social Venture Institutes (SVI) have been doing around the country for almost 20 years. Founded by Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farm in the mid-90s, SVIs provide emerging values-driven entrepreneurs and innovative nonprofit leaders a forum to share challenges and get expert advice in a safe, trusting environment.

We’re getting our own independently organized version here: Social Venture Institute / Hudson Valley, to be held May 9-11, 2014 at Omega Institute near Rhinebeck, NY.

It's a weekend of profound problem solving, visioning and connecting, at one of the world's premier educational retreat centers.

"Think of it as an ad hoc advisory board, with depth," says co-producer Scott Tillitt, founder of Antidote Collective and BEAHIVE and a co-founder and the board chair of Re>Think Local. "It’s not just about learning a new tactic or discovering a new resource. It’s about harnessing collective intelligence in an inspired setting to actually work through creative solutions to vexing challenges. It’s about injecting new life into your business (or organization)… and yourself."

"We're bringing world-class entrepreneurial talent to our backyard," adds co-producer Ajax Greene of On Belay Business Advisors, also on the board of Re>Think Local. "The people and organizations behind it are some of the original thinkers and doers of the social enterprise movement."

SVI Hudson Valley is presented by Antidote Collective, On Belay Business Advisors and Re>Think Local in partnership with Omega Institute and Social Venture Network.

A signature SVI feature is True Confessions, whereby leading entrepreneurs share their trials, tribulations and triumphs in creating their socially responsible businesses. The Saturday night keynoter is Dal LaMagna, who started Tweezerman in 1980 and built it into a multinational personal-care-tool brand that practices responsible capitalism and corporate social responsibility. He’s currently the CEO/CFO of the Brooklyn-based IceStone and an active investor in social impact businesses.

LaMagna's talk will be part of a "Keynote + Cocktails" event open to the public Saturday, May 10, 7-10 PM. Click for details and registration.

The core of the SVI model, where some say the greatest learning happens, are the Case Study sessions, where a presenter poses a specific, strategic business challenge to a panel of seasoned socially responsible entrepreneurs. Panelists and retreat participants alike offer advice based on their experience and expertise. "It's a bit like 'Shark Tank,' without the snark — and with audience participation," says Tillitt.

Applications for Case Study presenters are open until April 18. Click for details.

Attendance to the weekend-long retreat is curated (though the public is invited to the "Keynote + Cocktails" event). Those interested may apply to attend.

Early-early Bird discount pricing ends March 15. Group and partner discounts are also available. Host partner Omega Institute is offering a 25% discount on accommodations packages. Costs will depend on when one registers, options added, and choice of accommodations.

A portion of the program fee supports Re>Think Local in its continuing work to “co-create a better Hudson Valley.”

A limited number of sponsorships are available. Click for details.

More details on the website and on Facebook ( and Twitter (

SVI Hudson Valley is an independently organized program of Social Venture Network (SVN), a community of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs working together to create transformational innovation, growth and impact. Since 1996, SVIs across North America have provided more than 1,500 entrepreneurs the opportunity to strengthen their business skills, network, and rejuvenate their vision.