Social Enterprise Canada

June 10, 2013

At pivotal moment, Canada to host Social Enterprise World Forum

These are some of the pressures social enterprise is tackling: changing demographics, poverty, declining government revenue, crime and environmental sustainability.

For such a large plate, social enterprise is doing demonstrably well, showing the potential for creative approaches to solving old and interconnected problems. 

As a result of this success, social enterprise announcements take place nearly every day. Recently, there was the G8 Social Impact Investment Conference, the City of Vancouver contributing 380k to social enterprise and the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship celebrating its 10th anniversary.

This success and fanfare creates more expectations. Some people who have been in the movement since the early days say there is “hype” about what the movement can realistically do. Others are jumping on the bandwagon.

It’s under this backdrop that 1,200 people from 30 countries will convene in Calgary for this year’s Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF).

“There is an incredible building of societal pressure with a movement that is really gaining some incredible momentum, and the issue of this has been great, but what's next?" says Dan Overall, Trico Charitable Foundation director of collaboration and innovation and SEWF co-ordinator.

“This sets the perfect stage for the Social Enterprise World Forum and that’s why I think it’s particularly exciting.”

SEWF will feature 110 speakers from 20 countries speaking on six main tracts: social finance, indigenous social enterprise, skills building, collaboration and policy and research.

The event aims to foster a rich dialogue, and has dedicated one third of all sessions to conversation. SEWF will also feature more than social enterprise thought leaders, with speakers also joining from the philanthropy and for-profit business sectors.

Daniel says SEWF travels to a new country each year to spotlight and celebrate its social enterprise movement. With this in mind, nearly half of this year’s speakers will be Canadians, and the conference is exploring how to tell its social enterprise stories in creative ways.

The Oct. 2-4 event is one of SEWF’s largest yet, which is in part due to the strength of Canada’s social enterprise sector and the collaborative approach taken by the event host, Trico.

Trico is partnering with the Social Enterprise Council of Canada, MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, Social Innovation Generation and the Canadian Community Economic Development Network to make the event “a watershed moment” for social enterprise, for Canada and for the world.

Trico is also setting a precedent by funnelling all the proceeds back into social enterprise, investing in its partners and projects the groups can do together to advance the movement.

“This agreement embodies everything we wanted SEWF 2013 to be about: serving the social enterprise movement, at the event and beyond; fostering collaboration; and trying new ideas,” said Wayne Chiu, Trico chairman.

— Watch for more SEWF stories with keynote speakers coming soon.

Writer: Camille Jensen

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