Year: 2017


New speaker announced for SEWF 2017

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Posted by: Jo Seagrave / 12 May 2017

Graham Lewis, CEO and Co-Founder of Green Propellor, Canada is a passionate social innovator with a breadth of international experience in social enterprise. He is responsible for creating a variety of social enterprises with Green Propellor being his latest venture. Graham will bring vast knowledge and learning to Social Enterprise World Forum 2017.


To find out more about Graham, click here

If you are interested in speaking at SEWF2017, contact the team here

For further information on the event including the programme, other speakers or how to register, click here

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By David LePage

With the growth of big box stores and franchised retail outlets, the emergence of social enterprise is an invigorating option in the retail landscape. Many social enterprises arise as new retail entries directly responding to a community need.

However, two recent transactions illustrate how social enterprise is also a valuable tool that can be used to sustain and enhance existing community assets.

One example demonstrates how social enterprises can sustain assets in a rural community when a family-owned business owner retires. The other example shows how a social enterprise can increase the social value of multiple government-owned commercial properties in an urban area through the creation of a blended value property portfolio.

Example #1 – What happens when rural small business owners retire?

Answer: A social enterprise steps in to work with the family to keep the business going and growing.

The Yellow Barn produce store and restaurant is a fixture for many customers in the rural (but urbanizing) communities of Abbotsford and Chilliwack just east of Vancouver. With a menu of homemade pies, pickles and an outlet for fresh produce from local farmers in the summer months, it serves as an important place for the community to socialize over coffee, creating local employment and directly contributing to a local economy. But when the key family members who operate the restaurant decided to retire, the whole family was left in a quandary of how to retain the value they created and possibly extend the family legacy.

“Our family spent thirty years building the business as a service and social gathering place for the community. With my mom, dad and sister retiring, we couldn’t imagine a better way to extend the family efforts than leasing to a social enterprise”.
– Dale Hodgins, family member.

A lease agreement between the family and the Abbotsford based MCC Community Enterprises, an experienced operator of several social enterprises, means the business remains open and potentially adds further community and social value through the social enterprise mandates of MCC Community Enterprises.

“MCC Community Enterprises is a community based non-profit organization that already operates several social enterprises. The Yellow Barn was a natural addition – allowing us to maintain the local business and potentially create a site for job training and added targeted employment opportunities”.
– Ron Van Wyk Executive Director, MCCCE.

This social enterprise model has relevance in many rural communities where small business owners reach retirement and essential services like groceries, gas, hardware, and social sites like restaurants, bakeries and coffee shops face closure.
These businesses may not have a traditional ‘financial market’ value to allow them to be sold outright, but they have very strong ‘community market’ value that requires a new type of investment option. A social enterprise creates a community-owned business model for continuing their essential roles in the community.

For the Yellow Barn, that was the answer.

Example #2 – What happens when one of Canada’s poorest communities struggles with the impacts of gentrification, including the loss of affordable retail options and coffee shops, and far fewer places for low-income residents just to socialize?

Answer: A social enterprise model is designed that allows the provincial government to transform their commercial property into a community asset. Community Impact Real Estate Society, CIRES, was created to hold the head lease and operate the approximately 70 commercial properties in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) on behalf of BC Housing, with a primary mission to create community value and maintain financial sustainability.

CIRES will have a blended value mandate in managing the commercial properties. Some will rent at market rent, others below market in exchange for social impact, such as targeted employment for persons with barriers, social enterprise space, or non-profit use. CIRES’ financial pro-forma predicts a profitable operation that can use its surpluses to re-invest in further social enterprise development and mitigation of retail gentrification in the area. The hope is that the City of Vancouver will add more properties to the portfolio, and then the next step is to add properties held by the private sector as well.

“The DTES Community Economic Development Community Advisory Committee is hopeful that CIRES, another social enterprise in our neighbourhood, will be the generator of even greater local economic and social impact, especially serving the needs of the low income community members.”
– Steven Johnston, CEDSAC Director

In the past, one-off changes in government property have happened, but in this case shifting a whole portfolio will definitely change the landscape as well as the use and purpose of retail and other commercial space in a designated area. The social value impact of CIRES will be core to measuring its success. Yes, the financials look and should be sound, but CIRES’ role of strengthening social capital, creating target employment, and economic inclusion through the portfolio tenant choices will be the ultimate test.

These are just two examples of how social enterprises in rural and urban settings are emerging as a significant tool to address community based economic and social value market needs. The approach works across many communities because social enterprises are businesses with an intentional and measureable social value and have a commitment to the majority of profits being reinvested into the community.

Accelerating Social Impact, a Community Contribution Company focused on creating a social value market place, provided significant consulting support and guidance on the design and development of these two projects. For more information contact:

David LePage

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Nova Scotia Social Enterprise Sector Strategy 2017

On Wednesday, April 12th the Government of Nova Scotia gave formal recognition to the thriving social enterprise sector in its province, releasing the official Framework for Advancing Social Enterprise in conjunction with the Social Enterprise Network of Nova Scotia’s Sector Strategy. In doing so, they take a significant step forward in creating true prosperity across our province.

This Provincial Framework and Sector Strategy represent the most progressive and well thought out social enterprise policy in the country, showing Nova Scotia’s position as a centre of excellence for social enterprise development in Canada and marking the beginning of leveling the playing field for all business types.

The process of building these documents is a testament to the fact that many people share a sense of hope that we can, and will do better in business.

This Provincial Framework and Sector Strategy represent the most progressive and well-thought-out social enterprise policy in the country, showing Nova Scotia’s position as a centre of excellence for social enterprise development in Canada and marking the beginning of levelling the playing field for all business types. 

In every corner of our province you can see people and organizations building and running businesses that create social, cultural, and environmental value. This is social enterprise. It is not a new business model. It is not a fad. It is here to stay.
– Cathy Deagle-Gammon, President, SENNS

To Nova Scotia’s 1000+ social enterprises and budding social enterprises, thank you for making Nova Scotia a world leader in business that builds community value with every transaction.

Please download the Sector Strategy here.


Social Enterprise Framework for Nova Scotia

Increasingly, Nova Scotians are not satisfied with choosing between being in business or helping people.They know they can do both, and they want to do more. That’s why they’re turning to social enterprises to support the economy and give back to communities across the province. Government’s Framework for Advancing Social Enterprise supports this vision for vibrant communities.

It’s also an important part of growing the economy in new and innovative ways. This document outlines government’s priorities and the actions it will take in the coming years to create a thriving, sustainable social enterprise sector. This framework was developed through consultations with the Social Enterprise Network of Nova Scotia (SENNS) and leaders from social enterprises, enabling organizations, and government partners. This framework uses the policy pillars developed by the Social Enterprise Council of Canada as a model. There is a growing role for social enterprises in the future of Nova Scotia’s economy. Advancing the social enterprise sector is a priority because social enterprises create job opportunities and other economic benefits–particularly in rural communities – while improving those communities socially, environmentally, and culturally.

– Mark Furey, Minister of Business, Nova Scotia

Please download the Framework document here.

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A new era for social enterprise in Victoria

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Posted by: SEWF admin / 17 February 2017

Today’s launch of a new Social Enterprise Strategy by the Victorian Government is an exciting milestone for the future development and growth of social enterprise in Victoria and Australia.

I am pleased that social enterprise is being recognised as a legitimate and growing part of the Victorian economy, and am confident that this leadership will encourage other jurisdictions around Australia to follow.

The Strategy provides the framework for stronger growth of social enterprise across Victoria in the coming years by:

  • Removing a big policy vacuum, that will enable social enterprises to start-up and operate across the State within a far more positive and conducive environment
  • Raising the profile of social enterprise endorsing it as a valuable and important part of local communities
  • Committing to the development of a social procurement framework that will open up more contracts for social enterprise to purchase goods and services from Government

Over the last eight years, Social Traders has played an active role in raising the profile and supporting development of social enterprise thanks to seed funding from the Victorian Government and Dara Foundation. We strongly endorse the key elements of the Government’s Strategy, which builds on the existing base.

David Brookes, Managing Director

Victoria State Government Social Enterprise Strategy

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SEWF 2017 Programme Reveal!

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Posted by: SEWF admin / 31 January 2017

Akina Foundation have now launched the programme for this year’s SEWF in Christchruch New Zealand! Read below for more information.

The theme for SEWF 2017, “Ka koroki te manu – Creating our tomorrow”, is an invitation to create a global legacy of positive change and to take an active role in shaping the world’s future. Just as the first birdsong welcomes the potential of tomorrow, SEWF 2017 is a chance to come together and explore the endless possibility in ours.

Programme overview

The programme gives delegates a chance to personalise their experience, with multiple streams and activities to choose from. The various streams and the participative format of the forum will enable us to celebrate diversity, share real stories and insights, inform, inspire, educate and learn from each other.

This is an overview of the three days of the forum. More details about specific sessions or events will be released soon.

Check out our confirmed speakers – more of them will be announced soon!

View the Programme Overview

Find out more

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Scotland’s Social Enterprise Strategy

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Posted by: SEWF admin / 25 January 2017

Scotland’s new 10-year Social Enterprise Strategy was launched at the Grassmarket Community Project in Edinburgh on Wednesday 14 December, 2016.

The new strategy sets out a clear vision to ensure that our social enterprise business community thrives and grows over the next decade and beyond.

The strategy was produced in partnership with Scotland’s social enterprise support and development bodies and The Scottish Government.

In a joint statement, Pauline Graham, CEO of Social Firms Scotland, Aidan Pia, Executive Director of Senscot and Fraser Kelly, Chief Executive, Social Enterprise Scotland, said:

“Scotland is a recognised world leader in social enterprise support and development. The journey towards the launch of this ambitious strategy has been both rewarding and challenging. Our social enterprise community, stretching across every area of urban and rural Scotland, is diverse. This new strategy sets out a clear, powerful and inclusive vision for the growth of social enterprise over the next decade and beyond.”

Please click here to download the Social Enterprise Strategy 2016-26.

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A Tour of the “trending trajectory” of Social Purchasing!

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Posted by: SEWF admin / 17 January 2017

Social Purchasing is “Encouraging a shift towards procurement based on achieving multiple outcomes in addition to maximizing financial value.” (Social Procurement and New Public Governance: Barraket et al, 2016)

Social purchasing intentionally multiplies the social and economic ripples of existing purchasing from merely supplier benefits to community benefits.

This tour through social purchasing initiatives is an evolving ‘map’ as we go along the journey. We couldn’t cover every possible point of interest, so we tried to provide a good overview. Please send us any additions to the itinerary!

Why is the tour a ‘trending trajectory’?

A Trend is the prevailing tendency; changes in a situation or in the way that people are behaving; a direction in which something is developing.

A Trajectory is the path followed by a projectile flying or an object moving under the action of given force, a progression.

Background for the Tour

Social purchasing and Community Benefit Agreements are now moving beyond experiments. They are becoming innovative and effective implementations across multiple jurisdictions and locations. They are creating targeted employment opportunities, enhancing local economic development, and contributing to healthy communities. And through social purchasing social enterprises are seeing their sales opportunities increase, and their social impact grow.

In the spring of 2014 I published Exploring Social Procurement, which outlined opportunities and barriers to advance social purchasing, especially for governments. The paper noted that we were at an early development and emerging stage of social purchasing. (

Now just three years later Social Purchasing is on an amazing “trending” trajectory!

So, rather than me trying to write a comprehensive observation and analysis of what is evolving in social purchasing globally, let me just provide a tour of some quotes and quips. You can explore and see for yourself!

Read full Report here. (


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Social entrepreneurs in Ghana

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Posted by: SEWF admin /

Social entrepreneurs in Ghana have been encouraged to use digital media to promote their business.

Young women entrepreneurs have underscored the importance of using digital media to creating visibility for their business, attracting new clients, investors and partners.

At a networking forum dubbed ‘Women Innovate: Digital’, by international NGO, Reach for Change with support from Women in Social Enterprise and telecom operator, Tigo, several women shared their positive experience on promoting their business through digital media.

Providing guidance on how social entrepreneurs’ can use digital tools to tell their stories’, the Creative Director and Founding Editor for, Jemila Abdulai, said it was important for social and digital entrepreneurs to own the narratives of their business.

“As young business women, we need to tell our story and control the narratives about our business, else other people will tell it and it may not be favourable to our business.”

She also said it was important for entrepreneurs to create a digital trail of all the amazing work that they do. This would help them raise the profile of their business, attract partnership or even funding from other bigger organisations.

Another Digital and Social entrepreneur and founder of Tatas and Friends and Go Digital Ghana, Caritas Naa Ayele Aryee, recounted how she started her business online and used social media to drive engagement, participation and raise funds for various deprived schools.

“With very limited budget I started Tatas and Friends and engaged digital influencers to help me build an online presence. I used my own story and my passion to help others to connect and engage with the followers I had built on social media. Together we created fantastic social media buzz about ‘Kenkey for the needy’ and got radio and television inviting us to come for live interviews”, she revealed.

Ms. Toyin Dania from Djembe Communications, a PR and Communications Consultancy, opined storytelling is a combination of marketing, public relations, sales and social responsibility. She was of the view that if it was employed effectively on digital platforms, it could be used to grow social enterprises and positively impact society.

The panel also educated participants on the do’s and don’ts of social media engagement and some of the digital and social tools they could employ to dictate the narrative about what they do and to create an advantage for their various brands.


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With one of the world’s largest infrastructure pipelines, the Australian government has an unprecedented opportunity to leverage its spending power to address disadvantage and inequity in the communities in which it will build.

Crossrail in the UK is Europe’s largest construction project and currently employs over 10,000 people across over 40 sites. It is a wonderful example of how major infrastructure projects can rejuvenate the communities which they touch. This project is anticipated to create 55,000 full-time equivalent jobs and over 600 apprenticeships during construction alone through direct and indirect employment opportunities with an emphasis on UK companies, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), local employment, re-employment of the unemployed, apprentices and long-term skills development.

With one of the world’s largest infrastructure and construction pipelines, the Australian government is in danger of missing an unprecedented opportunity to leverage its spending power to address persistent disadvantage and inequity in our community. While recent amendments to the Commonwealth Procurement Rules coming into effect on 1 March 2017, require those tendering for government work to comply with ‘relevant regulations and/or regulatory frameworks’ regarding labour relations and ethical employment practices, occupational health and safety and environmental impacts,  they don’t go far enough.

Social procurement is one policy lever which governments could make more use of in ensuring that future Australian construction and infrastructure projects reflect the Crossrail outcomes. In simple terms, social procurement involves governments leveraging their purchasing power to require those tendering for government projects to give back to the communities in which they build. Social procurement can take many forms from the direct purchasing of products and services from social benefit organisations which specialise in employing disadvantaged groups such as Indigenous, disabled, ex-offenders, ethnic minorities, youth or the long-term unemployed, to the indirect use of contractual clauses to require existing supply chain partners to contribute to the communities in which they work, by employing disadvantaged people and local businesses etc. This in-turn translates to numerous longer-term benefits for the wider community such as increased wealth, better health and reduced crime, which can be measured using various emerging social impact measurement techniques.

Knowing that the bulk of the construction industry responds to market drivers and regulation better than anything else, and is unlikely to voluntary change, some forward-thinking Australian governments and private clients with a social conscience and major construction program are developing social procurement regulations and policies to force the construction industry to give back to the communities in which it works. The Federal Government’s Indigenous Procurement Policy (2015), NSW Policy on Aboriginal Participation in Construction (2015), The Queensland Government’s Building and Construction Training Policy (2015) and its Charter for Local Content are all examples of how governments can use a range of soft and hard policy levers to do this. More recently, the Victorian Government has introduced a mandatory requirement into its major infrastructure works program of $25 billion that 2.5% of project hours be allocated to indigenous employment and 10% to apprentices and trainees. There are also requirements for the employment of disadvantaged people from local communities through direct employment and through leveraging existing supply chains. Encouragingly, NSW Premier and Cabinet have also set up a Steering Committee to explore social procurement opportunities for the new Western Sydney Airport.

However, apart from a few leading companies like Multiplex who have been experimenting successfully with social procurement on major projects for a number of years, the vast majority of the construction industry remain blissfully ignorant of this emerging trend, lacking the new skills to manage these new cross-sector partnerships and unaware of their potential role in building a more to equitable and sustainable society. While many will claim to have significant corporate social responsibility strategies, most are non-strategic and typically consist of a rather random selection of philanthropic initiatives which are largely disconnected from corporate objectives and real community needs around specific project locations. They fail to come anywhere near satisfying the social requirements which major governments will begin imposing on our industry, driven by new trends in public governance which emphasise partnership with the private sector in meeting increasingly ‘wicked’ social problems within an environment of declining welfare budgets.

The challenge for the construction industry in engaging with this new unstoppable agenda which is gathering pace around the world is in working collaboratively with a whole host of previously unknown third sector organisations, while balancing competiveness and productivity. Recent research into social enterprise in the construction industry shows that there are many barriers-to-entry for the growing numbers of social benefit organisations which work in the construction sector. This research also shows that most construction companies see the community as a risk rather than an opportunity, and currently lack the skills to engage them effectively.

Recent world events have vividly demonstrated that equity of opportunity and wealth distribution are the basis of a stable and prosperous society. It’s time the construction industry stood up to be counted and met its full responsibilities to society.

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Social Value Summit

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Posted by: SEWF admin /

Now in its 4th year, the Social Value Summit is the leading event in its field, attracting over 300 leaders from across the private, public and social sectors. It is organised by Social Enterprise UK & Interserve, supported by Business in the Community.

When? – February 8th 2017
Where? – Institution of Engineering & Technology, Savoy Place, Embankment, London (

This year, the event will have three main themes

  • Social value as a route to a more inclusive economy
  • The social value of infrastructure
  • Social value for business: productivity, markets and supply chains

For attendees, the Summit will deliver

  • Leading expertise in the field of social value measurement & reporting
  • Up-to—the minute information and intelligence on good practice
  • Practical advice and take-aways on what to do in your organisation
  • Dialogue and debate on key issues from high quality speakers
  • Leaders from across sectors in attendance
  • Excellent networking
  • An outline agenda with workshop themes is below.

Already confirmed speakers include

  • Mike Barry, Director of Sustainable Business (Plan A) at Marks and Spencer
  • Veronica Daly, Director Parliamentary Procurement and Commercial Service
  • Amanda Mackenzie OBE, Business in the Community
  • Lesley Dixon, PSS
  • June O’Sullivan, LEYF
  • Rob Wolfe, Construction & Housing Yorkshire
  • Peter Holbrook, Social Enterprise UK
  • Guy Battle, Social Value Portal
  • Mark Bolger, Social Profit Calculator
  • Vidhya Alakeson, Power to Change
  • Ben Carpenter, Social Value UK
  • Anna Whitty, MBE, ECT Group
  • Chris Catterall, Public Services Lab
  • as well as senior representatives from Interserve, Business in the Community & government

Book here (

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