Year: 2018


How procurement will save the world

Category: Uncategorized

Posted by: Jo Seagrave / 19 December 2018

Forbes by Robin Meyerhoff, Brand Contributor, SAP

6th December 2018

In August, Microsoft made headlines by requiring its suppliers to implement paid parental leave policies. Any company that wants to sell goods and services to Microsoft must offer its employees a minimum of 12 weeks paid leave by this time next year.

This is one example of large companies that are pushing suppliers on more than just price point — going beyond financial costs to consider social and environmental costs as well. At the recent Social Enterprise World Forum (an annual event designed to encourage the growth of social enterprises) participants discussed how more sustainable procurement requirements adopted by large companies could positively impact profits, people and the planet.

Corporate and social enterprise panel at SEWF 2018 discussing social supply chains

Dr. Marcell Vollmer, SAP; Julian Hooks, Johnson & Johnson; Jeremy Willis, PwC; Adele Peek, Foundation for Young Australians and Philip Ullman, Cordant Group discuss benefits and reasons for engaging social enterprises in corporate supply chains

Johnson & Johnson, one of the largest healthcare companies globally, attended the event. Julian Hooks is the Chief Procurement Officer, Corporate Tier, at Johnson & Johnson. He said, “We try to make the world a healthier place one person at a time and we’re doing that in part through our procurement strategy.” To deliver on that promise, Johnson & Johnson prioritizes buying from suppliers that are women or minority-owned businesses.

According to Hooks, in 2017 the company spent 1.45 billion dollars with businesses owned by women or people of color. He believes, “to change the face of healthcare, you need to change the face of the supply chain. That’s what does good in society and makes an impact.” Since Johnson and Johnson operates in 165 companies and works with 70,000 suppliers around the world, it has the potential to significantly boost diversity amongst business leaders globally.

Technology Makes Social Procurement Easier Technology can also help promote goods and services offered by social enterprises to commercial businesses. That’s where SAP, a global software provider, has stepped in. Marcell Vollmer, Chief Digital Officer of SAP Ariba, spoke at Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) about how the Ariba Network (from SAP’s 2012 acquisition of e-procurement cloud vendor, Ariba) connects over 3.5 million companies around the world to socially responsible businesses.

“When we talk to procurement professionals, we see people trying to tackle supply chain issues such as slavery, poverty and diversity. But they are struggling because they lack visibility and data on their suppliers,” explains Vollmer. SAP Ariba provides that visibility and can track over 200 different criteria such as environmental performance, fair labor and business practices or diversity in management. This information allows companies to conduct risk assessments and rankings of potential vendors, which result in more ethical and sustainable supply chains.

Given that SAP Ariba connects over 3.5 million companies to exchange approximately 2.1 trillion dollars in commerce, it presents a huge opportunity for social enterprises to connect with a bigger market. And an easier way for companies to enact more sustainable business strategies by buying from socially responsible providers.

SAP is also developing an ecosystem of partners that helps companies find businesses with social purpose. For example, SAP Ariba has made headway eliminating products made by enslaved workers through its partnership with Made in a Free World by providing transparency into suppliers’ labor practices. It also works with organizations like ConnXus to promote supplier diversity by helping companies identify small, minority and women-owned sellers.

To learn more about how social enterprises can enhance corporate supply chains, register for a new massive open online course (MOOC) created by SAP and SEWF. The course begins January 22, 2019.

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SEWF announces new Chair and Managing Director

Category: Uncategorized

Posted by: Jo Seagrave / 14 December 2018

Social Enterprise World Forum is delighted to confirm Professor Jim Schorr of Vanderbilt University, Nashville Tennessee as its new Chair. On December 10th Professor Schorr took over from David LePage of Buy Social Canada who had held the position for three years.

SEWF is also pleased to announce that Gerry Higgins will become its first Managing Director on January 1st 2019. The appointment of a Managing Director has been made possible by the support of international business software company SAP as the first SEWF Global Partner. This 3-year partnership allows SEWF to add vital capacity to its work in growing and supporting the social enterprise movement around the world.

Gerry Higgins, will combine his role of SEWF Managing Director with a new role of Director of International Enterprise at Community Enterprise in Scotland (CEIS), having served as CEIS CEO since 2006.

Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) has moved well past being a once-a-year activity and now serves a global community of social enterprise and their supporters. With SEWF Host partners secured for 2019 and 2020 and plans for Regional and Partnership Events, SEWF will deliver an enhanced programme of support to policy makers and social enterprise development initiatives in response to increasing demand around the world.

New Chair, Jim Schorr said, “It has been fascinating to be part of the growth of the global social enterprise movement for the last decade, since the first world forum in Edinburgh. It is an honour to be replacing David LePage as Chair of SEWF at this exciting time for the organization and for social enterprises globally”

Outgoing Chair, David LePage, “With Jim’s leadership, Gerry’s engagement, SAP’s support and a global network built over the last ten years, SEWF is well positioned to take the next steps in the creation of a supportive ecosystem for social enterprise.”

For details of SEWF Global Partnership with SAP
For details of SEWF Programmes

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Are you a social enterprise looking for new customers to work with? Or, maybe you’re looking to diversify your supply chain by working with social enterprises who positively contribute to solving social, economic, or environmental challenges?

If you said yes to either of the above questions, then we’ve got the perfect learning opportunity for you! There’s a free Massive Open Online Course, How Social Enterprises Enhance Corporate Supply Chains, starting from January 22, 2019 and you’re invited to join. All you need to sign up is a valid email address and all video units require just 20 minutes of your time to complete. You can learn at any time that suits you and on any device. Here’s how it works!

The course introduces you to a variety of corporate and social enterprise representatives, sharing their experiences and helping you find the right solution for your business. The course runs over a four-week period, so every Tuesday from January 22, there will be new content released. You’ll find five videos per week and they’re approx. 20 minutes each – you can watch them in one sitting or one a day. And if you have questions or would like to discuss the content, you can meet your peers and the content experts in the discussion forum.

If you’d like to earn a Record of Achievement at the end of the course, you can complete the weekly assignments. These are multiple choice tests that you can take any time throughout the week, but you must submit them before the weekly deadline (every Wednesday before 9:00am UTC).

If you can’t commit to completing the weekly assignments, don’t worry – you can dip in and out of the content at any point, choosing the topics that appeal most to you. After the course finishes on February 27, you can still access all of the course content – you won’t be able to create new discussions or take the weekly assignments but you can still benefit from the course content.

Ready to learn? Enroll today for free – just create an account with your email address and when it’s time to start, we’ll send you a reminder with some more information.

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Why social entrepreneurs and big business need each other

Category: Uncategorized

Posted by: Jo Seagrave / 31 October 2018

Edinburgh’s Old Town is famous for its castle and buildings dating back to the Medieval era. But something new is taking root in the capital of Scotland; It is quickly becoming a global hub for social enterprises.

While there is no formal definition of social enterprise, it is usually defined as a commercially viable organization focused on benefiting the public – rather than shareholders or owners. This can mean anything from helping alleviate conditions for people living in poverty, to protecting the environment. And the sector is booming: 42 percent of social enterprises have been established in the past 10 years.

In a country of less than 5.5 million people, Scotland’s social enterprise sector includes approximately 5,600 organizations, contributes 1.68 billion pounds (about $2.2US billion) to the economy annually, and employs over 100,000 people.


Advancing Collaboration Between Social Enterprises and Big Business

So, it’s fitting that the eleventh Social Enterprise World Forum, an annual global event designed to “create a global social enterprise movement,” was recently held in Edinburgh. Over 1400 delegates from 47 countries gathered to collaborate, network and discuss how they could help tackle the world’s social and environmental problems. Throughout the event a common theme emerged: the need to strengthen the relationship between the commercial and social business sectors.

Gerry Higgins, CEO of Community Enterprise in Scotland, founded the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) and has over 30 years of experience starting and running social businesses. “Partnerships between social and private enterprises have come a long way,” he said. “But over the last few years we’ve really reached a tipping point – the corporate sector is recognizing that it can make a significant difference in communities through social enterprise partnerships.”

In part, Higgins thinks the impetus comes from millennials. “Young people are realizing that business as usual isn’t good enough, and that we have a lot of challenges globally.” This generation has inspired more interest than ever in the social sector, but also put pressure on big business to show their responsibility towards addressing social and environmental challenges.

Higgins believes that bringing corporate and social worlds closer together is a win-win for both. Companies are being asked increasingly to report on how they positively impact communities. One way they can demonstrate socially responsible business practices to shareholders is by buying from social enterprises. Conversely, corporate buyers provide social enterprises with a new and potentially lucrative customer base, which will help increase their social impact.


SAP Doubles Down On Commitment to Social Enterprises

As a global business software provider, SAP agrees that working with social enterprises is mutually beneficial — and is doubling down on its commitment to the sector. The company participated in SEWF as the organization’s first global partner. The three-year partnership will help drive growth in the social enterprise sector and includes a new massive open online course (MOOC), designed by SAP and SEWF members to teach participants how social enterprises can enhance corporate supply chains.

For many years, SAP has supported social enterprises primarily through its social sabbatical program, that matches SAP employees with social enterprises, NGOs and non-profits where employees use their expertise to help organizations address strategic challenges. But Alexandra van der Ploeg, vice president of corporate social responsibility at SAP, believes there are two main reasons why there is more momentum than ever across the company to engage with social enterprises.

First, in 2015 the United Nations established the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at fighting poverty, equality, and climate change. “Agenda 2030 and the SDGs have increased awareness about the private sector’s role in helping to achieve the societal, economic and environmental goals of the UN,” said van der Ploeg.

Second, (but related) the investment community wants to see that corporations conduct business more responsibly. Van der Ploeg explains, “There’s a push from investors that makes this a pivotal moment. They are urging companies to look beyond the economic bottom line to the triple bottom line that measures economic, social and environmental achievements.”

She believes SAP can help accelerate social enterprises with its technology, employees and ecosystem. SAP technologies can boost social enterprises and help them scale, for example, SAP Ariba can connect buyers worldwide to purveyors of socially-responsibly made goods.

Employees can volunteer their expertise and time to support existing social entrepreneurs and maximize their impact. Or start their own through internal initiatives like 1 Billion Lives initiative, an incubation program that supports employees who want to launch socially-minded businesses. Last, the SAP ecosystem of partners (including for, and not-for, profit organizations,) can provide social entrepreneurs with new business opportunities and markets.

This dovetails neatly with SAP’s purpose: to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. Adaire Fox-Martin is an Executive Board member at SAP SE, in charge of Global Customer Operations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Greater China. She has long been a champion of social entrepreneurship; for example, she started SAP’s 1 Billion Lives program. As Fox-Martin put it, “The opportunity that we have with social enterprises is to allow our employees to live our values, engage with projects and ideas close to their hearts and truly help the world run better.”

Next year SEWF will take place in Ethiopia, one of Africa’s fastest growing economies with over 100 million inhabitants. Ethiopia already has a strong social enterprise sector. Watch this space.

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Brand social enterprise as Capitalism 2.0

Category: Speaker & Partner Blogs

Posted by: Jo Seagrave / 24 July 2018

By Eric Lombardi

Eco-Cycle International


Let’s brand the “profit-for-purpose” social enterprise as Capitalism 2.0

The not-for-profit shops we all know and love, like thrift stores and animal shelters, conduct business and are fulfilling a beneficial social purpose. This form of nonprofit social enterprise is widespread and growing, but I wouldn’t say it is revolutionary in the way I’m thinking. My focus is on a relatively new approach to business called the “for-profit social enterprise”, and if it grows to a large enough scale it could have profoundly positive impacts on the U.S. and the world.

The current world leader in this approach to social business, the U.K., especially Scotland, has created a legal vehicle for for-profit social enterprises called “Community Interest Companies” (CIC’s). The creation of legal status is important and at the heart of the revolutionary potential of social enterprise. The legal form one chooses for a business entity has important financial implications related to raising money, paying taxes and public transparency. And so it is for the social enterprise (SE) – a new set of regulations and rules from the government determines the financial structure and opportunities for the future.

Social enterprise legal forms are different in every country, but a review of the various approaches from the U.K., the E.U., Australia and Canada show an emerging trend with common elements:

  1. The SE must be created and operated to fulfill a social or environmental mission first and foremost;
    The profits must be returned to fulfill this mission either wholly (100%) or partially (more than 51%);
  2. Dividends paid to investors must be limited to a percentage of net profits, usually between 0-35%;
  3. Assets of the SE are “locked” in the way assets of nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations are locked;
  4. eaning that they can only be sold to another SE or nonprofit entity pursuing a similar mission;
  5. The financial accounting of the SE must be open to public review in a manner similar to nonprofit organizations.

Social enterprises in the U.S. are currently operating as small businesses in many sectors, such as restaurants, food production, and reuse/recycling programs. Their profit-for-purpose missions include job training and skills development for hard-to-employ populations, environmental protection, housing for the homeless, youth development, and economic justice. The only legal form that requires an American for-profit social enterprise to pursue their social mission first and profit second is called the “Low-profit Limited Liability Company” (L3C).

The future holds the potential for SE to grow into something much more significant than it is today, and, dare I say, could be a social revolution in how we view capitalism itself. I am imagining a social enterprise with a large work force, capital assets and marketplace savvy sufficient to partner with local governments to pursue the community-scale public missions that require new infrastructure for climate-smart waste, energy and transportation systems. The traditional “single bottom-line” (profit) business approach is clearly not working fast enough to prevent global warming from increasing, so a new approach is needed.

I can imagine bigger and better outcomes for our communities when SE links arms with the government to spearhead the creation of well-funded facilities to support Zero Waste and Zero Carbon goals. The SE wouldn’t necessarily have to do all the direct work, it could play an oversight role by subcontracting out projects to private sector companies willing to support the mission and limit their profit-seeking in exchange for an increased degree of market safety. I would call it a form of negotiated competition.

The strength of this new approach would be that the government, representing the community interest, would establish a clear vision and goal for the future, while the SE would bring the sector expertise and transparency to the table. Together this public-private team would be constantly monitoring, planning, analyzing and adjusting multiple contracts and programs, always with the dual goals of achieving tangible progress while participating in the financial gains and losses within a negotiated range.

Could it work? My experience running a recycling social enterprise tells me it can because we did it on a small scale. In the 1990’s we grew a network of ten small recycling drop-off centers throughout our County in cooperation with the local governments. Our social enterprise designed, financed, and operated the centers on behalf of the government in exchange for negotiated risk/reward contracts with the goal of our SE making around a 10% profit each year, getting our investment back, and after ten years turning over the ownership and operation of the centers to the local government. Public ownership of the green infrastructure is essential for ensuring longevity and scale regardless of market forces.

The future growth of profit-for-purpose enterprises offers the traditional business sector new ways of participating and supporting social and environmental programs that have high non-financial benefits but limited profit opportunities. The financial operating systems for our nations are a bit like computer operating systems, and we all know how even the best of those are given “upgrades”.

I think Social Enterprise is an upgrade to capitalism, and that can be nothing but good in these times of social and environmental challenges.

Eric Lombardi has been working at the cutting-edge of the Zero Waste and Social Enterprise Movements across the world since the mid-90’s. His working mission has been to transform the “waste management” industry into a resource management industry.

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By Marie Marin 

CEO, Employers For Childcare

Back in the late 1990s, responding to the barrier a lack of affordable childcare presents to working parents, I developed a community project encouraging employers to implement family friendly policies. From this project, reliant on funding, Employers For Childcare has grown to be a completely self-financing social enterprise, contributing 100% of profits to our charity supporting parents to get into and stay in work. Having been a working mother of two boys I identify with the challenges and frustrations experienced by the thousands of parents our charity supports. Although my sons are now grown, and childcare is no longer a personal concern, access to appropriate childcare for all remains an issue close to my heart.

In supporting parents to get into, and stay in, the workforce it can help to reduce poverty and inequality across the UK.

Childcare as an economic issue

That is why our ethos is to address childcare, not only as a social issue, but as a labour market and economic issue. We do this in several ways, providing immediate support and assistance to families at the same time as understanding and addressing root causes and fundamental issues. It was important to me, from the beginning, that our charity became part of the solution, not simply highlighting problems. Everything we do is underpinned by our ongoing research which we share with policy makers, politicians, third sector organisations, employers and parents.

And what have we found? Well we know that an inability to pay for childcare is a key contributing factor to poverty and inequality. In 2017, our research with parents in Northern Ireland revealed almost one third of households were paying more for childcare than on their mortgage or rent. Close to half of parents reported their household had had to ‘go without’, or cut back on another expense, in order to meet their childcare costs. It isn’t acceptable that some working families struggle to heat their homes, or are reliant on foodbanks, in order to meet their childcare bill.

Having found that many families were unaware of the support they are entitled to, we established a Family Benefits Advice Service operating a helpline offering free, impartial and confidential advice on childcare and financial support available to parents – right across the UK. As well as the helpline, our Advisors offer community and employer outreach, delivering 458 advice and information sessions last year.

In 2016/17, we identified collective savings of over £14.8 million for the parents we supported – with an average saving for working parents of £4,130. This is money these families are entitled to, but were unaware they could be claiming and makes a huge difference to them.

Lobbying Government
Not content to accept the status-quo in terms of the support available to working parents, we address policy directly and lobby Government on childcare, family and work-related issues. We are currently calling on the UK Government to keep Childcare Vouchers, a valuable form of financial support to working families, open to new entrants, beyond the planned closure date of October. We have prepared briefings for MPs and suggested ways in which Government can keep Childcare Vouchers open, alongside Tax-Free Childcare, within their funding envelope. Our work continues….

Looking ahead
We are in the process of expanding our social enterprise, developing a new project comprising an indoor activity centre which will be inclusive and accessible for all, particularly addressing the requirements of families who have a child with additional needs. Hopefully I can provide an update on progress at September’s conference!

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Puzzles and partnerships

Category: Speaker & Partner Blogs

Posted by: Jo Seagrave / 24 June 2018

By Alexandra van der Ploeg

Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, SAP

What if all 7.6 billion people in the world tried to put together a jigsaw puzzle? Each person with a piece of the puzzle. The private sector; public sector; social entrepreneurs; policy makers—the list goes on. Could we do it? Would we agree on why we should do it? Where would we start? With friends and family or with employers and countries? Could we “create an app for that”? Chances are, we’d never finish the puzzle and most likely would feel too daunted by the task to even start.

Does that mean it can’t be done?

Like the world trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle, our work is connected, but our efforts may not always be. Three years into Agenda 2030 we see more corporations developing strategies to contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With that comes increased awareness of a whole sector that has been working for years on systemic change – social enterprises.

With principles such as innovation, transformation and purpose embedded into the DNA of a social enterprise, it is only logical that we should see increased partnerships between corporations and social enterprises in the pursuit of collective impact. It’s why SAP is honored to partner with the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) for the second year in a row, as we understand and believe in the power of an open platform like SEWF to unite different stakeholders and enable collaboration and knowledge sharing to effect sustainable social change.

The social enterprise movement is of course not new. In the last 20 years we have seen the emergence of organizations crucial in developing the sector, such as Ashoka, the Skoll Foundation, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise UK and 10 years ago the Social Enterprise World Forum, leading to a staggering number of social enterprises that are founded across the globe every day. Just recently I learned that in the UK alone there is a vibrant social enterprise community with around 70,000 social enterprises, employing almost 1M people – numbers that demonstrate how powerful this sector has become in such a short period of time!

Yet I would argue that we are seeing two trends with the potential to increase the relevance of social enterprises even further. One is of course Agenda 2030 and the other being the growing demand by society that companies serve a social purpose. Let me elaborate a little.

In September 2015, the world was witness to a historic moment – the adoption of Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals by all 193 UN member states. Historic 1) as for the first time ever there was a clearly outlined and unified plan of action to create a world without poverty, a healthy planet, and a just, peaceful society for everyone 2) the adoption of the SDGs resulted from an unprecedented inclusive process, with governments, business, civil society and citizens.

Over the last two and a half years, the world has taken crucial steps together, but it is also clear that multi-stakeholder partnerships and true collaboration are required to achieve the SDGs. With their core competence in social innovation and transformation, social enterprises bring a level of expertise to the table second to none, making them an invaluable partner in achieving collective impact for the SDGs.

So what about purpose?

Purpose matters to just about everything. Social enterprise or not, people want to support companies dedicated not only to solving business problems, but that have a social conscience, as well.

In January 2018, Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock Inc., issued a letter to CEOs with a very clear message. When the owner of an investment fund that manages 1.7 trillion USD in active funds, calls for companies to make a positive contribution to society beyond their financial performance, it sends a ripple effect through the business community. In other words, to stay relevant and secure future success, companies are learning to make decisions that create collective economic, social, and environmental impact. Who better to look to than social enterprises that have made systemic social change their reason to exist?

As I shared in my puzzle metaphor, we are all working on different pieces of the same problem, we just might not always be working together (yet!). Partnerships built through ecosystems like Social Enterprise World Forum help all of us to forge uncommon collaboration to deliver on our shared purpose.

What’s next?

I look forward to continuing the dialogue on how the pursuit of partnership, a shared purpose and innovation lead to greater impact for all. No organization can go it alone, but together, we can transform industries, grow economies, lift-up societies, and sustain the environment.


SAP is a SEWF C.I.C. Global Partner

As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP is committed to helping companies of all sizes and industries become best run businesses. Now more than ever, being the best means making a difference. It means connecting people and information to address the world’s biggest challenges. SAP is thrilled to sponsor SEWF.


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Today, Asia is faced with numerous unsolved problems.

Tomorrow, how can Asia utilize social innovation in tackling difficult issues?

On May 5-6, 2018, Tomorrow Asia, 2018 Asia-Pacific Social Enterprise Summit』, taking place at Taichung Cultural and Creative Industries Park , is the largest social enterprise summit in Taiwan with more than 30 international speakers from 15 countries, will  present trends of social innovation in the field of Food & Agriculture, Ageing, Minority Employment, Environment & Green Energy.

Join representatives from public, private and civil sectors to seek opportunities and change Asia’s Tomorrow!

There will be two sessions across two days for people to watch via the live streams:

May 5  

9:30-10:00 (CST) Opening Ceremony,  

10:00-11:00 (CST) Keynote Speech 1Lucy Iron Fish Enterprise (Cambodia) – Gavin Armstrong (Fonder and CEO)

Speaker biography: Dr. Gavin Armstrong is a committed impact entrepreneur. He is currently serving as the Founder and President of “Lucky Iron Fish Enterprise®”, a social enterprise attempting to alleviate iron deficiency around the world using a simple health innovation. Through this role he was a Fulbright scholar at Auburn University and was awarded the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 in the Social Entrepreneur category in 2016. In 2017 he received the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award and was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year by EY Canada.

A long-term advocate and activist against hunger and malnutrition, Gavin is the first Canadian to receive the Clinton Award for international work against hunger and is the inaugural recipient of the international Michaelle Jean Emergency Hunger Relief Award. He has also helped the Lucky Iron Fish win multiple Cannes Lion awards and several Clio Design Awards. He has also received a Silver Innovation Award from the Edison Foundation. In 2015 Conscious Company Magazine featured Gavin as one of the seventeen Rising Social Entrepreneurs of the year. He is also the youngest recipient of the Social Innovator of the Year Award from the Lewis Institute at Babson College. In 2017 Gavin was named one of the 50 philanthropists changing the world by Town & Country, and in 2018 was named in the top 100 visionary leaders by Real-Leaders magazine.


May 6

10:00-11:00 (CST) Keynote Speech 2 One Earth Innovation(UK) – Reed Paget (Managing Director)

Speaker biography: Reed Raget is the founder of “One Earth Innovation”, a green product incubator which has worked on projects ranging from low-energy computing to Bio-char. Projects currently in the pipeline include creating the world’s most sustainable denim jeans.

Reed’s previous businesses include Belu Water, the UK’s most eco-friendly bottled water brand. Belu is the world’s first carbon neutral bottled water, the first in Europe to use compostable bottles made from corn, the first to promote PVC-free bottle caps and the first to commit all profits to clean water projects.

He was named UK Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2008 by the Schwab Foundation; he was a Social Enterprise Ambassador for the UK Cabinet Office between 2007-2010, and he is on the Advisory Board of the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Reed started his career as a journalist and filmmaker. Along with producing television news in New York, he produced and directed the award-winning documentary film American Passport. Shot in 11 war-zones on five continents, the film documents waning days of the Cold War from the military crackdown in Tienanmen Square to Scud Missiles landing in Israel. The film has screened in 15 countries on Canal Plus and the Independent Film Channel.

Conference official website:


Social Enterprise World Forum is proud to help promote the conference! People can access conference and watch the live streams at: on both the 5th and 6th of May.

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SEWF 2017 is still influencing what I do today

Category: Speaker & Partner Blogs

Posted by: Jo Seagrave / 04 April 2018

By Michelle Ferguson

Director of Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company

Why would I want to fly around the world to be part of the SEWF 2017, especially as I don’t enjoy flying? Wouldn’t it be just another conference where you scribbled down some notes and collected business cards from people you would never hear from again?

I can say a definite no, that wasn’t the case.

Scotland has made a huge headway in terms of social enterprise with a national 10-year strategy, business support programme, social investment, and education and leadership initiatives. But I saw first-hand how much we can learn and gain from spending time with other people making change around the world.

The experience of networking and collaborating with other social enterprise leaders has fundamentally changed the way I think about my social enterprise. Although we are a small enterprise in the West of Scotland we are very much part of a global community of social enterprises, and my experience at SEWF has been transformational.

Yes, we have a lot to share but the knowledge, passion and experiences that come from hearing from other nations, leaders and practitioners about their developments and the impact they are making to their communities is both insightful and inspiring.

It wasn’t just the keynote speeches, the shared understanding and purpose that made the Forum stand out for me – it was actually the discussions at coffee stands, the people who in normal circumstances you wouldn’t get the opportunity to speak to.

I was having a quick bite of lunch on my own one day when I was joined by Wan-Ju Yu, a legislator from Taiwan. We chatted about our countries and the difference social enterprises can make to economies, in addition to the positive benefits to cultures and to society. She had set up her own social enterprise and due to her success had been approached to stand for government. She is now influencing decision making at a senior level.

I don’t think I have spent time with anyone as unassuming and inspiring as Wan-Ju Yu. She made me realise the impact we can make and that governments around the world really are focusing on what our sector is delivering.

Another day, standing waiting to join one of the facilitated sessions, I met Lucretia de Jong from Try Australia, the oldest non-profit/social enterprise in their country. They have really innovative ways of working which improves the lives of their beneficiaries, offers new skills, valuable work, and training and gives them the opportunity to build a home. Their team-centric approach really struck a chord with me and in my new position as Director of Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company, I am going to implement many of the strategies she shared with me. In fact, a lot of the things we are putting in place here are because of what I heard and learnt in New Zealand.

Those were just two of the remarkable people I met. I also made connections with many others whom I continue to be in contact with – not just from around the globe but from Scotland and the rest of the UK. The most difficult thing was choosing which sessions to attend. My advice is to book as early as possible.

So if you are like me, you want to hear from the most influential speakers, leaders and politicians who are involved with the worldwide social enterprise movement I would wholeheartedly recommend that you attend the World Forum in Scotland.

It is an experience which will change your perception and invigorate and challenge you in a way that no other event of its kind will.

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