Digital News

SEWF DIGITAL (21-25 Sept 2020)

Music legend Nile Rodgers, co-founder and chairman of We Are Family Foundation (WAFF), is confirmed to speak at SEWF Digital 2020. Since 2008, WAFF has dedicated its efforts to creating programmes that promote cultural diversity while nurturing and mentoring the vision, talents and ideas of young people who are positively changing the world. Nile will speak on 24 September 1910-1950 BST/ 1310-1350 COT/ 1110-1150 PDT and will be joined by Amonge Sinxoto, co-founder of Blackboard Africa and Chmba Ellen Chilemba, founder of Tiwale, in a session entitled ‘Youth to the Front’. Nile’s session will be open access and live streamed on You Tube to allow anyone from across the globe to tune in. The session will focus on how we as a society can nurture young people and inspire them to make positive changes across the world.  

Nile commented that “the concept of philanthropy, community work, whatever you want to call it has been with me all of my life, and it began for me in the ‘hood’ in afterschool programs. I was born very poor in a hardcore ghetto. The afterschool programs were a Godsend to me, and I credit them for helping me become who I am. They gave me enrichment, consistency and a sense of right and wrong. My whole life has been swimming upstream. I’m accustomed to the challenges life throws at me, and I am so accustomed to failure. I can live with failure because from all these failures you have successes. I am looking forward to sharing my journey with SEWF and the importance of nurturing and offering a springboard for the next generation.”

The Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) is the leading organisation for the global social enterprise movement. It challenges failed economic models and builds the movement by convening global and regional events, partnering with diverse organisations and influencing policy dialogues. SEWF has held events on every continent and is holding its first virtual event this year.

Partnering with SAP, APSIS and Scottish Government, SEWF Digital focuses this year on four themes; Youth, Climate, Response to COVID-19, and Gender. With 80+ sessions over four days, 4000+ international delegates from 50 countries, and 150+ speakers SEWF Digital is the biggest ever virtual social enterprise conference bringing practitioners and sector leaders from across the world together to connect and collaborate.

SEWF Digital is proud to partner with SAP, a global partner of SEWF, which believes in the power of business to solve social issues and trigger systemic change through innovation. Alexandra van der Ploeg, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility says “SAP has spent the past 10 years establishing trust and building capacity for social enterprises, and we are just getting started. We believe SEWF Digital plays a vital role in bringing a world changing ecosystem together. We’re honoured to take part in this experience and help bring incredible innovators, especially our young leaders like Amonge Sinxoto and Chmba Ellen Chilemba, to decision-making tables across the world.”

Scottish Government Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:

“It is a remarkable achievement and a reflection of the commitment and determination of the Social Enterprise sector that despite the challenges of COVID-19, this event is still going ahead allowing for the celebration of achievements and the sharing of learning from this exceptionally trying time.  And of course, to get such a well-known figure as Nile Rodgers to speak shows the reach this event now has.”

 “This is an opportunity to reflect on what our role as government is in ensuring that Scotland’s public services and third sector organisations have the tools they need to set the conditions for our communities to flourish.”

“The COVID-19 crisis has shown us that the social enterprise and third sector are essential to the social and economic wellbeing of a country and I want to ensure that the spirit of collaboration we have seen is nurtured and taken further. As a Scottish Government we will continue to support and engage the sector both at home and abroad as we recover from this pandemic.”

SEWF Digital is running virtually from 21-25 of September 2020 with content available to access online for registered participants until September 2021.

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For information about Nile Rodgers, please contact Fran DeFeo at

For information about the Social Enterprise World Forum, please contact and

About SEWF

Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) is the leading organisation for the global social enterprise movement. We challenge failed economic models and build the movement by convening global and regional events, partnering with diverse organisations, and influencing policy dialogues.

SEWF has held events on every continent and we’re holding our first global, virtual event this year. Social enterprises and their needs sit at the heart of our events, which are designed to build capacity, provide tangible skills, promote knowledge exchange, and foster critical social capital through networking and personal contact. This unique focus enables social enterprises to address complex social and environmental challenges, often in the most marginalised communities.

SEWF was established in 2008 by a group of the world’s leading social enterprise agencies and networks. They still guide the organisation today, ensuring we reflect the priorities of tens of thousands of social enterprises around the world.

For further information, visit

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European Social Enterprise Monitor launch


Posted by: Jo Seagrave / 22 September 2020

As of today, the first Social Enterprise Monitor at European level can be accessed by socially and environmentally minded entrepreneurs.

THE HAGUE (Euclid Network) are proud to announce the official launch of the inaugural European Social Enterprise Monitor (ESEM) survey at the 2020 Social Enterprise World Forum. The Monitor provides an opportunity for impact-driven entrepreneurs to share their perspective and influence the next generation of social enterprise strategies, support, funding and investing policies and laws.

Join 20+ national Social Enterprise networks, universities and research institutes! Each voice and perspective will bring invaluable insights into the ecosystem, successes and barriers of social entrepreneurship in Europe. Share your experiences, help close the current gap in data on social enterprise and have a say in the future direction of policy and funding decisions that will affect your business!

Take the ESEM survey now!

The History of ESEM
Over the past 3-14 years, national Social Enterprise Networks in Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands have conducted Social Enterprise Monitors at a national level. These delivered in-depth data on social enterprise and start-ups leading to important changes in policymaking, investment decision-making and contributed to increased visibility and understanding of the social enterprise model as well as its crucial role in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

What Can We Achieve Together?
The overall aim is for the ESEM to communicate, support and promote the needs and interests of enterprises in the social and solidarity economy across Europe and beyond. ESEM will gather participants’ insights on social entrepreneurship and make them available for decision makers, government officials, investors, researchers and impact practitioners. Having more knowledge and a better understanding of the sector means that funding as well as EU and national policies can become better adjusted and more responsive to the needs of (aspiring) social entrepreneurs.

The in-depth data on social enterprises and start-ups across Europe will allow country partners to be more aware of each other’s policies. The European comparison and better mutual understanding will strengthen collaboration and facilitate practitioners to learn from each other. More effective social finance and social enterprise will accelerate reaching the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Insights will contribute to the European Action Plan for the Social Economy designed by the European Commission and will drive the future of social enterprise and the social economy and be presented at the European Social Economy Summit #EUSES in Mannheim on 26-27 May 2021.

Who Are the Project Partners?
The ESEM project is supported by the European Commission. ESEM 2020 is the first edition of the research and aims to reach social entrepreneurs in 8 countries. In each country national Social Enterprise networks are involved, supported by research partners and social enterprise support organizations ranging from government officials, to investors, to universities and research institutes. Each country has a lead partner:

  1. Croatia – Act Grupa
  2. Denmark – Sociale Entreprenor i Denmark
  3. Estonia – Social Enterprise Estonia
  4. Germany – Social Entrepreneurship Network Germany (SEND)
  5. Portugal – EsLider
  6. Spain – ESADE
  7. Sweden – Forum for Social Innovation
  8. United Kingdom – Social Enterprise UK

In future years, we will expand our pool of country partners, research partners, outreach partners and sponsors. Organizations from countries who are currently not yet partners are welcome to contact and inform their network of social entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs can sign up for notification when a survey for their country will become available. Outreach partners and sponsors are also welcome for the ESEM2020 and future editions.

For a full overview of current partners and opportunities on how to get involved, click here.

Do you have a social impact business? Take the survey!

Do you know someone who does? Share the link!

Together we can influence the next generation of social enterprise policies and funding that will affect your organization and the world we want to live in. Make your voice heard!

Visit the ESEM website to find out more

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CSR RIP: why business behaving responsibly needs to be the new normal


Posted by: Jo Seagrave / 09 September 2020

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has existed as long as business itself, although the term wasn’t coined until the 1950s. Way back in the 1800s, the first step concerned working conditions in the factories emerging from the Industrial Revolution. Employers soon worked out that poverty and labour unrest didn’t make for good public relations. But it turned out that funding universal social progress projects in the fields of science or education did. Step forward Carnegie and Rockefeller.            

Fast forward to the 1970s. The idea of a social contract between business and society emerged; companies function and exist by public consent and therefore they should contribute to societal needs. Companies began to need a CSR policy – what were they contributing to society while they were making all that money for shareholders?

Along with that came scrutiny and risk. Was the publicising of company employees picking up litter or painting the wall of an orphanage merely a cynical marketing ploy to curry favour or simply to look good to its customers, with the ultimate goal of selling more products and generating more revenue? 

CSR is now a big industry as companies recognised they needed to have more than some vague examples of ‘doing some good’. At the demand of shareholders, companies now look to maximise the business value of any social or environmental work they do and these activities must be aligned to their corporate mission and values. And for CSR activities to be green-lit they also need to generate returns of some kind for the company – there needs to be a strong business case for them to be signed off.  

Particularly with environmental armageddon looming, supply chains are being increasingly scrutinised. And this is against a backdrop of increasing concern over inequality, be that racial, gender based or financial. Companies have to move beyond conventional CSR practices around funding good causes. How they behave and what they stand for is now just as important as what they’re actually giving back to society. The photo of the team beaming in branded t-shirts at the old folks’ home in the annual company report will soon start to feel very dated.

One easy way companies can contribute is to allow more public access to their knowledge capital and that’s where the Human Lending Library comes in. Within their organisations there are skills and knowledge in abundance; in marketing, in leadership, in sales and most other things in between. 

They have invested in people by way of training, by letting them accumulate knowledge as they journey through their careers. If they can make that available to social entrepreneurs who are doing business differently, they are participants in a coordinated effort for systems level change.

We work with the founders and leaders of some of the world’s best known businesses, such as Carphone Warehouse, Tech UK, Ogilvy and Penguin Random House, all of whom volunteer their time to provide one to one support and advice to the founders of high growth and high impact social enterprises.

To date nearly 300 of these social impact leaders have used our Human Lending Library. And this isn’t just a one way street. We have found both mentor and mentee learn from each other. Mentees benefit from the personal experience of how to succeed, and often gain access to the network of the mentors. 

The mentors, usually coming from a traditional business background, learn how business can be different, by learning how social enterprise works. They all tell us how invigorating and inspiring their meetings are. The influence of the mentees – the social entrepreneurs – on traditional business should not be underestimated. 

As creating positive social impact moves beyond a ‘nice to have’ and towards being sound commercial practice as customers demand more from the companies they spend their money with, we expect more successful business people to want to meet our social entrepreneurs. They’ll learn ways to future proof their businesses by doing so.

Kendra Walsh is the Director of Expert Impact, a not-for-profit which runs The Human Lending Library, a global mentoring programme for social entrepreneurs. 

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