The first ever Social Enterprise World Forum in 2008 showcased the unique potential of bringing together individuals and organisations from the social enterprise movement around the world. Since then, we have held events on every continent and in 2020 we moved online to create SEWF Digital.
SEWF legacy of change
In 2008 when SEWF was founded, the sector lacked a global context. SEWF provided a platform where people could form long-lasting relationships, draw on and share models of best practice and drive the social enterprise movement together.
Since then, we have built momentum, developed networking opportunities, explored diverse social enterprise models, shared and created policies and exchanged learning experiences.
Our annual events and growing range of activities have allowed social enterprise leaders, practitioners and policymakers to engage and grow the social enterprise movement.
This year, we kicked off our annual programme of events starting with the virtual SEWF 2022 Policy Forum (24-26 May), co-hosted by White Box Enterprises. Over 750 participants together with 30 speakers and moderators joined us from 55 countries.
Our annual flagship event SEWF22 (28-29 September) was a hybrid event with 2,770 participants joining us from 93 countries. Participants were able to join the event in-person in Brisbane, online via Hopin and through Community Hubs around the world. With the theme of the year centering around “co-creating the future”, over 70% of our speakers were first-time speakers at SEWF with 20% being under 30 and over 60% of speakers identifying as women or girls. Spread across the SEWF22 week were in-person fringe events hosted in association with SEWF including the Academic Symposium (hosted by the Australian University Social Enterprise Alliance 27 September), the Australian Social Enterprise Youth Forum (27 September) and the Rural Gathering (2-5 October hosted by ACRE).
In 2021 we travelled – albeit virtually – to Nova Scotia, where we partnered with Common Good Solutions as 2021 Co-host to shine a spotlight on Canada, while also addressing priorities and issues for social enterprises around the world. SEWF 2021 was our first hybrid event with a network of Community Hubs hosting local events (in person and virtually). 58% of our speakers at SEWF 2021 identified as female, nonbinary or trans; 31% of speakers were under 30 and 72% also were first-time speakers. We recorded a combined 3,142 participants from 131 countries who were in attendance at the Youth Forum (27 September) and at SEWF 2021 (28-29 September). Spread across the year were also different SEWF events including the Policy Forum (27-28 April), Academic Forum (16-17 November) and the Rural Forum (27-28 October).
SEWF Digital 2020
In 2020, with just a few months to pivot our plans after the pandemic made meeting in person impossible, we hosted our first ever SEWF Digital events. SEWF Digital was our biggest global event to date, with over 5,000 reserved places from participants across 100 countries – 26% of whom were under 30 years old. A total of 234 speakers participated in 94 sessions. Prior to SEWF Digital, we held our first online Policy Forum, which engaged 162 policymakers and sector leaders across 30 sessions, featuring 43 different speakers.
Subscribe to access past event video content
Starting with over 100 videos from the SEWF Digital event in 2020, we’re building a database of social enterprise content for the SEWF community. It’s free to subscribe and we’ll keep adding to the collection as each new event takes place.Visit video library
Explore the archives
Below you’ll find a list of SEWF past locations and hosts. Click on the location for more information, including participant numbers, reports and videos (available for 2016-2022).
Brisbane, Australia (hybrid) / Host: White Box Enterprises
Hybrid event / Host: Common Good Solutions / Host Country: Canada
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia / Hosts: British Council Ethiopia and Social Enterprise Ethiopia
Edinburgh, Scotland / Host: CEIS
Christchurch, New Zealand / Host: The Ākina Foundation
Hong Kong / Host: Hong Kong General Chamber of Social Enterprises (HKGCSE)
Milan, Italy / Host: ACRA-CCS
Seoul, Korea / Host: Work Together Foundation
Calgary, Canada / Host: Trico Charitable Foundation
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil / Host: NESsT
Johannesburg, South Africa / Host: University of Johannesburg
San Francisco, USA / Host: Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA)
Melbourne, Australia / Host: Social Ventures Australia
Edinburgh, Scotland / Host: CEIS