Addis Ababa 2019

Theme: Local traditions – Fresh perspectives

British Council and Social Enterprise Ethiopia hosted SEWF 2019 in Addis Ababa on 23 – 25 October 2019. British Council’s work on social enterprise in Ethiopia began in 2015 and gathered speed quickly, using expertise from British Council’s well-established Global Social Enterprise programme, which had been ongoing since 2005, understanding of local context and longstanding institutional relationships (office opened in Ethiopia 75 years ago).

Ethiopia is home to a young and dynamic movement: 75% of social enterprises have only been operating since 2010 and nearly half of all leaders are aged under 35. With support from the European Union, British Council has acted as a catalyst for Ethiopia’s emerging social enterprise movement with significant interest and support from Ethiopian government representatives.

  • 1,312 delegates
  • 71 countries and territories represented
  • 30% of delegates were from Ethiopia
  • 17% of delegates were from other countries in Africa
  • 195 speakers from 35 countries and territories
  • 55% of speakers identified as female
  • 24% speakers were under 35
  • 47% of speakers were social entrepreneurs from Africa
Social media reach
  • #SEWF2019 and #SEWFAddis hashtags reached 10 million with 42.6m impressions from 6,726 mentions by 1779 users.
  • 95% of delegates surveyed expressed that they were satisfied with the overall experience.
  • SEWF 2019 raised awareness of social enterprise across Ethiopia, including further support and recognition from government.
  • The EU announced its Innovation Fund to support social enterprises with innovative ideas.
  • IKEA and Acumen partnerships launched at SEWF 2019 to support the social enterprise sector in Ethiopia and East Africa.
  • British Council worked with SEWF to calculate the carbon impact of the event using the methodology developed in SEWF’s 2019 climate change strategy, resulting in a carbon offset payment of £12,606 to SELCO Foundation in India. This provided financing for sustainable lighting solutions for 400 households and energy solutions for 10 schools benefiting 600 students.
  • The British Council committed to putting significant emphasis and resource into planning, delivering and monitoring the local legacy outcomes from SEWF.