SEWF 2021

Key themes across SEWF 2021 – Youth, Gender, Indigenous community and social enterprise, Climate and circular economy, Rural, Social procurement, COVID-19, Equality

In 2021, social enterprises around the world continued to face challenges, but they were also at the forefront in providing solutions and frontline response to communities affected by COVID-19, the climate emergency and global inequality and disparity. Designed by and for social enterprises, SEWF 2021 (28-29 September) championed the potential of social enterprise – small and large, rural and urban – to bring about inclusive and sustainable economic development.

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. SEWF 2021 was our first hybrid event with a network of Community Hubs hosting local events (in person and virtually). Spread across the year were also different SEWF events including the Policy Forum (27-28 April), Youth Forum (27 September), Rural Forum (27-28 October) and the Academic Forum (16-17 November).


Policy Forum

  • 683 participants registered
  • 64 countries represented
  • 47% of attendees new to SEWF events
  • 91% of participants said they were exposed to policy contexts different from their own


Youth Forum & SEWF 2021

  • 3,412 tickets booked/registrations
  • 131 countries represented

Policy Forum

  • 25 live sessions
  • 57 speakers from 16


Youth Forum / SEWF 2021

  • 70 sessions
  • 205 speakers and moderators
  • 58% of speakers at SEWF 2021 and 65% of speakers at SEWF Youth Forum
    identified as female, nonbinary or trans
  • 31% of speakers at SEWF 2021 were under 30
  • 72% of speakers at SEWF 2021 and 85% at the Youth Forum were first-time speakers
Social media reach

SEWF stats through the year

  • #SEWF2021 was the official hashtag
  • 107,180 website pageviews
  • 1,226 posts across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn
Bursaries accessed

Youth Forum: 100% tickets supported by sponsors

SEWF 2021: 80% tickets supported by sponsors


Virtual events reduce many of the barriers to access that in-person events have. By securing sponsorship, we were also able to make the SEWF Youth Forum free to attend, provide bursaries for participation at SEWF 2021 and offer tickets at a highly reduced price (ranging from £29-£49). Live interpretation was available in Canadian French for all main stage sessions and selected parallel sessions at SEWF 2021 and CC captions were also available.

SEWF recognises that to make an event truly accessible, interpretation into sign language and other languages is required and we will continue working towards increasing our event accessibility.


Policy Forum

“In balancing the global speakers and topics with various time differences and languages, SEWF PF team has done an amazing job in organising, facilitating and most important of all, connecting; and I’m glad to know the end of the sub-forum is not the end of connection and exchange, it’s continued with the newly curated platform; super super kudos to all of you!” ⏤ Participant, Malaysia

SEWF Youth Forum

“I wanted to share that the Forum was very well organized. Everything was perfect and gave it an in-person live event experience. Going forward I would definitely recommend attending the forum to other people … After attending the SEWF Youth Forum, I would like to be more involved with the social enterprise movement”. ⏤ Reham, United Arab Emirates

SEWF 2021

“We have so much to learn from Indigenous
people, the values and the heart and soul you
bring to ‘business’ – so meaningful and true to our responsibility as global citizens. Thank you for sharing your stories. From a non-Indigenous person perspective, I am very grateful”. ⏤ Teresa, New Zealand 

“You’ve made my morning! Thank you!” ⏤ Byron, Australia


Policy Forum

  • 85% of participants had their expectations met or exceeded by the event
  • SEWF Message to COP26 was released
  • SEWF online Social Procurement Community of Practice launched during the Policy Forum
  • New partnership with the World Economic Forum Covid Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs to mobilize support for social entrepreneurs on the frontlines of the crisis.


SEWF 2021

  • We developed our Community Hub concept to support groups around the world to self-organise to hold local events during SEWF 2021. Community Hub locations included: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Liberia, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Rwanda, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Turkey and USA.
  • During the opening address of SEWF 2021, we were privileged to have Elder Stephen Augustine, Hereditary Chief on the Mi’kmaw Grand Council, perform an opening smudge to honour the event being hosted on First Nation Mi’kma’ki land (Nova Scotia)
  • In the lead-up to the event, SEWF partner Social Shifters held the Social Shifters Global Innovation Challenge, designed to support early stage and innovative solutions of entrants aged 18–30 with prizes of over $10,000 supported by Rathbones, RBC, SThree, Trico Foundation and SAP.