The Social Enterprise World Forum 2020 will be held in the town of Halifax in Nova Scotia from 23 to 25 September.
The 2020 host city was announced at the close of the Social Enterprise World Forum 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Friday 25 October.Read More >
Written by Nebiyou Worku, Communications and Marketing Manager, British Council Ethiopia
This year brought the Social Enterprise World Forum 2019 to Addis Ababa, from 23 – 25 October, hosted by British Council Ethiopia and Social Enterprise Ethiopia (SEE). The forum showcased the rich, vibrant, diversified and dynamic social enterprise sector in Ethiopia and welcomed 1200+ delegates from around 70 Countries.
This brought much-needed airtime to the social enterprise (SE) sector by catalysing the area’s young and dynamic social enterprise movement – both within Ethiopia and more widely across the continent and the world. Members of the global social enterprise movement came together in Addis to learn from each other and share their experiences.
Photo © Pioneers Post
What a wonderful and vibrant SEWF 2019 it was! The Forum rocked in Addis. The mood was electric and the passion tangible. Ideas sparked everywhere. 1200 plus entrepreneurs mingled. The study tours were superb. Volunteers astounding. The rural study tours were out of this world. Music was delightful. The applause was spontaneous. The food was lauded. The coffee? Don’t get us started!
In all these, as the forum was appropriately themed, tradition and perspectives were the keywords.
The event itself was a first-of-its-kind in many ways. It was the first time it took place in a developing economy. It was the first time 53 per cent of speakers were female. It was the first time almost half of the speakers were African. It was the first time 1000 tickets were sold out 50 days before the event. It was the first time the SE Journalism Award was presented, and the winners awarded a trip to see the UK SE and Media ecosystem. Even if they know it by heart, it was, almost certainly, the first-time millions of Ethiopians heard about the term Social Enterprise. It’s probably the first time many of the participants had ever been to Ethiopia….and the list goes on.
So, what else do we need?
Entrepreneurs act on their instincts, knowledge, partnerships, wisdom and more. They turn these into innovations and change the world. So, what happens now SEWF 2019 is over?
We change the world, of course.
So, we, the entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs in Africa and the world want to effect change that touch the lives of the beautiful people around us. As it was echoed throughout the forum, there is no better time than now, and the world has never needed social enterprise as much as it does now.
We need to see social enterprise policy in Ethiopia, Africa and around the globe. We need to have social enterprises blooming throughout the world. We need this new ‘Capitalism’ boom. We want more corporates supporting the cause and becoming social enterprises themselves. We need to see youth employed in the social enterprise sector and become constructive. We need countless start-ups. We need numerous impact-investors growing. And we need them now.
As Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK succinctly expressed almost two years ago in the SEWF 2019 host city, Addis Ababa:
“More oxygen is produced by the millions of microscopic phytoplankton which are found in the oceans, than the trees. Small acts when multiplied millions can transform the world. In the same way, Social Enterprises can bring about a great change in the world.”
Together we can do it all.
The Social Enterprise World Forum 2019 (SEWF2019) programme was officially opened by Peter Brown, Country Director of British Council Ethiopia, during a press conference on 18 October.
Photo © Synergy Habesha
The programme of activities commenced with the superbly interactive opening ceremony of the Youth week, on Sunday 20th October. The Youth week allowed 100 young individuals from around the globe to attend the week-long programme from 20 – 25 October. The objectives were to increase youth participation in social enterprise, amplify youth voice (unemployment, education, political participation), initiate youth networks, create an opportunity for investment and call for action.
The youth ambassadors selected from Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Australia were involved in discussions with other participants throughout the week, forwarding their views and suggestions on how their participation could be enhanced.
Find out more about our Youth Ambassadors here – http://bit.ly/343g3mb and check out photos from the Youth week opening ceremony here – http://bit.ly/2BPu4b8
The 2019 education and academic symposium took place on 21 October, created a space for a cross-section of experts inclusive of academics and expert practitioners working in the field of social enterprise and education. These practitioners and academics learned, shared innovative experiences and discussed how to collaborate in the future to improve the role social enterprises are playing economically, socially and environmentally. This consisted of two strands:
The urban study tours allowed two groups to visit different social enterprise shops and eateries in Addis Ababa, a city which buzzes with different cultures and ongoing development, including:
Photo © Lidya Yohannes
The Policy Forum co-hosted by SEWF CIC and the British Council in partnership with the Ethiopian Government and Social Enterprise Ethiopia (SEE) was a closed forum, by invitation only. This involved rich discussions aimed at broadening the understanding of, and encouraging collaboration on, social enterprise policy developments and sharing insights. The forum was opened with a live performance of Ethiopian traditional music.
The exhibition took place throughout the main forum and showcased products and services from social enterprises across the world. It was also a place where delegates and exhibitors built valuable networks.
Photo © Synergy Habesha
Following the opening ceremony of the SEWF, a very colourful and vibrant African themed evening took place at British Council Ethiopia HQ where delegates mingled, ate, drank and danced.
Photo © Digital Storytellers
Ethiopia is Africa’s oldest independent country. It is also Africa’s second-most populous nation. It’s capital Addis Ababa is often called ‘The Capital of Africa’ because it hosts the Africa Union as well as the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Ethiopia’s population is highly diverse, containing over 80 different ethnic groups; 83 different languages with up to 200 different dialects spoken. It has historic links with three of the world’s oldest religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The cultural evening provided delegates with an experience of the diversified Ethiopian traditions, and a variety of Ethiopian dishes – ranging from lamb (beg) or chicken (doro) wot (stew) in the surroundings of Addis Ababa Museum.
Photo © Digital Storytellers
“This is the right time for Ethiopia to host the Social Enterprise World Forum.” These were the words of Dr Tilaye Gete, Ethiopia’s Minister for Education, as he greeted 1,200 delegates from 70 countries and territories at the opening of the 12th Social Enterprise World Forum on Wednesday 23 October 2019. Read the full article here – http://bit.ly/2om1laB
The main forum was an interactive event with multiple, diverse sessions including:
200 speakers from more than 50 countries led these sessions and shared their experience and expertise with 1000 plus participants.
“It’s a big deal to have the forum here [Ethiopia] and your presence here will leave a legacy.” Bruktawit Tigabu, founder of Whiz Kids Workshop.
“This Social Enterprise World Forum 2019 here in Addis Ababa has opened our eyes to all the possibilities of scaling up our service provision to blind and visually impaired people.” Founder of Visual Eyes Afrika-International, Molemisi Kono
“We envision a world where every woman is valued and given an opportunity.” The Co-Founder of Temsalet Kitchen
“We fight hunger differently.” Mike Curtin from DC Kitchen quoting Mother Theresa
“What worries me most in the fashion industry is the textile wastage, here at phinix, we collected over 4000 Kilos of textile waste, work with local artisans to produce beautiful shoes and bags for the market.” Pamela from Phinix, Malesia
“Any social enterprise should provide the best product or service in the market.” Tom Allen from Impact Boom
“I didn’t know that there are so many SEs in Ethiopia. Moreover, I got to meet lots of young people and learn.” Nancy Chebet, Participant from Kenya
Lalibela is known for its magnificent rock-hewn churches and Arba Minch for its raw natural beauty. But, the main focus, were the social enterprises there.
In Lalibela, the tour took the participants to BEZA Association and Ben Abeba. BEZA association was established to provide community care for people living with HIV/AIDS. For further info, visit facebook.com/bezafoundation. Ben Abeba is the creation of Scottish lady, Susan Aitchison and Ethiopian man, Habtamu Baye. The restaurant, set in a jaw-dropping location, currently employs 50 staff and provides a training platform for locals who wish to get into the restaurant trade. The site continues to evolve with 4 luxury apartments due to open there next month. The restaurant is eco- friendly, and 50,000 trees have been planted in the surrounding area, to cultivate natural wildlife. For those in the UK, Ben Abeba and Susan’s tale will feature in Ben Fogle’s ‘New Lives in the Wild’ on Tuesday 5th November at 9pm.
Photo © Jo Seagrave
The Arba Minch trip saw three SEs and how they operate. These were Jano Handicraft Association, Paradise Lodge and The Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church Development Commission (EKHCDC.) EKHCDC is legally registered and licensed as an NGO and targets the immediate and long term needs of its beneficiaries with a particular emphasis on children, women, and youth. One focus area of EKHCDC is institutional capacity building programs that have so far benefitted over one million people.
As the climate emergency has become more prevalent in the last year, one of the stand out sessions was ‘The role of social enterprise in saving the planet’.
In a strongly worded address on the second day of the Social Enterprise World Forum 2019 in Addis Ababa, Harish Hande, CEO of India’s sustainable energy Selco Foundation, drew attention to some of the less attractive characteristics of some social entrepreneurs.
“Social entrepreneurs shouldn’t assume that they are the only ones who can fix the world and instead collaborate with each other as well as governments, NGOs and businesses.” wrote Julie Pybus of Pioneers Post in an article following the session.
Photo © Pioneers Post
Eden Berhane, ‘Semonun Addis’, EBS TV was announced as the winner of the first-ever Social Enterprise Journalist of the Year award during the SEWF press conference on 18 October at the British Council Ethiopia HQ.
Eden is the Executive Producer of ‘Semonun Addis’ show on EBS TV channel. She won this award for the exemplary programmes she produced on the show with regards to why and how Addis should recycle plastic bottles and the amazing story of Tesfa Creative Craftworkers.
Photo © Synergy Habesha
Her plan for the future
Eden notes that there are lots of problems being faced by Social Enterprises. She aims to start a social entrepreneurship award television show which will help to create and encourage the social enterprise sector in the country.
You can access her entries here
Eden was given the honour of distributing certificates and awards to 4 journalist colleagues who won second, third, and special commendation awards after she spoke at SEWF 2019.
This award follows a session organised by British Council Ethiopia earlier in the year to bring journalists and social enterprise actors together to establish a better understanding of each other and how they can collaborate to publish more social enterprise stories.
Photo © Synergy Habesha
At the end of SEWF 2019, it was announced the Social Enterprise World Forum 2020 will take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia from 23 – 25 September. Lauren Sears, Managing Director of Common Good Solutions (the 2020 host organisation) told delegates:
“Halifax is the epicentre for social enterprise in Canada. Common Good Solutions will be welcoming the world to the Social Enterprise World Forum.”
Read the full article in Pioneers Post – http://bit.ly/2MPHHgK
We would like to thank our Strategic Partner, (Social Enterprise Ethiopia,) the Platinum Partners (Johnson & Johnson, Reach for Change and SAP,) our Gold Partner (Vodacom,) Bronze (Diageo, ESELA, Europian Union, The Scottish Government and Turkish Airlines,), Media Partners (Pioneers Post, Impact Boom, The Rooftop) and Documentation partners (Digital Storytellers and Synergy Habesha) for making this event possible.
Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporate: youtu.be/1MjkOKJ460E
FANA Broadcasting Corporate: https://bit.ly/36avv1I
Addis Standard addisstandard.com/news-social-enterprise-world-forum-sewf-2019-concludes-in-addis-abeba/
The Reporter thereporterethiopia.com/article/ethiopia-hosts-first-social-enterprise-world-forum-held-developing-world
Tadias Addis tadias.com/10/24/2019/ethiopias-young-people-launch-sewf-2019-with-music-and-dancing/
Thomson Reuters news.trust.org//item/20191022223346-0jyyo/
Business Insider pulselive.co.ke/bi/politics/whats-in-store-for-africa-at-the-social-enterprise-world-forum-sewf-2019-held-in/n15ftkj
Read More >
Bookings have opened for the Asia Pacific Social Enterprise Summit (APSES), taking place in Kaohsiung, Taiwan on 11-12th May 2019.
SEWF is happy to partner with the organisers of this event, first established in 2013 to help Taiwan’s social innovation ecosystem grow and to showcase the ability and willingness to help solve global problems. The event is viewed as one of the most significant social enterprise events across Asia-Pacific with over 1200 social entrepreneurs, corporate and government representatives attending each year and this year will be no different.
SEWF MD, Gerry Higgins and Director, Jae-Gu Kim will be among 60+ speakers from 15 Countries talking at the two-day summit.
The event will be opened by Shiza Shahid, Founder of Malala Fund and NOW.Ventures and Tonya Surman, CEO, Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) and will address social enterprise, ecosystem, social empowerment, tech for good and 7 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Book your tickets and find out more about the event programme and speakersRead More >
This year’s SEWF Global Forum will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 23-25th October. The tracks and themes for the event have been announced with the programme due in the coming weeks.
In a recent interview with Impact Boom, the SEWF 2019 Project Co-ordinator, Adenew Mesfin said “Our strapline for this year’s forum is local traditions, fresh perspectives. The reason we use the word traditions is because Ethiopia has a long history of social enterprise engagement, not under the label of social enterprise, but supporting the community.” Read the full articleRead More >