Late but ‘live’ — final thoughts from SEWF 2018, Edinburgh

As Sarah noted in her previous post, she may now be back from Edinburgh — and with a lot of catching up to do — but there is still a lot of value in sharing what she learnt from this year’s SEWF. We agree, and so here is her last post from Edinburgh.

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This is my last and final post from SEWF 2018.

All week I was feeling a kind of creeping worry that on the last day I was speaking twice in front of peers I hugely respect and a world audience of social entrepreneurs. My first session was a panel presentation about ISE’s work as an infrastructure support organisation and included the Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter, and our work on clustering for procurement and supply chains.

My colleagues on the panel were from The Akina Foundation in New Zealand, NeOOne Foundation Malaysia and Josiah Lockhart (wearing social enterprise tartan) from Firstport in Scotland.

The interesting point about this presentation was that in England we don’t get governmental funding for social enterprise development and our ability to provide support depends on our own resourcefulness — whereas countries new to social enterprise development (and some older ones) are well-resourced through statutory bodies. It made me realise just how far in some respects England has fallen behind in the support it has available to help the sector grow.

My second presentation concerned ‘Social Enterprise Place’. This was a Masterclass filmed for future reference! Hopefully it will stand the test of time never mind my constantly changing hairstyles!

For me the key to future social enterprise growth is collaboration, social enterprise awareness-raising and access to opportunities to trade — all of which underpins the work being undertaken in Birmingham and Digbeth, both of which are now social enterprise places.

It was great to have a platform to speak about this and to get people to consider that by working together we can do so much more!

It was a great World Forum and the day ended with bag pipes, music, dancing and celebrations and announcement of next year’s SEWF 2019 to be held in Ethiopia.

This year we had 15 representatives from Birmingham attending — let’s hope next year we can at least match this and continue to learn from others and share our work on the international stage.

Thanks for reading!

Signing off, Sarah

See all Sarah’s posts from this and previous SEWFs

Birmingham UK. Freelance research, evaluation and policy consultant specialising in social enterprise and the third sector. I maintain the BSSEC blog and website

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