Live from Social Enterprise World Forum 2018 — Edinburgh

As we wrote in this post, the Social Enterprise World Forum has returned to the UK after 10 years of travelling the world, one continent at a time, and this year’s host city is Edinburgh.

As in previous years, Sarah Crawley has kindly offered to do some live blogs so that those of us who haven’t gallivanted off to Scotland can share the excitement. It’s her first day’s account — here goes.


Sarah has just posted this:

I arrived at the World Forum full of excitement, really looking forward to an action packed four days of networking, new idea harvesting and meeting inspirational people.

My week started early with a meeting of leads for all the Social Enterprise Places. There are now 26 recognised SE places in the UK, mostly in England as well as some new additions internationally. Both Digbeth and the city of Birmingham are Social Enterprise Places, representing the sector’s commitment to working together to grow the businesses within them, catalysing their impact in a ‘place’. It’s a fabulous initiative and iSE are proud to be secretariats to this work.

The meeting was fascinating — the places are enormously different — with geographically small areas like Digbeth or Alston Moor, towns and Boroughs like Hackney, cities (Plymouth) and regions (Cornwall), and a mix of rural and urban areas with their distinct characteristics.

The challenges, however, are the same, with each ‘place’ wanting to grow their local social enterprise sector to maximise impact. Although the ‘how’ might be slightly different, it was great to share learning, ideas and to inspire one another.

At 4pm we boarded a coach with a group of visitors from Taiwan, to be given a tour of some of Scotland’s trailblazing social enterprises. Some of the SEWF2018 Board Members and I went to celebrate the launch of Callander as the first Scottish Social Enterprise Place.

Sarah outside the SEWF18 venue

It was a fabulous evening of traditional Scottish dancing, not forgetting the customary bagpipes and display from the local children. It was great to see the young people benefiting from the SE Place, the Outlanders – a local clan in full kilts, a Scottish Minister and of course all of the sector supporters.

What a great start to the World Forum, we’re looking forward to what day two has in store!


See all Sarah’s posts from this and previous SEWFs

Read more over on the iSE website


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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