Social Enterprise World Forum — day four

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: 23rd – 25th October 2019

It’s day four for iSE’s chief exec Sarah Crawley and Citizen Coaching’s Martin Hogg who are both at the Social Enterprise World Forum. Sarah  has sent us another fascinating update…

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Sarah writes…

Sarah Crawley — live news and views from SEWF 2019, Ethiopia

The conference has further picked up pace today with key themes such as social enterprise growth, social franchising, partnership working for growth and money (soft money i.e. grants and impact investing) being discussed.

It’s been fascinating, and hearing about social enterprises effectively addressing really large scale social and environmental issues has been particularly impressive. I have been hearing about businesses addressing period poverty by making and selling affordable sanitary towels as a franchise, toilets that reuse human waste as fertiliser, and the rental of solar lights to enable people to work and live at night without having to use kerosene.

I want to share with you an amazing debate between Ndidi Nwuneli (a woman who has scaled many social enterprises) and Harish Hande (a renewable energy social entrepreneur).

The topic was ‘small is beautiful or bigger is better’. The speakers came from contrasting perspectives. One took the view that when a social enterprise business gets to scale it becomes less democratic. Conversely, the other took the view that scale is beautiful and enables social businesses to have impact. One queried whether scale really means impact: surely poor people should be empowered to develop their own solutions rather than being ‘done to’.

Ndidi made some great points about scaling-up which I think can be helpful to social enterprises everywhere. Social businesses, she said, should:

» Be demand driven
» Engage with the community
» Measure their impact
» Be simple
» Have low costs

Opinions were mixed and when it came to a vote and the audience was split 50:50 — but it was a really great conversation.

Last day tomorrow…

View conference programme — Day 1

View conference programme — Day 2

View conference programme — Day 3

Over 200 speakers — see them all here

See all posts on this blog tagged ‘SEWF’



Sarah’s new notebook – from an Ethiopian social enterprise

Coffee from a social enterprise

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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