Social Enterprise World Forum – Official Day 1 28/09/22

This year’s Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) was held in Brisbane, Australia. Community Enterprise in Scotland (CEIS), in partnership with SEWF via the International Social Enterprise Observatory (ISEO) were able to support delegates from the Scottish third sector to attend SEWF22 in-person. Included in those receiving support is Aimee, our Rural Social Enterprise Coordinator.

Nunukul Yuggera Aboriginal Dance Company.

The official first day of the SEWF began on the 28th of September 2022 and was held in the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC). Co-hosted by Whitebox Enterprises, this two-day hybrid experience included over 2,700 participants, 100+ speakers and 70 sessions, making it the largest gathering of purpose-driven local and international changemakers in 2022.

Participants had the choice of attending several sessions throughout the day which addressed a number of different topics and issues. The opening session featured a performance and ‘welcome to country’ from Nunukul Yuggera Aboriginal Dance Company. Following the opening proceedings, Laura Thompson from Clothing the Gaps took to the stage for the opening fireside. Clothing The Gaps is a fashion label managed by health professionals that celebrates Aboriginal people and culture.

There was then a session held which focused on ‘Social enterprise strategies: global cooperation to learn and improve’. Speakers in this session discussed how social enterprise strategies have been a springboard to ecosystem development at national, provincial and local levels around the world. The session brought a collaborative focus to understand failures and successes and provide mutual support.

The second session was a workshop titled ‘Reflecting on excellence and failure using ‘retrospective’ plays and templates’ and look at how we can celebrate wins and turn failures into learning so that our organisations can continues to grow. Participants took part in a fun, interactive and challenging experience and were then asked to reflect on what worked and what didn’t.

Debate in the Auditorium.

After lunch, Aimee attended a debate in the Auditorium where speakers argued the topic: ‘Social enterprise is too narrowly defined?’ Half of the speakers argued that when it comes to social enterprise, all anybody should care about is impact and the rest is irrelevant. However, the other half believed that structure is crucial to ensure social enterprises are not at the mercy of shareholders who often prioritise profit over impact.

Municipal and rural government: creating supportive ecosystems session.

The fourth session of day one was titled ‘Municipal and rural government: creating supportive ecosystems’. This session looked at how rural development and specialist agencies are rising to the challenge of creating supportive environments that enable social enterprises to succeed.

The fifth and final session of the day was titled ‘Rural land – ownership, management and stewardship for community benefit’. This session looked at how climate disasters and increasing pressure on rural economies have increased the focus on rural land management, ownership and stewardship.

To close off day one of the SEWF, there was a fireside session in the Ballroom with Dylan Alcott who was Australian of the Year 2022. Dylan is one of the country’s most successful Paralympians and also one of Australia’s most recognised advocates for people with disability.