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Social Enterprise World Forum is a Wrap – Bring on Brisbane 2022!

This year’s Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) just wrapped up. Changemakers from around the globe made their way (in most cases, virtually) to Nova Scotia, Canada. Co-host Common Good Solutions set the stage for conversation, inspiration, and so much more. Weren’t able to tune into the event? Here’s what you missed.  

SEWF 2021 In Numbers

The world’s largest social enterprise conversation was a little bit different this year in its first-ever hybrid form—and it was equally impressive. 

  • All in all, there were more than 3,000 participants from more than 100 different countries. 
  • Some participants came together in more than 20 community hubs. 
  • There were 100+ speakers who took to the “stage” in more than 50 different sessions. 
  • With a focus on inclusivity, youth perspectives were prioritised and more than 30% of speakers were under 30, and 58% of speakers were female, non-binary, or trans.
  • During the youth forum, more than 1,600 tickets were sold and 65% of speakers were female, non-binary, or trans. 
  • The intimate virtual sessions were preferred by many attendees, and made it easy for first-time speakers, who represented 72% in the main event and 85% in the youth forum. 

This Year’s Focus

Unsurprisingly, COVID-19’s impacts and recovery was a much-discussed topic during the September 28-29 event, which was also the reason the event was hosted mostly online. Unlike the 2020 event—which was entirely virtual—lighter restrictions in some countries facilitated participation via community hubs.

Regardless of where and how they attended, changemakers of all kinds and social enterprises both large and small, urban and rural, came together to cover a range of other topics including: circular economies; climate change; gender; social procurement; and youth-, rural-, and Indigenous-led social entrepreneurship. 

The 2021 event also came about with the launch of SEWF’s social enterprise verification pilot program, which is designed to expand market access to social enterprises around the globe, and in particular, in areas where current verification schemes don’t exist. 

As he spoke about passing on the torch to Brisbane, Australia – location of the 2022 event – K’odi Nelson, Nawalakw executive director, beautifully highlighted the importance of these events. He said, “It’s so important that people hear what other people are doing. It strengthens our hearts, strengthens our spirits to know that we aren’t alone.”

Gearing Up for SEWF 2022

Yes, you read that right: the Social Enterprise World Forum is coming to Brisbane, Australia in 2022!

Navigating a post-lockdown world is already a big focus for White Box Enterprises, the co-host of SEWF 2022. With an aim to take the event to a new level, CEO Luke Terry and others are already ramping up to have 100,000 online visitors and more than 2,500 in-person attendees. 

Support for the event comes in many forms, from Queensland politicians, corporate partners, and social enterprises in the state, as well as those nation-wide. With hopes for a post-pandemic event, the September 2022 event is slated to be an exciting way to discuss how social business is the way of the future

Similar to the Nova Scotia event, Queensland’s Indigenous community will also play a key role in celebrating social good. According to Tom Allen, Impact Boom CEO and SEWF 2022 bid team leader, “our First Nations people have incredible stories to share.” Super-early bird tickets are on sale now until 7 October. The excitement is already buzzing, so get yours today.

The global social enterprise landscape is ever-evolving. As can be seen from the 2021 SEWF, it’s also becoming more inclusive and connected. Next year’s event will continue to highlight how a diverse grouping of social enterprises is tackling deep-rooted environmental and social issues. Until then, stay connected and abreast of opportunities with a Social Change Central membership.  

Jay Boolkin
Jay Boolkin

I'm passionate about positive social change and the power of social entrepreneurship to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems. I believe that for-purpose business models can become part of the mainstream and I am enthusiastic about advocating for business models that are genuinely built around a social or environmental mission.

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