SEWF 2014 calls for radical global social enterprise strategy
The potential impact of social enterprise in the growth of emerging economies is unprecedented Dr George Friedman has told delegates at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Social Enterprise World Forum.
According to Dr Friedman, Chairman of Stratfor and New York Times best-selling author, the opportunities for social entrepreneurs to shape the markets and systems of 16 countries – including Mexico, Cambodia and Uganda – that are experiencing high levels of economic growth, must be realised in order for the social economy to make a truly global impact.
"I look at social enterprise and start to think about it in terms of business opportunity... Right now it is difficult to imagine how Uganda can become the next economic super power but that is the reality.
"I would urge you to consider that the world is now taking a new turn. I urge you to think radically about how the world will work and what you can do within it," said the author of The Next Decade and The Next 100 Years.
The seventh Social Enterprise World Forum is being held in Seoul, making South Korea the first Asian country to host the event.
We must be serious about the engagement we want to have with the rest of the world.
The Forum has brought together more than 1,000 social entrepreneurs, government officials and people with a passion for social business. It aims to strengthen existing relationships and provide the setting to build new ones between individuals creating social change through business around the world.
Yvonne Strachan, deputy director of equality, human rights and third sector in the Scottish Government said: "It is not only important to develop an international social enterprise strategy – we must be serious about the engagement we want to have with the rest of the world."
Over the next two days the Forum, which was organised by the Work Together Foundation, will become a hub of debate and discussion – encouraging participants to share ideas about how to move the sector forwards.
"In the period ahead there are some challenges for us including strengthening the social investment sector, particularly so that it is investment ready," and ensuring that "we have better data and evidence that enables us to understand what we are, what we do, the extent of our impact and to be able to narrate that to each other and to governments more broadly," said Strachan.
These thoughts were echoed by Woljoo Song, chair of the Work Together Foundation. "Today we are here to solve these sustainability issues of the social enterprise sector," he said.
Following a performance by traditional Korean drummers, the chair of the SEWF Steering Committee and chief executive of Social Enterprise UK Peter Holbrook officially opened the Forum with an Oscar-style social enterprise selfie and a toast of gratitude to this year's South Korean hosts.
This year the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) has been organised by the Work Together Foundation and is taking place between the 14th and 16th of October in Seoul, South Korea. The Pioneers Post team is in Seoul to cover all of the action thanks to the support from the British Council.