SEWF 2017: an event to change Christchurch and the world

More than 80 speakers and 1,600 delegates will gather in New Zealand next week for the Social Enterprise World Forum 2017.

The ninth annual gathering of people "passionate about addressing the challenges and inequality of our complex and internconnected world" is to take place in Christchurch, a city rebuilding itself after the earthquake of 2011.

Alex Hannant, chief executive of this year's organising body, the Akina Foundation, explained that this year's approach was to create a "theme park" with lots of different sessions and conversations going on at the same time so that delegates could "tailor their overall experience". 

"I think that's exciting," he said. "Especially as we've got multiple venues and spaces in the middle of Christchurch which is just coming back to life after the earthquake."

Parallel streams

Alongside the main programme, he explained, there will be parallel events for policymakers, investors, intermediaries and universities as well as a pitch olympics. 

There will also be a full-day event hosted by the British Council and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific which will bring together government ministers from across the Asia-Pacific region. 

The event sold out of its three-day tickets over the summer. However, there are still opportunities to attend individual sessions. 

New Zealand has a rapidly-growing social enterprise movement and the SEWF organisers hope that the energy from the event will raise the profile of the sector. Hannant said: "I hope SEWF embeds a vibrant memory and a social enterprise identity in Christchurch and that it catalyses the development of and investment in the New Zealand social enterprise sector in earnest."

Delegates should expect to go home with "learning, new thinking, practical know-how, inspiration, contacts, resolve – and good memories", said Hannant. 

Pioneers Post is media partner to the Social Enterprise World Forum 2017. We will be reporting online and on social media throughout the event and afterwards – follow #SEWF2017.

See here for all of our SEWF 2017 preview content, including a film with environmentalist Jonathon Porritt, an exploration of how social enterprise is helping to regenerate post-earthquake Christchurch and the rags to riches story of millionare social entrepreneur Sir Ray Avery.

Header photo of Christchurch Cathedral by Philip N Young reproduced under a Creative Commons licence.