SEWF 2020 opens with aim to “accelerate transition to global impact economy”

The work of the global social enterprise community is more vital than ever during the global Covid-19 pandemic, says Social Enterprise World Forum chair Helene Malandain in her online welcome address at the first ever SEWF Digital event.

The Social Enterprise World Forum 2020 opened this morning at 7.45am UK time – online only for the first time in its 12-year history.

SEWF has been hosted across the world in countries including Ethiopia, Scotland and New Zealand, but the 2020 event has been forced by the global Covid-19 pandemic – like many others – to become virtual.

Chair of the SEWF board Helene Malandain (pictured above) welcomed delegates from her home in Wellington, New Zealand, stressing that even though the planned real-life conference could not take place as planned in Nova Scotia, Canada, not holding an event this year “was simply not an option”.

“The Social Enterprise World Forum exists to accelerate our transition to a global impact economy,” she said.

We need greater, faster innovation, deeper connections...We need to collaborate and support each other

With Covid-19 impacting society at every level, affecting particularly social enterprises and the communities they served, she said, the event was more important than ever.

“We need greater, faster innovation, deeper connections… evidence and inspiring stories from the community,” she said. “We need to collaborate and support each other.”

Social enterprise was an effective tool to tackle the world’s problems, she said.

Malandain argued that a silver lining to the Covid-19 pandemic was that “it has increased the sense of urgency about the failures of our system.” Although the world’s problems were not new, they had become more visible and it was becoming harder for people to bury their heads in the sand.



SEWF Digital, the 13th SEWF event, is due to be biggest ever, with 5,000 delegates joining from 50 countries and 120 hours of social enterprise discussions.

Pioneers Post is a media partner to the Social Enterprise World Forum 2020 and we'll be reporting all week – stay tuned for more and follow #SEWFDigital online.