Social Enterprise World Forum: Growing a new economy

Milan conference strengthens global social enterprise network

After "a decade of profound crisis" Italian social enterprises face some difficult challenges. The Social Enterprise World Forum showcased their determination to survive and thrive.

At the beginning of July, Pioneers Post travelled to Milan for the eighth annual Social Enterprise World Forum. For many who attended, it was an opportunity to find out more about the social enterprise landscape in Italy. 

It was an interesting time to be there. There is a rich history of co-operatives in Italy (around 11,000 of them) and the prime minister, Matteo Renzi, has been vocal in his support for social enterprises, describing them as "being the actors most capable of creating both growth and employment" in the country. Allocation of community funds up until 2020 will now also give priority to social cooperation and social enterprises.

In the face of shrinking public budgets due to the downturn in the global economy, social co-operatives are having to look at new ways to survive. Elena Casolari of NGO ACRA CCS, has written elsewhere on Pioneers Post about the challenges this brings. 

The SEWF brought together a wealth of knowledge and experience from 46 countries around the world. To hear what key players from social enterprise in Italy had to say, alongside Professor Muhammad Yunus, Sophi Tranchell of Divine Chocolate, Martin Burt of Fundación Paraguaya and Durreen Shahnaz of IIX, watch our film above.