iSE | Final Reflections from the Social Enterprise World Forum

iSE’s Mariam gives us her final round-up of her World Forum 2018 experience.

Planning and booking our trip to visit the Social Enterprise World Forum in Edinburgh filled me with excitement and anticipation. Having never attended before I was not quite sure what to expect and the experience was beyond anything I could have imagined. The journey started with a very early morning flight and upon arrival to Edinburgh airport, I was taken by the city immediately. As I spent more time in the city and learnt how forward social enterprises are within Edinburgh and Scotland I was in awe.

Arriving in Edinburgh with colleague Simon Veasey

Arriving in Edinburgh with colleague Simon Veasey

Arriving and registering at the conference centre, I immediately felt a kinship with fellow attendees. An overall atmosphere of energy and excitement all around. Connecting with social entrepreneurs from around the globe has been an enriching experience and a great reminder of the larger movement we are part of. I felt inspired, motivated and kept asking myself how we in Birmingham could benefit from what others are doing. It was like meeting long lost friends and conversations flowed. Some great links and connections made, and I look forward to staying in touch.

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With our FUSE start-up programme delegates

A very well organised conference that moved seamlessly between sessions. The breakout sessions were plentiful, and I found myself having to make hard choices and wishing I could be in 2 places or more at once. I thoroughly enjoyed a debate about Social Enterprise and the myth of sustainability.

A quick World Forum selfie

A quick World Forum selfie

With lots of food for thought, ideas and questions coming back to Birmingham with me, I found my thoughts focusing on 2 specific areas. Supply chain and procurement was one and what steps we as an infrastructure development organisation could take to support wider access to cooperate supply chains. The second was social enterprise in schools. Having heard from 2 schools that have social enterprises within them, the impact that has had on the students and visiting their exhibition stands, left me thinking this is something we need to do more of in Birmingham and thinking of ways to making that happen.

Mariam