Lessons from Rio: the talking points from SEWF2012
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
In a converted 1871 grain storage facility near Rio de Janeiro’s old waterfront docks, I joined my fellow NESsT staff from 11 different countries to transform an empty historical building to a sustainably designed venue in a matter of days. Helping us celebrate 15 years, we hosted this year’s annual Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF2012), and chose the theme Impact Investing to enhance the sector’s financial resources and multi-sector collaboration. Coming from 38 countries, we convened almost 700 delegates, 180 speakers and 55 university scholars for a week filled with various strategic and hands-on sessions. The following are eight key highlights, categorised in the same core themes of the event’s different tracked sessions.
1. Finance and investment
On the funding side, we saw the potential of crowd-funding to deliver funding to micro-entrepreneurs, creative thinkers, and social businesses through organisations like Catarse, Itsnoon, and Aliança Emprendedora. Philanthropy and impact investing are part of a financial toolkit focused on delivering social change. Philanthropy is indispensable, and impact investing provides a tremendous opportunity to scale social enterprises.
2. Social enterprise in Brazil
Focusing on how to enhance the social enterprise sector in Brazil, the forum invested 75% of the event budget in local social enterprise vendors. There is a need to develop a greater pipeline of social enterprises for impact investing. We also need to align investor and social enterprise expectations. We need to increase earlier enterprise investment readiness and investors should be prepared to take risks and invest at the early stage.