It’s been a busy few weeks here at SSE HQ: on top of our biggest graduation event ever, it is reporting season (aka the end of the financial year), which means spreadsheets and outcomes till the cows come home. It has been nice to look back at one three-year grant and see how closely we have delivered on what we said we would (it helped fund network development / franchise package)….though I am pretty much in the fifth circle of box-tick, form-fill hell by now. Still, worse to have no funding to report back on, so I’ll cut the carping.
Alongside that, I’ve presented to Finnish and Chinese visitors, delivered a policy and lobbying workshop up in Birmingham (and re-found an SSE Fellow: hello Parminder), and put in motion the changes to our extranet. Also, preparation for the Skoll World Forum of Social Entrepreneurship. Alastair, our CEO, and I will be presenting on the ‘fringe’ at 8am on Thursday, I am led to believe. Those who’ve suggested we deserve our place there for comedy reasons should know that there is nothing funny about an 8am presentation….ever. If you’re coming, come along and see how much caffeine I’ve managed to down.
I’ll also try and write up some thoughts here as the event goes along. This will be my 5th forum (yes, I’ve been to every one), and it’s certainly changed a bit over the years. For a start, it was free the first time (thankfully, as I was running a tiny non-profit at the time), but is now a price that would make Rob Greenland blanch. And after Ben Kingsley, Robert Redford and Al Gore in previous years, ex-president Jimmy Carter is making an appearance this year. SSE is going, largely because of networking, particularly in relation to potential international partners; and because there’s a lot of interesting thinking to get a handle on (if I can follow it). It’s useful, particularly, to get a sense of how people view what you’re doing when coming to it completely fresh with none of the baggage and politics (i.e. from abroad)….and also for us to remind the ‘scaling up’, systems-changing brigade that social entrepreneurship is also about inclusion, opportunity, and grassroots, local, sustainable change. (I will be taking the soapbox).
So, no time for now to review Andrew Mawson’s book, the Social Entrepreneur (teaser one line-review: lots of Mawson, but also lots of passion and insights, + is very readable in snappy, bitesize chunks; worth buying), or to look forward to the first UK Ashoka Fellows (announced / revealed on Friday), or to tell all about the forthcoming Shine unconference (Facebook grp).
And no time, indeed, to discuss how SSE was present when Stephen Bubb (chair of Adventure Capital Fund, taking over Futurebuilders) met Richard Gutch (outgoing chief exec of current Futurebuilders) at the recent ACEVO conference for the first time since the surprise switch was announced….though I can confirm that hell did not freeze over, and the four horsemen of the apocalypse did not appear….