The more observant readers will have noticed that the blog has been relatively quiet the last couple of weeks, for which sincere apologies. It feels like I've barely sat still for a fortnight, as a result of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Social Enterprise Day and all the associated events, travel and 'catching-up-on-work-you-were-meant-to-be-doing-when-at-events-or-travelling'…….
So, a retrospective look at Global Entrepreneurship Week is my first step along the way to clearing an enormous back(b)log:
– Probably the biggest event in the UK was Chain Reaction on the Monday and Tuesday. Check out the site for all the videos, pre- and post- gumph, and ongoing info. I wasn't there, but heard mixed reports: certainly the big name speakers were a coup (two Dragons: the very tall Peter Jones and the very chin-stroky James Caan; Richard Branson, Tim Smit, and Gordon Brown + Peter Mandelson), and I heard that the networking was good. Indeed our CEO found himself between several of the above big names over lunch. Others didn't like the dark nightclub vibe, though, and felt that some of the practical sessions suffered from scheduling. Add your comments below.
– At the same time, I was in Toronto at the Social Entrepreneurship Summit and the Social Finance Forum. I'll blog about it more fully in a day or so, but I thoroughly enjoyed getting the Canadian perspective on this world, and meeting some great people out there pushing the social entrepreneurship agenda.
– on Social Enterprise Day itself, there was a whole host of events and announcements; without being preferential, I'll start with the Social Entrepreneurship Forum in Cardiff, which I also spoke at…and where this support package was announced
– later that evening, I was on the panel for a discussion hosted by Westminster Children's Services in the House of Commons with Andrew Mawson, Chrisanthi Giotis (Social Enterprise Magazine) and Mark Sesnan (Greenwich Leisure), which was interesting; WCS were launching their new Enterprising Childcare Network on the day: check their news page
– Meanwhile, SSE CEO was at the Office of the Third Sector's event in central London, along with several SSE Fellows who are either a) young or b) work with young people. The Minister, Kevin Brennan, hosted the event, and Hazel Blears was also in attendance. OTS were also launching a new SROI project, which us evaluation geeks look forward to, and a range of different action research projects with different departments. Check it all out….
– Elsewhere, UnLtd had a big Social which answered two burning questions: how much taller IS Peter Jones than the whole UnLtd team and, most of all, how many UnLtd staff members does it take to put up a marquee? Answers: a lot and 6 (for an hour and a half). More seriously, I heard the social caused a real stir and had several high profile figures attending during the day…
– CAN launched their new Mezzanine, with funding from Triodos and Charity Bank. Big congrats to Andrew Croft and the whole team for doing this in the current climate: a real success.
– Changemakers, UnLtd et al launched the Big Challenge for young people….looks interesting, and something we'll hear more about as the year goes on, I'm sure, as they build on the success of Big Boost.
– And a couple of health-related things: the Department of Health (with Social Enterprise Coalition) published their guidance on "Right to Request" (that NHS staff can request to run services as a social enterprise). That led me to be sitting opposite the Chief Exec of the NHS on Wednesday morning and I had the simultaneous pleasure of sitting next to Victor Adebowale of Turning Point who made much sense all morning. So I'm sure their handbook, Elements of Success, aimed at people entering this sphere will be full of good advice.
I could, needless to say, go on, but these struck me as the highlights. A final word for a current SSE student, Stephen Gyasi-Kwaw, who pretty much singlehandedly ran Entrepreneurship Week in Ghana! Check his work out at GhanaEnterpriseWeek.com / UnleashingIdeas.org, in Trailblazers magazine [pdf] (along with another SSE student Max Graef) and, drum roll, on Ghanaian TV. Nice one Stephen: