Skoll Forum 2007: going international

Next week I have meetings here at SSE with organisations/individuals from China, Finland and Israel. Nothing revelatory in that, per se, but I think it’s symptomatic of a couple of things:

1) there is growing interest across the globe in social enterprise and entrepreneurship

2) the UK is at the forefront of this movement

OK, nothing revelatory in that either (!), but I think it’s worth dwelling on for a moment. Why? Well, the Skoll World Forum is coming up (see the Forum programme here), which provides a chance for international debate and discussion (and networking, of course) in the field, and to share knowledge and experiences with new people outside the UK scene.

The other point is that SSE will also be appearing on the fringe (the Orange programme) at Skoll, presenting on the long tail of social entrepreneurship. This basically discusses the need to scale up opportunities for social entrepreneurship involvement, as well as replicate ideas, scale individual organisations etc. I’ll post up a brief overview of where we’re coming from before we head to Oxford.

But what we’re hoping is that we can see how much of a UK-centric view this is, or how applicable it is to other countries. Is the support and finance available in the UK so far ahead of other countries that they would long (at this point) for star social entrepreneurs/enterprises like Muhammad Yunus or CafeDirect in order to promote the concept? Or does a grassroots, broad church approach appeal in terms of bringing wider benefits and tailored solutions? We’ll be looking for feedback to refine our thoughts and argument to have relevance beyond these shores…

The Forum this year focuses on social innovation, and features a whole range of speakers: from academics like Greg Dees to writers like Charles Handy, to practitioners like Yunus and Jim Fruchterman. Should be an event with a great buzz, and we’re already arranging meetings for when we’re there….If you’re coming along, then come and find SSE (and come along to our presentation on Wednesday morning); if you’re not, then we’ll endeavour to blog what we can from the event, as well as round-up afterwards….

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