I was really lucky to have been awarded sponsorship, by the People’s Innovation Trust, to attend the Social Enterprise World Forum in Edinburgh.
I took an early flight from Bristol to Edinburgh, at dark o’clock, and arrived to the sun shining. I checked in to my hotel which delighted me to have a lovely, unexpected view.
As I had arrived early I took the bus to Princes Street Gardens and walked around the park below Edinburgh Castle. I snapped a photo of the statue of Wojtek, the Polish soldier bear, who served with the army in the Second World War and ended up living in Edinburgh at the end of the war.
From here I made my way to the Grassmarket to get a coffee and sat in the sunshine watching the world go by.
The Forum was at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, a short walk from the Grassmarket, which was a good sized venue. There were 1400 delegates from dozens of countries. As I walked towards the venue I was asked to take photos by a delegation from Ethiopia and as I stood in the queue to register I chatted to a delegate from India. I was loving the diversity and the global feel of the event.
Not only did I enjoy the diversity and the events global feel but also meeting a lovely group from Taiwan and making connections with people who are as passionate as I am about people and planet. I met Sheena from Devon in the queue too. Sheena sets up projects in prisons and she said she was there as she is always giving and wanted the event for her to gain something from. I said I had a similar intention.
Listening to young people, from a local school, talk about their social enterprise was truly inspiring as were the stories from so many other countries. I had a total crush on the Government Minister from New Zealand! He was absolutely adorable…
One of my favourite speakers was a Government Minister from the Victorian Government in South Australia. They said not to get caught up in organisational structure, what matters is outcomes. This really resonated for me….
I also met Brukty Tigabu, from Ethiopia, who had set up Whiz Kids Workshop and is doing amazing work empowering young women and girls in her community.
One of the main things I have taken from the event is that I am right to be pushing forward as a social entrepreneur. And there are many people, all over the world, doing great work in their communities; putting people and planet first. So many inspiring people and amazing projects.
Next year the event is in Ethiopia and if an opportunity presents itself I will go…