In case you missed the announcement, Christchurch will be hosting the World Forum on Social Enterprise in September 2017.
I'm excited, and a little nervous.
I'm excited, because when social enterprise is done well, it is the very essence of empowering communities. It takes the shackles off people and their imaginations, and lets them dream and build their own future.
It does this by being 'Business for Good', not 'Business for Greed'.
But to be this it must be driven by and for the grass-roots of a community. By its very nature is cannot be a top down model. Corporates and Councils have to give their power away by letting the communities decide for themselves why and how they will develop local businesses that benefit the community.
Which leads me to why I'm nervous.
Too many 'world' and 'global' events on social enterprise end up being 'we the powerful will tell you the insignificant how to be greatful for the knowledge we choose to share'. I know that sounds negative: but time and again Ive seen this happen. In a different setting, we've seen it here in Christchurcch over our future: when the Council ran its "Share A Big Idea" campaign, and the Government essentially ignored everything that came out of it.
Effective Social Enterprises need encouraging.
They need a climate of co-operation.
They need mentors.
They need seed funding that comes with no strings attached.
They need space and time.
And they need the powerful to resist the temptation to 'pick winners'.
Social enterprises empower communities. They reflect everything I believe in. That's why, over the next few days, as part of my vision for Waimairi and beyond, I'll be sharing on my Facebook page a series of video clips on social enterprise. So, over the next while, head over to my facebook page, and see for yourself what Social Enterprise can be.