Athena Empowers SE Forum Malaysia

October – a humbling and exciting experience

This month has focused on the understanding of the context of the sector we operate in and preparing for things to come. We’ve travelled to Malaysia, visited social entrepreneurs, researched the Swedish sector and had visitors from afar places like Mexico.

In Malaysia, our colleague Fiona presented our work and how entrepreneurs are making a difference in their communities via their business models. While in Malaysia, we also made sure to visit Anja (who went through the 2016 SE Outreach Accelerator) and Nina who just graduated in September this year. Nothing beats seeing first-hand the difference the entrepreneurs’ businesses are making.

The Swedish eco-system

Back at home we’ve been looking at the Swedish eco-system for social entrepreneurs, preparing for a report due at the end of the year. We’ve examined the relationship between social entrepreneurs and municipalities, how they are currently working with each other and how this relationship can evolve, creating a win-win situation for the two parties and the community. Important for this work is our position on the Advisory Board of Fryshuset‘s Institute of Social Effects. It’s a good platform where players from all sectors meet to look at how cross-sectoral collaborations can benefit communities.

In conjunction with this work I’ve participated in the research for Tillväxtverket‘s new report on the Swedish eco-system for social innovation. This report will be released at the Social Innovation Summit 14-15 November in Malmö. If you can’t make it you’ll get another chance at an event on 23 November in Stockholm where SE Forum will participate in the panel. I’m excited to read their thoughts and especially interested in understanding recommendations and next steps. We will share our thoughts and hope for a systematic approach where we can build the sector for success.

A Mexican visit

Due to our international approach, we are used to international visits at SE Forum. However, last week we had the pleasure of welcoming the Trade Commissioner of Mexico, the General Director of Innovation of the state of Jalisco along with the Head of Economic Affairs at the Mexican Embassy. We haven’t worked with or in Mexico before so it was a motivating encounter. It proved to be a fruitful session where we can see similarities in the challenges and opportunities we face. I would say both countries still must take a systematic look at the sector. We can’t expect scalable projects and companies to take form if we don’t systematically build the infrastructure and pipeline for it to happen. We’ll continue the discussion and hopefully we’ll get the opportunity to look closer at the Mexican sector in the future.

Lastly, the SE Forum team has had some stimulating sessions this month, looking at how we can grow as an organisation as new projects are lining up. I always find it fascinating to go through the same journey as the entrepreneurs we’re working with. Humbling and exciting at the same time.

Until next time,