Next month will see the Social Enterprise World Forum come to Brisbane and with it, a spotlight on the social enterprise sector. Having supported social enterprises for over 15 years, Westpac Foundation is proud to support the event as Major Partner.
Since the first Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) in Scotland in 2008, it has become the flagship event on the global social enterprise calendar, bringing together thousands of local and international changemakers to build the community, capacity and capability within the social enterprise sector.
Social enterprises, of which there are said to be 20,000 in Australia alone, are businesses like any other, with one distinct difference - they exist for an environmental or social purpose. Westpac Foundation provides funding and programs to more than 20 work integration social enterprises through their major grant program - from cafes and fashion labels to landscape maintenance businesses - that exist to create job opportunities for people overcoming barriers to work.
Despite their prevalence, Westpac Foundation Senior Advisor Sally McGeoch says the concept of social enterprise is yet to crack the mainstream.
“Social enterprises offer incredible potential to help solve some our most pressing social and environmental issues, yet they are not well known and underleveraged as a force for change.
“Our hope in supporting SEWF is that we can help raise awareness of the value of social enterprise across business, government, investors and the general public. By choosing to support and purchase goods or services from a social enterprise we can all make a difference.”
Westpac Foundation CEO Amy Lyden says the partnership is also about helping to support the sector thrive.
“Our partnership is an opportunity to help create the conditions for a burgeoning social enterprise sector. It’s not just about showcasing the incredible social entrepreneurs at its heart, it’s about collaborating with Westpac Group to use our collective networks and resources to add value.
“Being part of one of Australia’s largest companies enables us to provide the sector additional support, whether that be through financial literacy, skilled volunteers, or helping to attract new funding opportunities.”
Over two days in September, the SEWF hybrid experience will include 1,500+ participants, 100+ speakers and 55 sessions from keynote presentations to masterclasses. Attendees will have an opportunity to hear from household names such as Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott AO, as well as a number of Westpac Foundation friends like social innovators Nick Pearce from social enterprise streetwear label HoMie and Usman Iftikhar from migrant business incubator Catalysr.
The Social Enterprise World Forum is being held 28-29 September in-person in Brisbane and online. Tickets can be purchased to the event, and a number of other fringe events, via the SEWF website. Visit the Westpac Foundation booth at the event to learn more about the Foundation’s approach and history of supporting social enterprise.