Social Enterprise Summit 2021
Themed “Building Blocks of a Regenerative Future”, SES 2021 took a hybrid format, with over 70 speakers and representatives from 13 countries and regions, aiming to leverage strengths of different sectors to advance social innovation in the post-pandemic era. The four-day Summit consisted of discussion panels with dynamic and interactive events, social innovation visits and workshops, that inspired participants’ creativity with first-hand experience.
The theme of this year’s Summit is “Building Blocks of a Regenerative Future”, which signified a trend of shifting from prosperity to ‘thrivability’, focusing on planetary and societal wellbeing. As nature has demonstrated its innate capacity to regenerate, now is the time for all citizens to be equipped as changemakers to our respective social biospheres, and to drive innovative initiatives across different sectors for social good. Social Enterprise Summit held an array of exciting activities in nine districts including the Social Entrepreneurship Labs, Community Carnival, SE Bazaar, School Talks & Workshops, and Community Tours during July to early November, which aimed to outreach local community and inspire each other with new social innovation ideas.
Mrs. Rebecca CHOY YUNG, Chair of Organising Committee of Social Enterprise Summit expressed in her welcoming speech, “Despite the substantial challenges ahead, many social entrepreneurs have shown that positive change is possible. Since 2014, we have been scaling up social innovation and empowering individuals through our community programs. This year, we have expanded our programs to 9 districts in Hong Kong with the addition of Wanchai, Kowloon City and Tai Po. Cross-sector participation and dialogues are extremely robust. I am delighted to report that innovative ideas and pilot projects have been nurtured in different districts by passionate innovators coming from different backgrounds.”
The keynote speaker, Mr Charles EISENSTEIN, author of “Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition”, explained the concepts of demographic, economic and ecological maturity, as well as their relations to a “Regenerative Future” in the Keynote Speech. Various macroeconomic and social policies that helped accelerate the transition, and the roles that business, government, NGOs, and academia might play were also discussed. Mr James LAW, JP, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Cybertecture Architects, HK and Ir Andrew YOUNG, Associate Director (Innovation) of Sino Group acted as keynote respondents and shared their visions on a ”Regenerative Future”.
The subsequent session of “Public Innovation – Bridging the Gaps Between the People, Private and Public Sectors” examined the importance of tripartite collaboration among the public sector, business and the civic society to driving a “Regenerative Future”. The panel was hosted by Mr Warren LUK, CEO of Good Lab, HK, with Ms Ada WONG, JP, Deputy Chair of Organising Committee of Social Enterprise Summit, HK, Ms Sunkyung HAN, Founder and CEO of C., South Korea, and Ms Emily ONG, Deputy Executive Director of DesignSingapore Council, Singapore to be the guest speakers. They shared Hong Kong cases and discussed a few examples in Asian cities in the hope of encouraging cross-sector partnership.
The thematic session of “Building Community Blocks” in the afternoon was co-hosted by Mr Francis NGAI, Founder and CEO of Social Ventures Hong Kong and Ms Tiffany FUNG, Impact Producer of SONOVA, Social Ventures Hong Kong to facilitate dialogues with guest speakers. Ms Vivian LEE, Founder and Director of ActionHouse International Limited, Mr Linus LEUNG, Founder of ACTIVE CONCEPT Limited, Mr Sampson WONG, Co-founder of “When in Doubt, Take a Walk”, and Mr Manfred YUEN, Founder of Groundwork Architects & Associates explored, from the points of view of people, business and social enterprise, on how different sectors could leverage their own strengths to reinforce community cohesion via social innovation.
Aligning with the strategic focus of the SES, three-themed tracks on Day 1 and 2 highlighted the prerequisites and groundwork that are essential to building a “Regenerative Future”. Track 1-“Co-Creating an Open Knowledge Hub for Ecosystem Development” focused on building an open data bank to share insights on Environmental, Social and Governance across the world. Track 2 - “Building Alliances for Regional Collective Impact” brought together Asian social entrepreneurs to advance social innovation with new strategies and tools. Track 3 - “Bridging Purpose with Actions” covered how resources can be channelled effectively to purpose-led projects.
On Day 3 and 4, delegates were immersed in multiple dimensions of social innovation including two workshops, a concluding session themed “Beyond Sustainability”, and three social innovation visits. The concluding session was hosted by Dr Ilex LAM, Chairman of iEnterprise Foundation. He joined hands with Ms Naomi CHAN, National Executive Vice President of JCI Hong Kong, Dr Eddy LEE, Founder of 350HK, Ms Nicolette TONG, Executive Vice President of The Wave and Mr YUEN Shu Wah, Founding Chairman of Gratia Foundation Limited, to examine the vision of sustainability in the post-pandemic era and the prospect of the future “regenerative development.