Two years ago, we hosted the first annual UBC Social Enterprise Conference, which sold out with 200 delegates in attendance, to introduce and inform students about the role of social enterprise in solving world’s most critical social and environmental issues. Last year, we had the conference titled “Limitless Change”, the idea that change is limitless if social entrepreneur's motive is coupled with the passion, drive and resilience to turn that idea into action.
This year, we chose the theme “accelerating impact: scaling solutions to social challenges” because we believe that social entrepreneurs will inevitably face a critical juncture that the existing solutions are futile in making a wider impact in society. Therefore, the question we need to ask ourselves is “How can social entrepreneurs effectively scale their impact to reach as many people and communities?” Based on this question, this conference will revolve around the theme of how social entrepreneurs achieve transformational impact at scale.
Transformational impact at scale cannot be achieved just by working as a single agent in the whole ecosystem. We believe that social entrepreneurs should leverage other stakeholders such as funders, local governments and NGOs to tackle the systemic issue at play. The notion of collective impact is crucial in making impact at scale. Therefore, this year’s conference will have a new addition of various stakeholders in conversation.
By showcasing social entrepreneurs who have succeeded in scaling impact, we hope to provide further insights into the “scaling up” process and shed light on the possibilities of making impact at scale. We hope to expand this conception of possibilities by encouraging social entrepreneurs to consider different ways in which to spread social innovations. From dissemination of information and technical assistance to affiliation with other organizations, there are many ways that social enterprises can achieve widespread impact.
Success of the 2017 Social Enterprise Conference will be achieved if delegates walk away able to learn two things. First is that scale is not solely determined by organization’s size or budget, but by the change it helps to usher in. Second, collective impact is crucial in the process of creating change.