The importance of social enterprises in promoting equality, creating jobs, developing skills and boosting the economy is a priority for HIE. Our region, with just 9% of the country’s population, is home to 22% of its social enterprises.
The 2017 World Forum took place in Christchurch, New Zealand, at the end of September.
HIE supported Ionad Hiort from the Isle of Lewis and Tomintoul and Glenlivet Development Trust to attend the week-long event and international study tour. They promoted a range of activity from the region and took part in study visits providing an insight into social enterprises in other countries.
HIE staff meanwhile spoke about community assets and how social enterprises achieve social impact.
Douglas Cowan, HIE director, strengthening communities, said: “Social enterprises create jobs, attract people and bring investment, often to many of our most rural areas. Our region’s social entrepreneurs are very ambitious and optimistic. The sector is expanding and is well placed to drive further growth in areas such as creative industries, renewable energy, food and drink and tourism.
“We are delighted that Highlands and Islands based social enterprises had the opportunity to learn about the sector in other countries and explore potential opportunities with other delegates. We very much look forward to Scotland hosting next year’s World Forum.”
The Social Enterprise World Forum was supported by CEIS (Community Enterprise in Scotland) along with the Scottish Government.
Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities headed a Scottish delegation at the closing ceremony. During this she accepted handover of the event, which will next take place on 12-14th September 2018 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.
She said “Creating a fairer Scotland is something that I am passionate about. Social enterprises are at the heart of this and fantastic examples of what we want to achieve – reducing inequality, lifting people out of poverty and encouraging more empowered and resilient communities.
“I am proud of all we have achieved, working collaboratively and I look forward to doing even more in the years to come. We will continue to support social enterprises and will work with social enterprise communities at home and abroad. I look forward to welcoming the Social Enterprise World Forum back to Scotland next year.”
At the handover ceremony, CEIS and the British Council launched a video to showcase Scotland’s diverse, vibrant social enterprise sector and introduce Edinburgh as the event’s next host city.
Ten years on since the first ever event in Edinburgh, founders of the Social Enterprise World Forum and organisers of the 2018 event, Community Enterprise in Scotland (CEIS), will welcome around 1,200 delegates from across the globe.