Catalin Parascan

Social entrepreneur. Engagement consultant.

How Building An Ecosystem Of Support Can Generate Social Change

Momentum for social entrepreneurship is exploding. Every year, more and more people are working on businesses and organisations designed to improve the world. Many of us feel the need to serve a greater good in life, but turning a passion into something tangible requires much more than business acumen.

In the past six months I was lucky enough to be part of a team who delivered The Living It campaign – a four month campaign led by UnLtd and partners in celebrating, showcasing and promoting young social entrepreneurs. The campaign consisted of five national events at Google Campus in London, regional events, and UnLtd’s new ‘Lived it Awards’ – all culminating in a big two day festival on the 16th and 17th May.

The highlight of the campaign was without any doubts the Living It Festival held at Google Campus in May. The two-day extravaganza was all about social entrepreneurship, driving change, and sharing ideas and insights. We managed to bring together and showcase knowledge, support and expertise from our staff, partners and Award Winners through combining interactive workshops, keynote speakers, thought-sharing, music and even a delicious outdoor food market.

Excitement. Curiosity. Everyone had something to learn and something to contribute. It was all about sharing, learning and finding ways to collaborate within the sector.

More than 700 people turned out at UnLtd’s Living It Festival, making the event the biggest of its kind in the UK. ‘There was an epic programme of 45 interactive sessions, entertainment, and a whole host of fun and games to keep people engaged across the two days’ (Source: Living-it.org)

In total 48 organisations took part in the event which was supported by our campaign partners – O2 Think Big, TOMS, Google Campus and EventBrite. There were 43 sessions delivered by 72 session experts (UnLtd staff, UnLtd Partners, Award Winners etc.) generating more than 4500 tweets across the two  days.

Here’s an info graphic that describes in a nutshell how the festival looked like (hint: click on the image below).

 

Living It Info graphic

 

Looking back at UnLtd’s Living It festival, it became very clear that what really drives change is the support of a group or strong network to get your idea off the ground or to scale them. By saying that, UnLtd’s future work will sit comfortably on the next pillars:

  1. Mainstreaming their work by building long and lasting partnerships
  2. Enabling fast-growth
  3. Building an ecosystem where all the partners come together and work towards creating one big voice supporting social entrepreneurs.

In achieving social change there are some crucial elements or factors that one must not ignore whether we’re talking about individuals, social enterprises or just supporters of the social sector. I reckon it comes down to how well we communicate, how we choose to collaborate, what we’re willing to share and the way we support people with meaningful ideas.

I’m not saying there’s a perfect way of doing things. What I am saying is that we can try to do the best we can with the resources that we have. At the end of the day it’s all about acknowledging the fact that we’re not in this alone!

There is no other way to make a difference that will last, but together. Together, through the connection of ideas to people; people to people. I’m talking small every day changes, to large international movements; a drop in the ocean, or a massive wave. If we want to create a lasting impact, let’s share our ideas, collaborate, work together – why not even share some resources? The fact is, all of us socially-minded, deeply caring, ambitious people all want the same thing: change. And if we’re all pushing in that direction, all driving down that same road, why don’t we just help each other get there faster? 

We’re going there anyway — Martina Buchal, World Merit Global Ambassador

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This entry was posted on July 14, 2014 by in Entrepreneurship.
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