I always love the day before the official annual World Economic Forum meeting kicks off. This is the time when the 30 social entrepreneurs who have been invited to the Forum through the Schwab Foundation can get together themselves and discuss matters which are relevant to their sector.
I had a 6am flight out of London and then managed to plough through the thick and deep snow in Davos to arrive just in time for the start of the sessions. It is just really great to meet everyone. All the social entrepreneurs are passionate people and deeply concerned about the issues which they are involved in. They share values and deep understandings and it just fantastic to feel the energy in the room and hear about everyone’s stories.
Then we settle down to some serious discussion about how to build the social innovation sector across the globe. A lot of preparation has gone into this session which is based around 4 pillars: excellent governance; partnering with corporations; policy toolkit and impact investing. There is lots of really constructive debate on these issues which continues when the groups are joined by academics, consultants and some business leaders.
Undoubtedly, the whole sector is starting to mature. This is vital because the world is seriously challenged and is looking for new solutions and needs new leadership. The social entrepreneurs can provide this. The meeting proceeded against a background of gloomy news with the IMF proclaiming that the world economy was “deeply into a danger zone”. Social entrepreneurs need to be at the centre of the debate which looks at a constructive way forward.
Discussions continued late into the evening as the social entrepreneurs were joined by a range of guests from different sectors for dinner.
But the quote of the night fell to the energetic Arianna Huffington, President of the Huffington Post Media Group who breezed in for dinner and said that : “this social entrepreneurs meeting is by far the most important meeting taking place at the World Economic Forum in Davos.” It seems some people are starting to listen.