'Tis the season of Good Deals - the time of the year when the team at Matter&Co reward ourselves with a sip of bubbly and a mince pie to celebrate the delivery of another successful annual social enterprise and impact investing conference.
This year we headed out of London for the first time - to Birmingham, where we had the pleasure of partnering with Social Enterprise West Midlands and SEUK. Despite the location change, our ninth Good Deals delivered the same eclectic and energetic mix of debate, provocation, learning and networking that brought together leaders of social businesses, social investors, experts in social impact, and global commentators on the social enterprise movement - from as far afield as Jakarta.
We were thrilled once again to partner with NatWest, who provided bursaries for social enterprises on the NatWest SE100 network, and with the British Council, whose delegations from Asia and Africa gave the conversations a truly international perspective. Big Society Capital and Access brough speakers with great insight into the future of social investment in the UK, Buzzacott launched some significant research on attitudes towards impact measurement, and Numbers for Good curated a set of brilliant social businesses pitching for funding.
The Good Deals team feels immensely proud of what everybody at Matter&Co achieved for this year's event, but more than anything we were left with warmth in our hearts and hope in our minds for the countless positive conversations and progressive ideas shared across the two days. Socially innovative businesses are flourishing - even in the face of some huge changes in politics and the global economy.
Some of our session takeaway highlights include: Martin Leuw's assertion that there is a direct correlation between growth and doing good... Many of us in the audience felt challenged by restaurateur Iqbal Wahhab's provocation that 'business can and will do better' than charity... We couldn't have gone through this conference without acknowledning the effect Brexit and the recent Trump vote might have on social business across the world... This was touched on by Nick Temple, Deputy CEO at SEUK, and by Cliff Prior of Big Society Capital in another debate who said 'we have been focused on the 10% of the population who are the most disadvantaged, but what Brexit and the US election have shown is that the next 30 to 40% feel seriously left out of the future... We need to think more broadly'...
As the door closes on 2016, and we look forward to next year's conference, we must consider how social investment and social enterprise might address these problems, and what we can do to encourage collaboration rather than division in this ever changing world.
If you would like to be involved in Good Deals 2017 as a partner, speaker, exhibitor, or even as a volunteer please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office on 020 3861 3330. We would love to hear from you. It's going to be a big one - our 10th anniversary!
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