Social Enterprise Summit 2019
An unconventional all-inclusive grand opening of the 12th Social Enterprise Summit (SES 2019) was held on 21 November, 2019 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The three-day international symposium has successfully hosted dialogues with over 80 respected social innovation leaders from 16 countries and regions on 4 main discussion tracks, namely “Designing Happy Business”, “Designing Good Finance”, “Designing for Social Inclusion” and “Collaborating for Happiness”.
“Our goal is to formulate effective strategies contributing to people’s well-being and social advancement through social innovation designs that are practical, scalable and sustainable”, said Rebecca CHOY YUNG, Chair of the SES Organising Committee formed by 20 organisations from multiple sectors across the civic societies. “Happiness is not a feeling, it symbolises the embrace of new mind-set, patience and perseverance to overcome challenges living in today’s context with happiness as the universal goal”, added Mrs. Yung.
Thematic session One on the opening day, “The Case of CSV: Turning the Pain Points of Stakeholders into Business and Growth Opportunities”, has released the initial findings from the latest research on case studies of local and overseas business. This session invited Louise PULFORD, Executive Director of SIX (Social Innovation Exchange) from the UK as one of the panel speakers, and Ada WONG, Chairperson of MaD (Make a Different) and Convenor of GoodLab Foundation, to respond to the panel discussion.
“Overcoming Challenges with Cross-sector Wisdom”, the second thematic session of the opening day, has set out a longer-term vision for social innovators to re-imagine and re-connect on civic agenda to seek ideas and solutions that will reduce divisions and embrace diversity and inclusion. The discussion was led by Francis NGAI, Founder of Social Ventures Hong Kong with panellists from different sectors and audience participations.
Day Two of the international symposium included stimulating parallel sessions over 4 discussion tracks, namely “Designing Happy Business” – examining business mission, models and eco-systems; “Designing Good Finance” – looking into SDG goals, social finance and game changing financial models; “Designing for Social Inclusion” – diving into the world of People of Difference, ReWirement and New Inclusive Power; “Collaborating for Happiness” – taking on the wider perspectives of unlocking talents, technology driven social innovations and an Academic Forum on Platform Co-operativisim in the age of Industrial Revolution 4.0.
On the last day, the well-attended Asian-wide Young Entrepreneurs Roundtable with two workshops have marked a satisfactory "Happy Saturday" of the international symposium. This year’s symposium was concluded with an interactive session titled “Young Social Innovators Showcase”, which saw six successful young social innovators, including Louisa MAK, former Miss Hong Kong and Non-Executive Director of Adventurous Global Schools; Danny WANG, Founding Chairman of Adventurous Global Schools Charity and Founder and Managing Director of Full Circle Education Group; Judy KONG, Chief Executive of InspiringHK Sports Foundation; Herman CHAN, Co-Founder of Eldpathy; Eddie RONG, Co-Founder of HEYCOINS; and Andrew TSUI, Co-Founder of Rooftop Republic, came together to share their own successful experiences and journeys.
Interactions between speakers and delegates occurred throughout SES 2019 including a polling on “My Future Agenda for Hong Kong” on Day One. “The poll result showed that ‘rebuild trust between people/sectors’ is the top 1 future agenda for Hong Kong; ‘more people participation in formulating policies to shape the future of Hong Kong’ is the second; ‘preserve Hong Kong’s global status, identity and connection’ is the third” said Rebecca CHOY YUNG, Chair of the Organising Committee of Social Enterprise Summit. “The lively discussions in the past three days represent a real shot in the arms for the development of social enterprises and plausible advancement of some of the social initiatives. I sincerely hope that the society and emerging social innovators will be able to uphold the theme of this year – Designing for Happiness”, added Mrs Yung.
In addition, Prof Erwin HUANG, Member of the Organising Committee of Social Enterprise Summit, led a “My Happy Action” pledge with all the participants during the closing ceremony, to encourage them and their networks to commit to a Happy Action for the people around them, to pass on the ideas gained from SES and spread happiness and kindness to the community.