Everyone a changemaker: Innovating for a Happier Society
(22nd November 2018, Hong Kong) The 11th Social Enterprise Summit kicked off its three-day international symposium at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre today with a grand ceremony and various keynote speeches. This year, under the theme “Innovating for a Happier Society”, the symposium invited over sixty respected social innovation leaders from different locations to deliver and participate in over twenty speeches, forums, workshops and interactive sessions. With the aim to promote social development by applying cutting-edge concepts in social innovation, guest speakers and delegates will be exploring some of the latest social enterprise trends around the world.
The Grand Opening of the symposium was officiated by Mr Matthew Cheung, Chief Secretary for Administration, HKSAR Government.
Ms Rebecca Yung, Chair, Organising Committee of Social Enterprise Summit, said “Social Innovators strive to think and act beyond economic benefits to more diversified values. Their ultimate goal is to seek happiness for people from different sectors and age groups. The objectives of social entrepreneurs have also been expanded to include not only poverty alleviation or environmental protection but also education, design thinking, art innovation and business as a force for social good”.
Speaking on “What social entrepreneurship has come to mean today”, Ms Paula DiPerna, Special Adviser, CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project) discussed the new meaning of social innovation in today’s marketplace, the need for scale, and why the current system tends to resist change despite all the passion and good ideas brought to bear on it.
Mr Mark Cheng, European Managing Director of the global network of world’s leading social entrepreneurs, Ashoka, gave a keynote speech on “Everyone a changemaker: How empowering everyone can create a happier society”, with Prof Alex Nicholls, Professor of Social Entrepreneurship, Said Business School, University of Oxford, shared his breath of experiences in response to the same topic. Mr Mark Cheng has also announced today the launch of Ashoka in Hong Kong and the appointment of two Ashoka fellows here, this is a significant moment to further the development of social entrepreneurships.
Following the keynote speeches, two thematic sessions were held with the titles “Sustainability and the challenges in this region” and “Investing in Happiness: How to tell your impact story to social investors”, both of which were highly practical and provided in-depth knowledge to participants. In the session “Sustainability and the challenges in this region”, Ms DiPerna shared her views on the need for balancing theoretical and practical matters in some emerging areas and talked about how society and businesses should establish social priorities as well as how individual actions can best be coordinated for major collective impact. In the session “Investing in Happiness: How to tell your impact story to social investors”, Mr Cheng discussed with 2018 Social Entrepreneur of the Year - Mr David Yeung and Social Impact Partners Ms Lindy Lek on how social impact such as happiness and well beings can be better communicated and measured.
Echoing the theme “Innovating for a Happier Society”, the opening of the Summit held a series of “Happy experiences” - inviting children to take part in innovating experiences at a young age through the dance performances by HKYWCA Chiu Oi Wah Nursery School – using art engagements to bring communities together and explore untapped talents; busking & jamming performances by Swire Properties’ PROJECT AFTER 6 Programme – and an unconventional Summit yoga experience with Ms Almen Wong, Hong Kong’s yoga icon.