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People from Apulia and young people were at # SEWF2015. We were there too.
Both Lara Mastrogiovanni from WIP4.EU association and Francesco Romano from SEI Project Association deal with European project design for youth policy and training trying to bring together projects and activities towards Social Businesses.
We started with the intention of writing a short report on the three days just passed at the Social Enterprise World Forum 2015, the world forum that ACRA-CCS organized this year by bringing together over a thousand participants from around the world and experts in social entrepreneurship to discuss and share best practices related to four main themes: the ecosystem supporting the development of social enterprises; the role of social enterprises in the fight against poverty; impact investing; social enterprises in agriculture. One is the cross-cutting theme: youth and social enterprise “Make room for us!”.
Expectations were high and indefinite considering the world scenario, the several reference persons for social enterprises and entrepreneurs and especially the charismatic 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus, the father of microcredit and tireless promoter of social business.
Mission Failed!
The three days were so intense that you were dead tired at night and had no strength to go out and take a walk around the streets of Milan. Many authorities, experts, teachers from Tanzania, India, Australia, Italy, Germany, UK, USA, China and other countries provided a comprehensive overview of social enterprises in the world.
Among the several panels set in the different classrooms of IULM University that we went around like spinning tops, there were incredible stories and testimonies conveying courage, enthusiasm and strength. Such strength and energy came from Antonio Tinelli who described the beauty of San Patrignano Community, from Peter Holbrook (Social Enterprise UK), from the support of the National Youth Agency during the workshop on “How to train the next generation of social entrepreneurs” that provided useful outlines on how to encourage the dialogue among competent organisations around the world, from the incredible Women trio and their enterprises in Pakistan, Cambodia and Italy protagonists of the workshop on “The leading role of women in social enterprises” headed by the Italian Riccarda Zezza of PianoC who highlighted the problem of female unemployment and the lack of a positive role model for women and mothers, which perhaps there will never be as long as the decision will be taken by men and women will not change the “terms of empowerment.” And yet further energy came from AFRIpads in Uganda, from “La Città essenziale” Consortium of Matera promoting and supporting territorial resources, from prof. Zamagni and his view of social enterprises in Italy … Many audacious stories, so much beauty in the people’s eyes telling these stories and lots of enthusiasm and optimism of 800 delegates from around the world.

On the 3rd of July at 5pm SEWF2015 forum ended with the handover to the 2016 edition in Hong Kong but the most amazing part was yet to come!

On Saturday 4th of July at 9:15am we met at the central station to accompany prof. Yunus to Naples and start a journey that was made possible thanks to the collaboration of the Italian State Railways and the ItaliaCamp Foundation. The ACRA-CCS staff took us to ESF Business club to interview us and ask for our impressions of the forum. At the end of the interviews, prof. Yunus arrived and that was the first time we met and shook hands before getting on the train to Naples.
An entire wagon was reserved for 20 young people selected through a competition and for ACRA-CCS and press staffs to share experiences and emotions with prof. Yunus who encouraged us with a permanent smile to choose the job we love, who suggested to focus on human relations and mutual trust and above all asked for help in changing the perception and direction of education to fight unemployment: Man has always been able to create jobs and not to look for them, so Let’s create Them!
Lara Mastrogiovanni
Francesco Romano

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