The hardest bit of the event was setting my alarm for 05:20, as our train was booked for 06:25 to ensure that we were ready for the 10:00 start in the capital.
Upon arrival at City University it was great to see the Balloon Kenya team who were exhibiting at the event, who welcomed guests with balloon shaped cookies. It was great to see Maxine too, who was another Fellow on my programme over the summer.
The event started at ten with a welcome from NACUEs Head of Community, Amy Watson. The welcome was followed by Jaguar Land Rovers, Director for Corporate and Social Responsibility, Jonathan Garrett who spoke about the importance of preparing for 2050. The population will reach 9 billion and he spoke of how there is plenty of opportunities for social entrepreneurs to exploit the rise in population.
Arthur Kay of Bio-Bean, a company that recycles coffee grounds into biodiesel and biomass pellets introduced the keynote speaker, Robin Shelley. Robin who is regarded as a ‘Global Shaper’ by the World Economic Forum has worked as Chief of Staff to former President of Costa Rica Jose Maria Figueres, supporting international initiatives in climate change and energy. He currently works in investment banking and is interested in how finance can create economic development and social change. Robin spoke about ‘Social Intrapreneurs’, people working within large organisations that push for social good.
Following the morning keynote was a panel of social enterprise experts taking questions from the delegates in regards to ‘Working towards a greater social impact’.
Coffee and networking concluded the morning sessions in which I was asked to speak to The Guardian in regards to the conference and about the work I did in Kenya, which I look forward to seeing.
Breakout sessions followed the networking break, with a selection of different topics being discussed in different rooms across the University. I chose ‘The Naked Debate’ hosted by Solitaire Townsend, the founder of Futerra, a sustainable development communications agency. Solitaire looked at making social enterprise sexy, how to win the status fight of social media and why you have power to change the world.
Lunch followed, allowing everybody to get some food and visit the varying stall that were available to view in the Social Enterprise Marketplace. I stayed with the Balloon Kenya team and shared my experiences with students who were interested in joining the project next summer.
After lunch was the presentation that I’d been looking forward too, with Rob Forkan the founder of Gandys Flip Flops and their investor Dominic List, a former Secret Millionaire. Rob went through Gandys interesting story, talking about how a family tragedy encouraged them to set up a business with social good – check out their story http://www.gandysflipflops.com/our-journey
Unfortunately we didn’t have time for the last set of talks as we had to get back to Sheffield, however I did have an attempt at running into a wall.
I thoroughly enjoyed the day out in the capital and thanks to Hallam Union for allowing me to represent them.