Saturday, 4 July 2009

Are social entrepreneurs key to rebooting Britain?

It's hard to deny that we're in a bit of a mess. The economy is facing its toughest challenges for decades, public services are being hit by ever increasing demands and trust in politicians is the lowest level it has ever been. With all that in mind, NESTA has organised Reboot Britain, a conference in London on Monday which will focus on how by embracing modern technologies and business practices, such problems can be overcome.

Looking through the schedule - which is probably one of the most impressive line-ups of conference speakers I've seen for a long time - there is a heavy emphasis on social enterprise. It's clear that the old way of doing things haven't worked and it's now time for the social entrepreneurs out there to take charge and make good things happen.

I'm going to be at the event and in the app below I've outlined the sessions I plan on attending.

In particular, I'm looking forward to the 'Building An Entrepreneur Country' session led by Julie Meyer, founder of Ariadne Capital and star of the BBC's online version of Dragons' Den. I'm a huge fan of Julie and hers should be an inspiring speech. One thing she believes is that the UK should be embracing the ever increasing number of entrepreneurs taking a social approach to business.

Previewing the event, Meyer wrote an excellent piece in The Independent earlier this week. Here's an extract:

"Entrepreneurs are some of the most generous people I know. They ‘send the elevator down’ to the next generation, as the overwhelming majority of them remember that they have been helped by others before them. Provoke their generosity by giving tax incentives for their work.

"Social enterprise is a hot area where many leading entrepreneurs are flocking, whether it’s Hoult’s Yard in Newcastle, or DoTheGreenThing out of London, or Bono’s Red led by Seb Bishop, the founder of Espotting, or Just Giving which is transforming charities. Not only do entrepreneurs know what to do to fix social problems, they do it."

If you're going to Reboot Britain, do say hello if you spot me. If not, I'll be tweeting and blogging as usual.

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