Centre for Economic Transformation| CET

Connecting social entrepreneurship education and research

Review of the Research and Education Conference | SEWF 2023

31 Oct 2023 15:23 | Centre for Economic Transformation

A successful Research and Education Conference was held at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) on October 10, 2023, Fringe Day of the annual Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF). This event, with a focus on SE education and research, brought together professionals, academics and social entrepreneurs from around the world. The conference provided a valuable opportunity to shape the future of SE education and research, helping to promote collective action for sustainable change.

Social entrepreneurship plays a crucial role in addressing contemporary challenges, from climate change to inequality. But how can research contribute to the development of the SE ecosystem and how can we inspire (young) people to tackle these challenges?

Inspiration and Insights from Keynote Speakers

The daily program included both an opening and closing plenary session, starting the day with keynote speakers Dr. Mike Bull (Associate Professor in Social Enterprise at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK) and Stella van der Wal-Maris (Lecturer in Education and Social Entrepreneurship at Marnix Academy in the Netherlands). Dr. Mike Bull emphasized the importance of SE education: "Social entrepreneurship is a powerful tool to address societal problems, and education plays a crucial role in inspiring the next generation of social entrepreneurs."

In line with this vision, Stella van der Wal-Maris shared her connecting insights: "Children are the future, and it is our responsibility to inspire them and provide them with the hope, action and competence they need to contribute to a just, peaceful and sustainable world."

Mike Bull on SEWF Fringe Event, AUAS, Netherlands

Mike Bull (foto Petra Spiljard)

Stella van der Wal-Maris, at SEWF Fringe Event, AUAS, Netherlands

Stella van der Wal-Maris (foto Petra Spiljard)

The Future of Social Entrepreneurship Education and Research

The keynote speakers were followed by workshops and papersessions, too many to mention them all. From the AUAS, Maurik de Groot , researcher at the Entrepreneurship lectorate and lecturer in Sales & Marketing at the HvA Business School, spoke about the crucial role of sales skills in social entrepreneurship. He emphasised: "Teaching sales skills is important for the future of social entrepreneurship and business success."

Then co-organizer Maarten Hogenstijn , senior researcher and lecturer on social entrepreneurship at the AUAS, spoke about economic change and the pioneering role of social entrepreneurs. Maarten emphasized, "The economy needs to change and social entrepreneurs are pioneers in this. They can be inspiring, but they need to be properly educated. That is why research and education in the field of social entrepreneurship are very important."

Closing session with panel discussion

The program concluded with an interactive panel discussion around the questions:

  • What have we learned as important lessons today?

  • How can social entrepreneurship research and education be better connected?

  • How can we improve social entrepreneurship education to advance the field?

  • And how can we better inform practice from research?

The panel, formed by Viviantie Sarjuni (MSc Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship, University of Strathclyde), Tizzita Tefera (Head of Education at SEWF and founder of Social Enterprise Ethiopia) and Niels Bosma (Professor of Social Entrepreneurship, Utrecht University, the Netherlands), engaged in a discussion led by moderator Mahutin Awunou.

Side event - Rethinking the Gift Bag

From unwanted clutter to circular and regenerative design: this was the challenge of the innovative student workshop during this fringe day. During this workshop, principles from circular and generative design are explained as a foundation for the gift bag concepts that they developed during the day. The best ideas from this workshop will be developed for the upcoming 3E event in May 2024 .

Education and Research at Fringe Day and SEWF 2023

The Research and Education Conference was the largest of nine events at the Social Enterprise World Forum's (SEWF) Fringe Day. Some 120 people participated in the day, mostly researchers, educators and students. Participants came from all over the world: from New Zealand to Finland and from Taiwan to Italy. The main theme of SEWF 2023, "Collective Action. Sustainable Change," was leading, with the Research and Education Conference focusing on research and education.

Fringe Day was followed by SEWF's main event on Oct. 11 and 12, with more than 1,000 participants from around the world. During the main event, HvA researcher Maarten Hogenstijn led a panel discussion on the importance of education around social entrepreneurship.

The main event of the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) is an annual gathering that brings together professionals, academics and, most importantly, social entrepreneurs to share knowledge, build networks and gain inspiration to advance social enterprise and increase positive impact on society.

More information: speakers & program

For an overview of all speakers and the programme, go to the event website. Extended abstracts of most sessions can also be found. The event website is available until 15 December '23