The annual SEWF was established in 2008 by an international steering group comprised of leading social enterprise support organizations from around the world. The primary purpose of SEWF is to assemble social enterprise leaders and champions from all continents to collaborate, share best practices, and to catalyze the social enterprise movement in the host country. The inaugural SEWF was held in 2008 in Edinburgh, Scotland, and has since traveled to Melbourne, Australia (2009), San Francisco, California (2009), and Johannesburg, South Africa (2010).
The SEWF 2012 will focus on the theme of "Social Enterprise: Investing for Impact" with an emphasis impact investing. Impact investing is an asset class on the rise globally. Investors are increasingly seeking opportunities to place their capital in businesses "that can harness the positive power of enterprise," generating both positive financial returns and social benefits for the community. The SEWF2012 will emphasize strategies for attracting new investment capital for social enterprise from private and public sources, particularly in emerging market countries. The SEWF 2012 will explore global efforts to develop a social capital market to support social enterprises at their various stages of development and with varied sources and types of financing from grants, loans, equity, social bonds, and the emerging social stock exchange.
"The SEWF corresponds with the 15th anniversary of NESsT's founding in 1997 and is a tremendous opportunity to raise the profile of social enterprise and impact investing in Brazil as well as across Latin America," says NESsT co-Founder & CEO, Nicole Etchart.
NESsT has selected a social enterprise venue to host the SEWF 2012. The Centro Cultural Ação da Cidadania is operated by Ação da Cidadania, a leading Brazilian community organization dedicated to overcoming hunger and poverty. The Centro is located in Rio's waterfront port area, designated for redevelopment in anticipation of the World Cup and Olympics in 2014 and 2016, respectively.
- keynote addresses from high-profile public officials, private investors and social enterprise pioneers from Brazil and around the world
- 10 tracks including engaging panels and workshops with speakers and panelists from leading social enterprises and investors
- Social Enterprise Marketplace and exhibition for social enterprises and service providers in Brazil and globally to display their products and services
- Investor Day to introduce private and public investors to social enterprise and impact investing
- Social Enterpise Awards Gala recognizing excellence in social enterprise
- Social Enterprise "Pitching" Place: for social enterprises to present their business plans to experts & investors for advice & feedback
- Social Enterprise Workshops: ongoing "how-to" skills-building workshops
- Social enterprise site visits and study tour in/around Rio and to Bahia to showcase unique social enterprise models in Brazil
- World Café space to network with colleagues, investors, and new friends
- Live entertainment, cultural activities and exhibits highlighting the cultural vibrancy of Brazil.