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The Social Enterprise World Forum is coming to Addis Ababa for the first time. The week-long gathering is to be hosted inside the headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

This is the first time such a gathering has taken place in Africa, making it a landmark event, whereby more than 1000 people are expected to take part in the event. The forum exists to support the growth and development of social enterprises throughout the world.

 “We have worked with our partners in ensuring that the full week experience is as comprehensive as anticipated,” said WubetGirma, deputy director of the British Council in Addis Ababa.“We trust every participant would find value in the experience and as an individual, institution and system level.” 

The event is set to start on Sunday, inside the British Council. The week will include an academic symbiosis and a policy forum, with the main event kicking-off on Wednesday and will run until Friday.

While social enterprise is a new concept, it has been gaining ground in the nation, playing a vital role in the health sector. Tebita Ambulance, being one of its signature concepts. Social enterprise has been gaining traction in the world as an alternative way to use innovative ways to help solve social challenges.

“Ethiopia has to move from an aid-dependent society and embrace the spirits and ideas of social enterprise. I can almost guarantee you that this idea will have an impact in the next decade. It will change our realities,” said KebretAbebe, Tebita Ambulance, at a press conference held inside the British council yesterday and added, “I have much confidence in the dreamers of Ethiopia, the risk-takers, the entrepreneurs, the problem solvers, the grassroots leaders and those that create jobs. Unless we support them, this country will never solve its issues”.

The bid to host the gathering in Ethiopia was announced last year and in attendance were a delegation of 20 Ethiopian entrepreneurs, social enterprise boosters and politicians in Edinburgh, in Scotland.

"Social enterprise is very much about social impact," Peter Brown, Country Director of British Council in Ethiopia said at the press conference. “The time is right. The demand is there. The movement to support the vision and idea of social enterprise in Ethiopia is moving forward”.

The forum was established back in 2008 by national social enterprise support agencies seeking a means to advance social enterprise development globally to collaborate and share best practices and plan future developments. The enterprise has partnered with SAP, a global business software provider, the Social Enterprise Institute (SEI); the world's online school for social enterprise education and support, Vodacom, Johnson & Johnson and the British Council, among others.

Source:  The Reporter, by Samuel Getachew, 19 October 2019