One hundred social entrepreneurs, educators and organizers came together on November 18, 2016 at Worcester State University for Central New England’s first New Economy Summit, organized by the newly founded Social Venture Collaborative. Opening to the beat of the Eastern Medicine Singers’ American Indian drums participants were then inspiration from thought leaders and practitioners from Springfield, Hartford, Providence and Boston.
Discussions of a “New World of Work” brought out proposals around job creation, cooperatives and other work/business models that can restructure how livelihoods play a role in our lives. One concrete proposal out of this break out was for the Collaborative to centralize common services that are key to social ventures, but are often a weakness such as a shared HR department, workplace mediation, cross-organizational employment, and mentor networks,
Another group tackled energy and sustainability’s role in the new economy, calling for equitable access to benefits of renewable energy and an investment in grassroots community organizing and alliance building to address barriers to this access.
Community leadership, social justice and leveraging community assets came up in nearly every conversation at the Summit. Participants see a need to identify community leaders of all backgrounds and carry out more thorough asset mapping projects.
A common barrier or challenge often noted at the Summit was access to capital and other resources. Multiple ways of raising capital were discussed. Along similar lines, the need for better public policy around transportation and other areas was brought up. In addition, one break out group presented a vision of social enterprise zones with incentives to hire locally and connect deeply and value equity, ability justice, and inclusiveness.
One concrete project that has significant momentum behind it coming out of the summit, was for the collaboration and creation of a new curriculum on Solidarity Economy and other related topics, plus re-imagined research approaches and student assessments based on new values.
To improve our community’s food access and health, the final breakout groups proposes to partner with anchor institutions (universities, hospitals, etc.) to purchase food and other goods and services locally. Youth training, media work, advocacy and engagement with Community Health Improvement Plans can also be potential regionally collaborative projects in this topic area.
There is a general meeting for the Social Venture Collaborative on Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 at 10am at the Worcester Idea Lab, 20 Franklin St, Worcester – open to all.
The New Economy Summit to be held on Friday November 18th at Worcester State University will convene social entrepreneurs, social change practitioners, educational institutions, students, the business community, and others who share the goal of creating a just, equitable, and sustainable world.
This day-long event will serve as a powerful forum for making and strengthening connections, as well as building ongoing collaboration. Participants will engage in various interactive activities designed to establish a regional network and support transformation related to social enterprise, social business, cooperatives, and enterprise-oriented nonprofit organizations. Attendees will identify common challenges faced by local start-ups and brainstorm opportunities and next steps to resolve these and other challenges.
Keynote speakers, a World Café discussion, musicians, panelists and participants from across New England will inspire and motivate people to remain active and connected beyond the Summit, especially in the uncertain aftermath of the 2016 general elections.
Keynote address by Emily Kawano, an economist and the co-director of Wellspring Cooperative, a non-profit working to build a network of worker co-operatives in low income communities of Springfield, MA. She is also the coordinator of the U.S. Solidarity Economy Network and a Board member of RIPESS (Intercontinental Social Solidarity Economy Network).
Opening remarks by Barry Maloney, President of Worcester State University.
Performance by the Eastern Medicine Singers (American Indian Drumming).
Plenary – Lessons from the Region: Ojala Naeem, Managing Director, ReSET (Hartford); Kelly Ramirez – CEO of Social Enterprise Greenhouse (Providence); Sarah Jimenez, Ujima Project (Boston); moderated by Kyla Pacheco, Action Worcester
Sponsors/Collaborators: Worcester State University’s Center for Social Innovation, Worcester Roots / Worcester Solidarity And Green Economy (SAGE) Alliance, Stone Soup, Action Worcester, Worcester State University Library, Yunis Centre for Social Business / Becker College, Greenvitalize Urban Growers, Urban Laboratories, Cooperative Fund of New England, WorX Printing Co-op, Worcester Bookkeeping Cooperative, Clark University Peace Studies Department, Hartford ReSET, Boston Ujima Project, Social Enterprise Greenhouse, Pure Haven Essentials, 4 The Cause Marketing & Consulting, Pure Juz, Alternatives, Regional Environmental Council, Global Village Farms, Indigenous Peoples Network and Criminal Justice Policy Coalition.
When: 9am – 4pm on Friday, November 18, 2016
Where: Student Center at Worcester State University, 486 Chandler St, Worcester, MA
What: Open to the public summit with sliding scale registration (see below).