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Conference About Community Movers And Shakers

12 November 2001

A conference honouring and supporting the ‘movers and shakers’ in our communities is planned for Wellington this month.

The Social Entrepreneurship Conference 2001 hopes to open dialogue, networking and discuss the issues around social entrepreneurs and the work they do in our communities.

It is the first Conference of its kind in New Zealand and is being jointly sponsored by COMMACT Aotearoa and the Community Employment Group (CEG) which is part of the Department of Labour. The Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, Te Puni Kokiri and the Department of Internal Affairs have also provided assistance with the conference. It is being held at the Wellington Town Hall on 22-23 November.

“A social entrepreneur is a person who has a vision of a better society which they pursue relentlessly,” says Charlie Moore, general manager for CEG.

“To make their vision a reality they employ continuous innovation and bold action, but their drive and creativity is always subject to a sense of accountability to the communities they serve.”

Not only is the conference for people who actively try and make our communities stronger and more socially and economically prosperous, it is for people who simply want to talk about how these things can happen.

The term, social entrepreneur, was first used in the mid 90s but the concept has been around as long as society itself. “In the past we have usually described these people as “movers and shakers,” says Mr Moore.

As well as social entrepreneurs who are active in New Zealand, speakers have been invited from social entrepreneur networks in Australia. One of the aims of the Conference will be to facilitate the development of a network for social entrepreneurs in New Zealand.

The Conference will provide the opportunity for participants to meet and exchange ideas, experience, advice and information. They will also examine the principles and practices of social entrepreneurship in the wider context of economic development, and help to identify trends and issues which affect their work.

A kea was chosen as the symbol for the Conference since it represents many of the qualities found in social entrepreneurs. The kea is unique, in that it is the world’s only mountain parrot. It is noted for a high level of social organisation, boldness, curiosity and a propensity to play, all of which contribute to an unusual ability to learn and to create new solutions to whatever problems it encounters.

The Conference is open to anyone who feels they have a contribution to make to the development of a social entrepreneurs’ network or who feels that their own practice may benefit from the experience of others working in the same field.


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