About the Conference

Background

The First Social Enterprise Advocacy and Leveraging (SEAL) Conference and ISEA Regional Assembly was held in Makati, Philippines on November 25-27, 2014.  The theme of the conference was Transforming Economies through Social Entrepreneurship:  Towards a Post-2015 Development Agenda.  Inspired by an ISEA-Oxfam action research on the role, challenges and potentials of social enterprises in developing countries in Asia, the First SEAL Conference recognized the importance of social enterprises, particularly social enterprises with the poor as primary stakeholders (SEPPS), in  playing an important role as vehicles for creating and distributing wealth among the poor; and for building the assets, capabilities and self-reliance of  marginalized sectors as actors in their own development.  The participants committed themselves to building a vibrant social enterprise sector empowering the poor as stakeholders in sustainable, inclusive, and gender-transformative economic development.  Toward this end, they resolved to build a strong learning community of social enterprises and support institutions to effectively address common internal and external challenges of social enterprises.  They also resolved to engage local and national governments and inter-governmental bodies at the sub-regional, regional and global levels to work for an enabling policy environment and ecosystem supportive to building a vibrant social enterprise sector as a key element in the pursuit of a post-2015 Development Agenda. 

The First ISEA Regional Assembly resolved to hold the Second SEAL Conference and ISEA Regional Assembly in 2017 in Bali, Indonesia.   A Regional Steering Committee was set up and is co-convened by Bina Swadaya Founding Chairperson and ISEA Co-Convenor Pak Bambang Ismawan and ISEA President Dr. Marie Lisa Dacanay.  A Local Organizing Committee, composed of ISEA members and partners in Indonesia, with Bina Swadaya and Dompet Dhuafa playing key roles, was also set up.

After a consultation process involving ISEA stakeholders, it was resolved that the Second SEAL Conference and ISEA Regional Assembly shall be held in Bali, Indonesia on September 26-30, 2017.  The theme agreed upon, as a follow-up to the First SEAL Conference, is Social Enterprise: Addressing Inequality for a Just Economy and shall serve as a venue for Learning Exchange on Social Enterprise Impacts and the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Expected participants are 100 members and partners of ISEA and key stakeholders supporting the social enterprise sector in the region and various countries in Asia including Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Singapore, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Japan, South Korea and China.

The Second SEAL Conference was partially supported by the Japan Foundation – Asia Center as part of Measuring Social Enterprise Research Exchange and Learning in Asia. It was also supported by Oxfam and the Government of Sweden (SIDA) as part of Promoting Social Enterprises in Gender transformative and Responsible Agribusiness Investments in Southeast Asia.  The action research outputs from both projects being implemented by ISEA and its partners were presented as inputs during the Second SEAL Conference towards developing a social enterprise sector agenda in response to the challenges of measuring social enterprise impacts, developing and promoting benchmarks based on best practices of social enterprises and engaging relevant stakeholders to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.  

In 2016 and in keeping with the resolutions of the First SEAL Conference, the Philippine Social Enterprise Network and ISEA led efforts to set up a Social and Community Enterprises Constituency, as part of the Asia Pacific Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism (AP-RCEM) that engages the United Nations System on the Sustainable Development Goals.  During AP-RCEM in 2016 and 2017, the Social and Community Enterprises Constituency was convened and made proposals for social entrepreneurship as a major multi-stakeholder platform to make the SDGs matter to the poor in the region.  However, much needs to be done to ensure that the Constituency’s proposals are effectively heard and considered by UNESCAP and the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD).  The Second SEAL Conference also contributed to addressing this challenge.