Bo-Erik Abrahamsson









By Bo-Erik Abrahamsson

Emerge 2015

The recent Emerge conference brought hundreds of speakers, practitioners, academics and startup leaders to Oxford to discuss issues in Social Entrepreneurship.

I was lucky enough to get a ticket (which were sold out) basically by booking the same day as I received my acceptance letter. Among the many talented speakers, James Brett stands out for giving an unbelievable story of planting pomegranates in the opium fields in Afghanistan, bringing both profits and social benefit to the local communities. Not to mention very tasty pomegranate juice to the UK! We were also given the opportunity to participate in workshops on the themes of personal leadership stories, goal setting and social funding, where both Oxford-based and international guests gave practical advice. My own social enterprise Reading For Change will benefit immensely from the conference. Since we recently won $10k in acceleration funding from Coca Cola as one of the top five social enterprise in the world at the annual Davos meeting, I am now looking for clear strategies to put the funding to work.

Needless to say, perhaps the best part of the conference were all the chance meetings that happened over coffee breaks and lunches. I was lucky enough to meet Jake Helman, an ex/Navy Seal who after combat operations in Iraq decided to combat poverty through education and economic development. Jake and I decided to stay in touch, and I am happy and glad to learn from his amazing social ventures.

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