Cities of Tomorrow

The Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum organized by Horyou will discuss Future Energy, Smart Cities, SDGs, and lead official delegation to EXPO 2017 Astana

SIGEF 2017 will take place in Astana, Kazakhstan
SIGEF 2017 will take place in Astana, Kazakhstan

Horyou, the Social Network for Social Good, announces the 4th edition of SIGEF, the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum. The world-class event will take place on the 5th of September 2017, at Rixos President Astana Hotel in Astana, Kazakhstan. It will be followed by an official delegation’s visit to EXPO 2017 on the 6th and 7th of September.

With a team of top-class international speakers, panellists and moderators, SIGEF will cover three of the most critical issues of our time – Smart Cities, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Future Energy. «With SIGEF, Horyou is committed to encourage multi-stakeholders to gather, interact, and establish partnerships to shape better times to come. SIGEF will bring together social entrepreneurs, impact investors, philanthropists, government officials and representatives from civil society, to spread the message that we can all be changemakers», says Yonathan Parienti, founder and CEO of Horyou.

Opening ceremony of SIGEF 2016 with Yonathan Parienti, Founder of Horyou, H.E Rosalie Matondo, Minister of Environment Republic of Congo, Dr. Ali Bin Samikh Al Marri, Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) in Qatar, HRH Prince Nawaf bin Saad al Saud, Chairman of the Al-Hilal Saudi football club and Yasuhiro Yamamoto, President of Eneco Holdings.
Opening ceremony of SIGEF 2016 with Yonathan Parienti, Founder of Horyou, H.E Rosalie Matondo, Minister of Environment Republic of Congo, Dr. Ali Bin Samikh Al Marri, Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) in Qatar, HRH Prince Nawaf bin Saad al Saud, Chairman of the Al-Hilal Saudi football club and Yasuhiro Yamamoto, President of Eneco Holdings.

Last year, SIGEF was the leading side event at the UN COP22, in Marrakesh, Morocco. The 3-day conference was attended by a 2500-wide international audience, while offering a space for non-profit organizations from all around the world, staging artistic acts, organizing an Horyou Foundation dinner, and presenting an award for social impact projects. It was the first SIGEF to be held out of Europe and in Africa.

This year, reinforcing its global presence and impact, Horyou is organizing the first SIGEF in Central Asia, with an agenda of discussions deeply anchored in the future of our interconnected societies. At the opening and end of the one-day SIGEF conference, the participants will have the opportunity to meet and greet some of the most important players in social entrepreneurship, as well as business leaders, funders and government officials, during a special networking session.

On the 6th and 7th of September, Horyou and the SIGEF team will lead an official visit to the country pavilions of EXPO 2017 Astana, the biggest future energy gathering this year. «We are thrilled to bring our SIGEF international delegations to connect with participants from all continents who are attending EXPO 2017 Astana, to build bridges of collaboration and foster sustainable solutions that will benefit our societies», says Parienti.

More information on www.sigef2017.com The agenda can be consulted here. Click to apply for speaking and to buy your ticket for SIGEF 2017.

About Horyou

Horyou is the social network for social good. Through technology, innovation and social entrepreneurship advocacy, it promotes meaningful and global interactions amongst its adherent organizations, members and personalities. With its platform, App and Spotlight, the first Global Social Currency for Impact, Horyou helps transform positive ideas into concrete actions while building constructive relationships both online and offline.

The Horyou App is available for free download via iOS and Android.

For more information visit www.horyou.com

Barcelona is well-known for its tourist attractions – beautiful architecture, vibrant nightlife and great food -, which makes it one of the most visited places in the world. Yet, there is something more than attracting the occasional visitors that the Catalan capital wants to earn: the status of first Social Business big City. As a supporter of social businesses around the world, Horyou interviewed Anna Domenech, spokesperson for Social Business City Barcelona.

Barcelona Social Business City
Barcelona Social Business City

What does Social Business City Barcelona stand for?

Social Business City Barcelona (SBC Barcelona) is an International program of intervention, created by Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace prize in 2006, known as the promoter of microcredit and social business concepts. The creation of this international initiative has the purpose of spreading the concept of social business around the world, at a time when an international social business movement is arising worldwide that involves people, organizations and societies. This movement aims to promote and support social entrepreneurship and social business as a tool to deal with and solve the social needs and challenges of the city. From this global ecosystem, a new concept on how to solve social problems in a territory emerges, in a holistic and collaborative way: Social Business City (SBC). In order to reach that objective, SBC Barcelona has created a huge alliance between different actors in the city to work together for a social and economic change. Currently, SBC Barcelona is supporting the creation of new social enterprises, accompanying NGOs to create social businesses, undertaking social business communication campaigns, training sessions and workshops for students, and boosting university research and teaching. An important thing to consider is what we mean by social business: organizations whose main objective is to achieve a positive social impact, using the sale of a product or a service as a tool. The profits are reinvested in their own activity (no-dividend), to make more effective and enduring its main goal: to create impact and generate social change.

You have a very bold mission – to transform Barcelona into the first big social business city in the world. What is your strategy and timeline to reach this goal?

Before Barcelona, Wiesbaden (Germany), Pistoia (Italy) and Fukuoka (Japan) got involved in the SBC initiative. The latest incorporation has been Ipoh, in Malaysia. These initiatives are being developed in very different realities, especially regarding the size of the cities which are taking part. In Pistoia, for example, the program is carried out by the University of Florence. In Barcelona, we have four public universities and a large number of private universities and business schools. We have obtained the commitment of all the public universities and four private universities. So, the initiative in Barcelona requires the articulation of an extensive city; it also calls to deal with the multiplicity and complexity of all the actors involved. On the other hand, it should be noted that Barcelona presents a great, strong and rooted civil society where many alternative forms of production and consumption have developed throughout the years; forms such as cooperatives are traditionally very powerful in Catalonia. In this sense, there’s a big task of including, cooperating and interacting with all the actors. Social entities and social businesses, universities, private entities, the third sector and the Barcelona city council are involved in the project since its inception.

Lab 'co-creating social business'
Lab “co-creating social business”

What are your main challenges today?

Our main objective now is to spread the concept of social business, to make visible other ways of doing business where economic activity becomes a potential and sustainable tool to face the social needs and challenges. It is necessary to give support and awareness to civil society that there are many initiatives and entrepreneurs that are creating business from a critical, transformative and committed social perspective. With SBC, we are supporting and promoting the creation of these companies that are based on social, environmental and cultural view, which allow the introduction of transformative perspectives and relationship to change the rules, and the type of thinking required for a radical transformation of the economic system. In order to achieve that, on the one hand, we’re doing a lot of training activities in universities and schools; we grant several awards for the best social business projects to university and professional training students, and we’re launching communication campaigns and activities that involve civil society. On the other hand, we’re carrying out the Lab Co-Creating Social Business, which offers support to social entrepreneurs: an intensive workplace, workshops, support and advice in the process of creation a new social business.

Are you engaged with the Sustainable Development Goals?

We’re engaged with SDG because we think it’s totally necessary to adopt this set of goals as a part of a new sustainable development global agenda. We think in a global way and consider that all these goals should be intrinsic to all activities of all organizations, in the common world we’re living in. However, we’re working from a territorial vision, through the identification of different social challenges which must be faced in Barcelona. The first main challenge identified was to reduce youth unemployment in the city, an unsustainable situation which requires to be approached immediately, by the cooperation and implication of all the city’s agents. To revert this problem will take time and effort. That is why we need sustainable and coordinated solutions, focused towards the reduction of youth unemployment, but guaranteeing sustainability and maximization of its social impact in the future, and counting on the youth community as agents who can transform a reality that affects them directly. Some of other challenges we are working on are high pollution rates, migrations, negative tourism effects in the city, right to housing, or education.

In your opinion, are civil society and private sector more aware and committed to social businesses?

In the recent years, we have witnessed a series of events, both locally and globally, which have shaken the dominant socio-economic structures, demonstrating the need to re-think and transform the system. We grew up in a context where the hegemonic economic actors have shown to prioritize growth measured in personal profits at the expense of the interests based on people and common welfare, where business relations have strengthened poverty, exclusion, social inequality, and environmental devastation. But for a long time, different and alternatives ways of doing business have been raised, showing that other forms of production, exchange and consumption is not only possible, but a reality. One way of doing business is where economic activity becomes a potential tool to face challenges and social needs. In a distressing global reality, we believe that people are becoming more aware of the importance of betting for sustainable and responsible ways of life; and we believe that it’s absolutely necessary for a committed and aware civil society to generate new public policies favourable to this socio-economic change.

Teaching
Teaching a course of social economy at the university

Horyou is a social network for the social good. How important is to have social networks engaging and promoting social businesses?

We think it’s crucial to place the new forms of communication, of sharing information and knowledge at the service of social and sustainable proposals. It’s evident that social networks present new opportunities, intensifying the connections and the possibilities of cooperation. So we think it’s necessary to redirect this innovative tools towards new ways of collaboration in order to co-create and build collective knowledge and experience around social enterprises and social economy.

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

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