SEWF 2017 in Christchurch this week

With construction starting soon on the city's planned convention centre, the organisers of the 10th Social Enterprise World Forum are using the Isaac Theatre Royal and The Piano in the nearby Performing Arts Precinct, plus other venues such as the Art Gallery and Christchurch City Council headquarters, to host this significant event.

The conference will run from Wednesday to Friday with 170 speakers and more than 1600 delegates from 45 countries. It is a public conference aimed at businesses working on social or environmental issues, non-profit and charitable organisations, co-operatives, and community groups.


Caroline Blanchfield, manager of ChristchurchNZ's Convention Bureau, said the event is possible for the city because of its informal style.

"If it was a large top-end business or professional conference, it would be impossible because they'd need everything under one roof, but for this, they didn't want or need a convention centre with big spaces."

"Christchurch is well suited and of course we have the back story that fits with the theme of the conference."

Caroline Blanchfield, Convention Bureau Manager, ChristchruchNZ

To accommodate the numbers, organisers the Ākina Foundation will live-stream the speeches to smaller venues in the innovation precinct. Tours, discussions and workshops will be held, including some that locals can attend free. The programme gives delegates a chance to personalise their experience.

Staggered dates of arrivals and departures, with many visitors planning to holiday as well, means airlines' existing timetables were enough to fly the numbers coming.

Christchurch bid for the event three years ago and won the bid against other international cities. Conference Innovators is the professional conference organiser delivering this fantastic conference for Christchurch. 

The event attracts social enterprise practitioners, social entrepreneurs, policy makers, community leaders, investors, activists, academics and more from all across the globe.