Reflections on Voice 08

Friday, 29 February 2008

For those of you that have never been, Voice is the annual UK social enterprise conference. This year (Voice 08) was in Liverpool and is one of my two must-attend conferences of the year (the other being RCN Congress).

For me it does 3 things:

1) It connects me with many of my social entrepreneur contacts, some of whom I only see once a year. Most of us are running around trying to grow and develop our own social enterprises, so it is nice just to have some time to reconnect, swap some gossip and drink fairtrade coffee (which Voice is always swimming in).

2) You meet some really interesting people. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a terrible collector of business cards and love finding new people to add to my network. Most of what I do is put people in touch with other people, so the more interesting, talented and cool people I know the better. Occasionally you meet a potential client but actually it is a much richer source of potential collaborators and people who spark interesting ideas and possibilities in your head.

3) It gives me a space to kick ideas around over food, coffee and ideally wine with some of the most interesting social entrepreneurs around. I saw at least three new business models emerge in the bar on Tuesday night (to the extent I didn't even notice the earthquake) and I will blog about some of these in the next few weeks. It is an amazing space for creative, quirky and very bright mavericks all of whom are passionate (and even angry) about trying to make the world better.

Anyway, if you have never been, I would strongly urge you too and the organisers this year created lots of opportunities and space for networking and just kicking ideas around.


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