Highlights From our First Global Social Innovation Event

Across the global network, hundreds of alumni of Teach For All partners are leading change as social entrepreneurs by developing new solutions to the causes and symptoms of inequality. To support their alumni leaders in designing and launching sustainable and scalable initiatives, many network partners are increasing their own understanding of and capacity to foster successful social innovations. To this end, from July 5 - 9, 20 staff members from 14 network partners came together in London for the first-ever social innovation network learning trip, co-hosted by Teach For All and Teach First. The event enabled peers from across the network to build strong connections as they exchanged insights and ideas for how to inspire, incubate, and accelerate the impact of alumni social innovators.

The event began with a focus on helping Teach For All partner staff who support alumni to more deeply understand their local social innovation sector landscapes, in order to inform the design of their support strategies. After analyzing the key elements of the social innovation ecosystems in their countries or regions (stakeholders, funding opportunities, resources, etc.), attendees also worked together to understand the journey of a social entrepreneur from startup to scaling up a social enterprise, and then engaged with a panel of social entrepreneurs who are Teach First ambassadors (alumni), bringing the exercise to life.

On site at the Hackney Pirates, a social enterprise founded by a Teach First alumna that engages the local community in helping young people develop literacy, confidence, and perseverance, attendees discussed funding challenges and opportunities in the social innovation sector. Also explored was the importance of incorporating a commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion into the design of their support strategies, and of continuing to develop and strengthen their relationships with alumni entrepreneurs.  

A visit to the Teach First Innovation Booster offered the opportunity for the group to experience one of the ways that Teach First delivers support to social entrepreneurs—an annual one-day event where approximately 200 emerging education sector entrepreneurs take part in dozens of workshops and one-on-one clinics with experts.

At the close of the event, attendees reflected on their time together, the work and planning that lay ahead, and the collective value in continuing to support each other and share knowledge and resources among the group.

“I know now the journey of a social entrepreneur, what must be done first and later,” reflected Natali Nasibyan, Teach For Armenia’s Alumni Coordinator. “I now have a vision for the work in Armenia, priority action plans, and next steps.”

“I’m leaving this event feeling enthused and with lots of ideas for how we can support our fellows to become true problem-solvers,” shared Emily Cook, Director of Partnership Development & Alumni Impact at Teach For Bangladesh.

In sharing their wisdom and experience with attendees, staff members of host partner Teach First, who have been pioneering support for alumni social innovators for five years, gained insights and inspiration as well. “After this event it is my priority to review our Diversity, Equality & Inclusion strategy for entrepreneurs in the social innovation pathway,” said Catarina Gomes, Senior Officer of Innovation Relationships at Teach First. “I’ll also continue to use the eco-system map which we developed to build our relationships and support for alumni more strategically.”

For highlights and photos from the event, visit Storify....

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