Shaping the Next Economy

Calgary's Soul of the Next Economy Forum on Oct. 3-4 is the next step in the local transition conversation

Soul of the Next Economy Forum 2014

What do we want our next economy to look like? How do we want businesses to operate? What models can be created that have a profit motive, and share similar goals to non-profits? How do we do development in a sustainable way?

These are some of the themes behind the upcoming Soul of the Next Economy Forum 2014 in Calgary.

More than 300 business leaders, students and organizations are expected to convene at Ambrose University College for the Oct. 3-4 forum, says the event’s co-chair and head of Ambrose University College’s business program Randy Poon.

Dr. Randy Poon

Dr. Randy Poon

“The key for us is saying what can we do differently, and to bring like-minded people in,” Randy says.

The event follows several related gatherings in Calgary, such as the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) hosted by TRICO Charitable Foundation last year.

“A number of us wanted to build on (SEWF), and say: ‘What can we do in the city?’ In many ways it’s not us doing it — it’s us linking arms with everybody else that’s already doing it in the city.”The Next-Gen Corporate Social Responsibility and Shared Value Forum, which took place in Calgary on Feb. 13, 2014, is also on Randy’s list. It saw more than 550 attendees representing over 200 companies. Questions that arose included how to implement a shared value model — an approach to doing business that includes advancing economic and social conditions in the communities in which a company operates.

“It’s still a difficult thing when you have a board of governors or shareholders who still feel that shareholder wealth maximization is the primary focus of companies,” Randy notes, adding he hopes those who attend Soul of the Next Economy from the corporate community will discover how to practically take the next step in implementing corporate social responsibility and shared value.

“A number of us wanted to build on the Social Enterprise World Forum, and say: ‘What can we do in the city?’” — Randy Poon

The Soul of the Next Economy Forum also continues and expands upon the Calgary Microcredit Conference (CMC), which was founded by the Rotary Action Group for Microcredit (RAGM) and Rotary District 5360 Microfinance Committee in 2009. In addition to CMC and Ambrose University, event collaborators include The Fig Tree Charitable Foundation and the Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative.

This is an event of interest to social entrepreneurs, students, the academic community, charities, foundations, non-profits, service organizations, non-governmental organizations, corporate social responsibility representatives and people interested in related topics.

Peggie Pelosi, founder and CEO of ORENDA Connections, will open the forum with an Oct. 3 keynote presentation on corporate social responsibility, and how companies can move forward in the next economy by giving back. The keynote will be followed by a panel discussion with Calgary business leaders.

Wayne Dunn, founder of CSR Training Institute and a McGill University professor, will present the Oct. 4 keynote on social enterprise as a form of corporate social responsibility.

The event will include a variety of workshops and sessions on sustainable development, corporate social responsibility and social enterprise.

Randy says the hope is the forum will become an annual event.

“This is just the beginning for us,” he says.

To register or learn more, visit the Soul of the Next Economy Forum 2014 website.

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