Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I'm just coming down from the Davos experience: it was incredible. For a social entrepreneur like me, the opportunity to attend the World Economic Forum is a rare opportunity. The founder of the WEF, Klaus Schwab (and his lovely wife, Hilde), underwrites our participation to encourage business and government leaders to engage with social leaders in solving the world's problems.

And, they do engage, with enthusiasm. Outside the normal power structure of the corporation (or government), these leaders are interested and clearly stimulated by talking directly with other attendees about these issues. The interactions are at a peer level, without the normal screening that typically protects these leaders.

I can't begin to list the fistfuls of great conversations I had in my week in Switzerland. I talked to high tech corporate leaders, the heads of foundations, education ministers of different countries, several billionaires, major religious leaders, nonprofit (NGO in international parlance) leaders, the media, technology experts and other social entrepreneurs.

People sometimes ask me how much money I raised for my nonprofit by going to Davos. But, going there made it clear that's not the right question. The social entrepreneurs aren't there to beg for money. We're there to engage with other action-oriented people on important issues that face society (and yes, business). If we come up with great ideas and projects as a result, the money will follow.

I came away from Davos with at least as many ideas as I brought there, and that has enriched me personally as well as Benetech!

BBC News Coverage on Social Entrepreneurs and Activists in Davos.

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