SEWF22 Brisbane Participant Spotlight: Finlay MacLennan, Community Land Outer Hebrides

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Four people sitting on stage at a conference, a woman on the right with her hand in the air

It’s not long to go until this year’s Social Enterprise World Forum in Brisbane, and we’re very excited to be heading over there with a delegation of Scottish social enterprise owners and leaders. This year, CEIS via the International Social Enterprise Observatory (ISEO) is supporting Scottish social enterprise representatives to participate in SEWF 22 in-person in Brisbane.

ISEO is a Scottish Government funded project aimed at supporting enterprises who currently trade or have ambitions to trade internationally, to highlight Scotland as a social enterprise destination, increase social enterprise engagement internationally and promote Scotland as a social enterprise leader.

In the lead up to this year’s event in Brisbane, Australia, we wanted to chat to some of those in receipt of bursaries to get a sense of what they are expecting to get from the event.

In this week’s blog we sat down with Finlay MacLennan, the Development Manager from Community Land Outer Hebrides. Community Land Outer Hebrides was formed in 2016 when a number of land trusts on the Outer Hebrides agreed on the concept of a knowledge sharing event to support sometimes lone workers to come together to share best practice.

They are a charity that seeks to support, represent, and celebrate the community land sector in the Outer Hebrides to build the capacity and sustainability of their members. They have 16 member organisations, a mix of which are landowning community trusts and groups. Currently 75% of the population of the Outer Hebrides lives on community owned land and over 60% of the land mass is under community ownership. They aim to support our members development to best meet their community development goals.

Why did you apply for a bursary to attend SEWF 22?

The Social Enterprise World Forum presents a huge opportunity for us to share our experiences, learn from others and develop connections with a wider network of organisations with the same social value concept at the heart of their operations. For us, as an organisation at a relatively early stage of our development, we see SEWF as great opportunity to broaden our thinking and adopt new approaches to support our development and inspire our members with examples of how similar challenges have been addressed by other communities.

The aim of ISEO is to support Scottish organisations who have ambitions to, or currently trade internationally? What are you hoping to achieve from this trip on a personal and organisational level?

The Outer Hebrides has a lot to offer particularly in terms of our rich heritage and natural capital; we are keen to explore avenues to bring this to a wide audience through making connections at the various events around SEWF. I’m attending this year’s a event with particular interest in solutions to rural housing development, effective visitor management and sustainable visitor management practices, as well as looking at ways of reaching Net Zero by making the most of renewable energy opportunities and best practice in the management of our natural capital. Personally, I’m looking forward to exchanging ideas and sharing experiences with likeminded people and making friends from around the globe.

What opportunities are you hoping this will create e.g. in-person business meetings you are able to participate in, new networks etc?

I am excited to meet people from a range of social enterprises from across the world and to develop networks of interest where we can continue to share experiences and best practice by supporting continued development. I’m also looking to promote the Outer Hebrides on the international stage.

What are you most looking forward to?

I have to say I am really looking forward to travelling to Australia – it is going to be an incredible experience. I’m looking forward to seeing social enterprises in practice through the study visits, seeing the variety of social enterprises over the two days and learn from their experiences. And sharing my learning with our members to inspire them to start new initiatives for the benefit of their communities.

We’d like to thank Finlay for taking the time to answer our questions.

Finlay is part of the wider delegation that will be attending this year’s SEWF, coordinated by our Marketing and Events Manager Jo Seagrave. CEO Martin Avila will be part of the group contributing to a panel on climate change, and various other members of the delegation will be contributing to panels throughout the event.

To find out more about the Social Enterprise World Forum, this year’s conference and how you can attend, please visit their website.



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