Kicking off the event, the RSA (The Royal Society for Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce) explained their Living Change Approach. This enables the organisation to “effectively support social innovators around the world to understand the challenges of our time and identify the actions needed to create lasting change.” If that sounds up your street, then you can get involved with their #RSAChange campaign on Twitter. This approach underpins all of the RSA’s work with their Impact Programmes, which deal with the sectors of ecology, employment and democracy, to name only a few of their current projects.
The first speaker was Anj Handa, who is the founder of Inspiring Women Changemakers. Launched in 2017, the business is focused on gender equality under the terms of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. IWC executes their mission through mentoring, giving talks, offering volunteering/development opportunities, and by offering free and subsidised workshop spaces to young people and women who are experiencing hardship or harm.
Also speaking at the event was Deepthi Welaratna, who is based in California. She runs Thicket Creative Agency, which offers a wide range of services including communication, education, research, and design. This is all with the aim of cultivating lasting cultural change. She is also the driving force behind The Courage California Voter Guide, which is a community-driven resource that compiles information that allows Californians to make informed decisions about the races on their ballot, based on their values.
Both women discussed the points at which their businesses intersect, despite operating in different parts of the world and focusing on distinct missions. They emphasised the core values of their organizations, which were kindness, community and connection. Also highlighted were the importances of creating open and safe spaces where people feel valued and serving people’s needs depending on their different abilities to promote equity.
Through the channel of the RSA, attendees and speakers were able to discuss their visions for compassionate social businesses and shared aspirations of a future in which these are the norm.