An audience of more than 180 attended Engineers Without Borders New Zealand (EWBNZ)'s annual humanitarian engineering conference – 'Elevate' – last Saturday.
The Beca-sponsored event brings together industry leaders, engineer and other professionals, students and the public who are passionate about social development and change. This year's theme – 'The Business of Development', explored the role of corporations, social enterprises, and individuals in the development sector and making the world a better place.
Inspiring speakers brought their experience and expertise to provide fresh ideas and an elevated understanding of humanitarian engineering and the business of development:
Social entrepreneur, Nic Frances from Cool nrg, explored the purpose behind an organisation – beyond just making money. "With a market economy fixated on profit, you need to deliver in that space" said Nic. "Charity can never deliver a just and sustainable world. It is only through a value-centered market economy that we will ever see real social change."
Alex Hannant from the Ᾱkina Foundation discussed 'social enterprise' and the growing momentum in social enterprise worldwide. "Social enterprises provide us with new opportunities to tackle social and environmental challenges in different ways" said Alex. "They seek to employ the innovation, scale and financial sustainability of an effective business model but do so to maximise social change – prioritising returns for stakeholders over shareholders."
Jen Johnstone, a civil engineer from our Christchurch office presented on the role of pro-bono engineering in a development context. A passionate advocate for international development, Jen has been actively involved with EWB for the last five years. Read about her experiences here.
Guy Ryan from the Inspiring Stories Trust talked about the potential for young New Zealanders to change the world, and how there are young people in New Zealand doing this right now. "The challenges of our time are increasingly confronting as a young person setting out" said Guy. "Not enough energy is going into tackling these challenges, and young people are going to grow up seeing the effects. Through the Inspiring Stories Trust, we support young social entrepreneurs to grow their ideas to make a difference for their communities and beyond."
About Engineers Without Borders
Engineers Without Borders is a non-profit organisation that aims to connect, educate and empower people through humanitarian engineering. Humanitarian engineering uses a people-centred, strength-based approach to improve community health, wellbeing and opportunity.
Want to know more?
Visit the Engineers Without Borders website for more information about the work they do, and how you can be involved. Beca is a key corporate partner of Engineers Without Borders New Zealand. Through our partnership and active volunteers providing pro-bono engineering assistance, we aim to work together to help transform and empower communities in need.