I went to Sweden and got to know 14 countries

Lena Reschke has been a very valued part of the SE Forum team over the last few months, as a Program Assistant for the SE Outreach Accelerator. She made it run smoothly and made it the success it’s been – filled with inspiring study visits, action-packed workshops, and good times. Here she shares her thoughts on the past months and her time in Sweden.

Yes, you read the heading correctly – over the past seven months I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, working and becoming friends with amazing people from 14 different countries. In March, I got on the train from Kiel in Northern Germany to Stockholm. I knew I was going to be a Program Assistant at Social Entrepreneurship Forum, but I didn’t know what my experience in Sweden would be like.

As a student of the Masters program ‘Sustainability, Society and the Environment’ at Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel, I deliberately chose an internship in social entrepreneurship as well as the destination Stockholm. Sweden is known as a pioneer for sustainable development and Stockholm is famous for innovation, so it seemed like a perfect fit with my studies. But I hadn’t realized how international my experience would be.
A cultural mix of people
It started with my day-to-day life at work. The team at SE Forum is small but mixed with different cultural backgrounds. Might be the secret formula for their phenomenal teamwork, which acknowledges and supports each other’s work? I love their hands-on mentality as well as the weekly reflections on Fridays to celebrate successes of the week. Furthermore, I will always remember the walking-meetings with my colleague Fiona and the surprising face of my French friend when I told him how refreshing it is to have meetings while walking!

Apart [...]

October 11th, 2017|News|0 Comments|

Applications for GATHER Fellowship open until 15 November

We are thrilled to announce that we will be working in partnership with Seeds of Peace on the 2017-2018 GATHER Fellowship. The program will be looking to answer the question: How do we move beyond superficial diversity to leverage our differences and build thriving, equitable communities across lines of conflict?

Social entrepreneurs and social influencers addressing this question will be able to apply until 15 November 2017, and we are looking for those developing innovative solutions to create change.

Accepted Fellows will be invited to the GATHER Fellowship Incubator that SE Forum will host in Stockholm (March 2018), and have access to the GATHER Symposium in New York (May 2018), and the GATHER Summit in the Fall of 2018.

Fellows will be provided with personalized support to advance their work, tools to hone their professional skill-set, entry into a worldwide leadership network, and access to a pool of funds to expand their impact.

To find out more and to apply, please follow this link.

October 6th, 2017|News|0 Comments|

Baltic collaboration with social innovation learnings

To grow social entrepreneurship in the Baltic region and to strengthen the role of municipalities supporting social entrepreneurship initiatives, SE Forum is collaborating with partners from Latvia and Belarus to explore the field and share learnings from our different parts of the Baltic region.

Municipalities can play an important role as partners and supporters to social entrepreneurs, helping them function and grow. The aim with this international collaboration is therefore to look further at the role municipalities can play in order to identify common issues and opportunities, offering learnings and tips to succeed.
A Stockholm study trip
We had the pleasure of hosting delegations from both Belarus and Latvia in September, giving us all the opportunity to discuss how municipalities and social entrepreneurs can work together. Our guests were from ministry offices and municipalities as well as social entrepreneurship support organizations – each with different insights and challenges. We spent two days in Stockholm where we met and discussed with representatives from Vinnova, Inkludera Invest, Stockholm Stad and Botkyrka Kommun as well as SKL.

A highlight for many was visiting social enterprise Basta!, exploring innovative solutions to drug and alcohol abuse rehabilitation. As part of this project we’ve also had the opportunity to meet with Swedish social enterprise Ung Omsorg, working to offer young people work experience in care homes for older people. Both organizations are fascinating examples of great partnerships between municipalities and social enterprises and we will share further learnings from them and all our visits during the winter here on our website and through our social channels.

 

 

 

This activity has been produced with the financial support from the Nordic Council of Ministers. The content of this activity is the sole responsibility of the partner [...]

October 5th, 2017|News|0 Comments|

A month of action, reflection and future thinking

Wow, what a month! We’ve had delegations from Latvia and Belarus here to examine social innovation in Sweden, and we’ve also welcomed a group of young leaders from South Asia to discuss social entrepreneurship and how we see positive change happening in the world. Lastly, and certainly most intense, has been the final part of our 2017 SE Outreach Accelerator for social entrepreneurs, ending with an exclusive graduation event at KTH and Dome of Visions on 28 September.

Six months is a long time. However, I’m not sure our participants in the SE Outreach Accelerator (read more about the program here) had that feeling when graduating last week. After spending so much time together, sharing tough challenges and successful moments it was strange to see them leave Sweden for their home countries, but we will continue to follow their developments (make sure you do too on our social media channels!).

The graduation event was a great success including guests such as Ambassadors from several of the participants’ countries, CEOs, passionate advocates of social entrepreneurship, NGO leaders, and friends of SE Forum such as members, trainers and mentors. After a great pitching session and Q&A of the participants, the evening ended with an inspirational conversation with Jakob Trollbäck, the creator of the famous icons for UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, giving great insight to the thinking behind them and what they enable. The audience couldn’t have enough!
International visits
In the beginning of the month, the visit from Belarusian and Latvian delegations was an opportunity to learn from each other and discuss how municipalities and social entrepreneurs can work together. A great mix of people from ministerial levels to municipalities, social entrepreneurs as well as support organizations. Two [...]

Celebrating SE Outreach entrepreneurs and the SDGs

Thursday night saw the culmination of six months of hard work, new learnings and new friendships. Our SE Outreach Accelerator participants have spent the last few weeks in Stockholm developing their social businesses with the help of our trainers and mentors, as well as the support from each other. We have seen big changes in business models combined with inspiring passion to use business to change communities and the world.

The graduation event took place at Stockholm’s Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (KTH) and the inspiring and stunning venue Dome of Visions with our guest speaker Jakob Trollbäck sharing insights behind designing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This led to interesting discussions on how to use good business to achieve the goals and we very much enjoyed the guests’ passion for these issues.
Real issues, real solutions
Sharing real examples of using business to do good is one of SE Forum’s key aims and we love seeing them live. Hearing from the entrepreneurs graduating from the SE Outreach Accelerator at the event didn’t just make us feel proud, but also empowered and inspired, by business that does good.

Destiny Frederick of EcoFuture using innovative waste management solutions to solve an environmental crisis in Nigeria. Habiba Ali of Sosai addressing health issues and deforestation through renewable energy products for households in African communities. Jennifer Menegazzo of Korbata selling fashion products created by Mayan artisans, supporting a fairer fashion industry. Maria Mushtaq of Health Connect using technology to respond to the lack of efficient healthcare solutions in Pakistan. Nina Othman of Grow the Goose empowering Malaysian children through financial wisdom. Samuel Malinga of Sanitation Africa providing toilets, sanitation and dignity to Ugandan slums. Tendekayi Katsiga of Deaftronics offering affordable solar-powered hearing [...]

September 29th, 2017|Events, News|0 Comments|

In the name of good business and the SDGs

September is when Sweden is back at work at full tilt after the summer break. The focus is intense and I like the anticipation of opportunities and ideas it brings. The same goes for us at SE Forum where our focus currently is on the final part of the SE Outreach Accelerator program. When I write this, we’re only a few days away from the return of the eight entrepreneurs and we’re excited to support them here in Stockholm and see them take the next steps on their entrepreneurial journeys.

However, these entrepreneurs are not the only visitors we have this month as we are also welcoming a delegation from Latvia and one from Belarus. They are here on a study visit to explore how social entrepreneurs and municipalities can work together in good partnerships. Exciting. And I bet we will learn a lot through the discussions as we have a lot to learn in Sweden.

Together with our guests, we will visit Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova, and the social enterprise Basta! We will also hear presentations from municipalities and other organizations working in the social entrepreneurship eco-system. Follow our updates on social media and our website to find out more!

I also must mention a conference I was invited to in Denmark, called Unleash. A fascinating event where 1,000 international talents (young people working with positive change in various capacity) were invited to take part in the lab / idea generation /conference. In eight days they developed ideas that supported UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and could be turned into businesses, with me and a bunch of other mentors gladly engaging in giving feedback to the talents.

A very ambitious project headed by Carlsberg Foundation plus a range [...]

An accelerator of entrepreneurship, opportunity and impact

SE Forum’s six-month flagship accelerator program is designed to help high-impact entrepreneurs create the change they want to see in the world. Our ambition is for our program participants to build resilient businesses that create far-reaching, societal impact – shifting mindsets and changing lives across the world. To achieve this ambition, a dedicated team of program staff, trainers, volunteers and mentors work together to provide a supportive environment for visionary entrepreneurs to explore how to scale their impact.

Out of 900 applicants, this year’s eight selected entrepreneurs are from Uganda, Malaysia, Kenya, Pakistan, Botswana, Guatemala and Nigeria. Each of them is solving a social challenge that they care so deeply about, that they have dedicated their careers and lives to addressing it.

We bring together these eight individuals with different professional experiences, addressing different challenges, across different sectors with different business models because we believe it’s through the culmination of these different experiences that the shift happens. Amongst all these differences, their ambition and dedication to create a better world unites them. Away from the daily operations of their respective businesses they can see the bigger social entrepreneurial movement that they are part of and they can start to look at their businesses… differently. It is here, in this program, they are given the space to explore the true magnitude of the impact their activities can have on society.
Opportunity assessment, taking action, and customised support
Through the guidance of trainers and mentors, the first section of the accelerator program challenges the entrepreneurs to spend three weeks thinking strategically about their businesses and the impact they can create. Far away from daily operations, they grapple with the tough questions; am I staying true to the original vision? [...]

September 1st, 2017|News|0 Comments|

Internal work, the Queen and a week of politics

The Swedish summer is now finally here and SE Forum will take two weeks off. The focus this past month has therefore been on setting us up for success after the holidays. We’ve for example welcomed our newest team member Tove Nordström (who you can read more about here), worked on building a true dream team and setting up new prospects for both national and international projects moving forward.

You can’t write these letters without mentioning the participants in our SE Outreach Accelerator program. They’ve been busy delivering on their goals and you can read about their progress on our blog. We can also  share updates from other program alumni, for example Towett who’s been honoured by the Queen of England. His work fighting counterfeit medicines and health products in pharmacies and stores has gone from strength to strength. It’s truly important work and shows the power of understanding issues in your country and community when developing solutions.

The month also included a trip to Amsterdam where we met with organisations like Kennisland who works to increase collaboration between the civic sector, business and government around social innovation. We then visited Almedalen (a week dedicated to politics on Sweden’s largest island). There I participated in a panel discussion focusing on how we can foster and enhance collaboration between sectors to solve some of our toughest challenges. For our Swedish readers I’ve written a separate piece about Almedalen which you can find here.

After a busy first six months of the year I look forward to some well-deserved rest and I’m proud of what the SE Forum team has delivered so far in 2017. It bounds well for the rest of the year!

Happy holidays,

Nick

  • Tove Nordström Communications Lead SE Forum
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    SE Forum welcomes Communications and Coordination Lead to the team

SE Forum welcomes Communications and Coordination Lead to the team

A new job means new people, new opportunities, new challenges. In my case it also means new country and new city. Although, not entirely new as I was born in Stockholm, but after growing up in Umeå in the north of Sweden and living 13 years in London, UK, it feels new. In a good way.

I’ve recently joined SE Forum as the Communications and Coordination Lead and I’m very excited to join a brilliant team of people passionate about entrepreneurship and making a difference in the world. The entrepreneurs we work with are all driven by one main goal – to use their business to do good. And in a world with huge issues such as climate change, inequality, and fear, it is obvious that these people are needed.

Social entrepreneurship is a business approach that’s growing, as charities are struggling just relying on donations, and businesses are pressurised to consider social and environmental impact as well as just financial profit. Social entrepreneurship is found somewhere in between and I personally see it as an increasingly interesting space to be in. I’m thrilled to join SE Forum at such an exciting time, and as a new Stockholm resident I feel privileged to work in the creative and inspiring space at Norrsken House amongst like-minded and passionate people.

As mentioned in the beginning, a new job always means new challenges but I’m adamant to see them as opportunities. As a new member of the team, I am able to question the status quo and ensure we’re considering who we are, who we want to be, and how best we can support and grow social entrepreneurship in Sweden and beyond. Empowering and promoting entrepreneurship as a force for [...]

July 5th, 2017|News|0 Comments|

Sociala entreprenörer driver hållbar utveckling

Sociala entreprenörer är bland de bästa på att driva utvecklingen inom de globala hållbarhetsmålen, visar en ny rapport. Trots det bemöts sociala entreprenörer med misstänksamhet och tvivel i Sverige. Entreprenörer med en social agenda måste få bättre förutsättningar så att deras engagemang och kunskap kan komma världen till del, skriver Nicklas Wallberg, vd för Social Entrepreneurship Forum, och Emelie Ekblad, vd för Dessaga.

FN:s 2030 mål för hållbar utveckling är satta. Tiden går, men framstegen är otillräckliga, visar en ny rapport från SustainAbility. Den visar också att de aktörer som vi har satt vår tilltro att driva utvecklingen framåt – institutioner, storföretag, myndigheter och politiker– inte lever upp till förväntningarna. Istället axlar ideella organisationer och sociala entreprenörer ansvaret.

För att Sverige inte ska tappa fart måste den svenska regeringen skapa rätt förutsättningar för sociala entreprenörer så deras lösningar kan spridas i samhället. Det räcker inte att använda samma mall för sociala entreprenörer som för traditionella företag när det gäller stödstrukturer.

Förutsättningarna för att skapa ett effektivt ekosystem för sociala entreprenörer ser olika ut i olika länder. Men det finns likartade utmaningar världen över.

SE Forum är en internationell organisation med syfte att marknadsföra, inspirera och möjliggöra socialt entreprenörskap. Vi är representerade i över 20 länder och gemensamt för de länder vi är verksamma i är att själva infrastrukturen för företagandet måste ses över för att mer effektivt kunna driva hållbarhetsarbete långsiktigt.

I vårt internationella arbete har vi identifierat tre centrala områden där vi behöver få till stånd en förändring. Behoven finns i högsta grad även i Sverige.

Områdena är:

Långsiktiga stödsystem: Nuvarande stödsystem är utvecklade för traditionella företag. Även om statliga institutioner sitter på bred erfarenhet är det en annan erfarenhet än vad som krävs för att utveckla socialt entreprenörskap. Vi har [...]

June 8th, 2017|News|0 Comments|