• Nicklas Wallberg SE Forum
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    Creating an efficient ecosystem for social entrepreneurship in Sweden

Creating an efficient ecosystem for social entrepreneurship in Sweden

Social entrepreneurs can find advice and support from many sectors and individuals, but how do you know what’s right for you? And how do the sectors ensure they provide the best support? Our Executive Director Nicklas Wallberg joined a panel of different players within the Swedish social entrepreneurship sector to discuss and explore how we can create an efficient ecosystem for social entrepreneurship in Sweden.

The panel discussion was hosted by Johanna Giorgi at the Swedish government agency for business growth, Tillväxtverket, and it was based on a newly launched report developed by Sweco. Nicklas was joined by Emma Lindgren from Ashoka Scandinavia and government advisor Emelie Schröder. We also heard from inspiring social entrepreneurs Admir Lukacevic (Idrott utan gränser) and Lina Lagerbäck (We Unite Design).

Key points made during the event considered networks, and the importance of being part of something bigger. The social entrepreneurs mentioned issues around public sector business support organisations not understanding social entrepreneurship, and the importance of being able to generate income from various sources, partners and customers. They highlighted having benefitted from having had the opportunity to learn from others. From those who are also struggling but who are passionate about what they do. Providing these meaningful opportunities is therefore needed from the sector.
Building networks and ecosystems
Nicklas argued that the networks should be part of a bigger ecosystem that is less fragmented than it currently is in Sweden, and that we should be looking at long-term investment to create long-term change. There are a lot of players within various sectors that are already doing great work to support social entrepreneurship but he stressed the need for collaborations to ensure streamlined and efficient work. Emma also highlighted the importance [...]

November 24th, 2017|News|0 Comments|
  • Smart Energy Challenge
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    Exploring energy challenges and solutions with Swedish Institute

Exploring energy challenges and solutions with Swedish Institute

The SE Forum team was asked by its friends at Swedish Institute to join them in hosting 17 winners of the Smart Energy Challenge for two days in Stockholm. We were of course happy to and have enjoyed exploring smart energy and practising how to pitch your idea.

The Swedish Institute’s Smart Energy Challenge targets its wide alumni and student network and asks for ideas or solutions that can make an impact on a local or global problem related to sustainable energy. This year 17 people from almost as many countries have been successful and were invited to Stockholm last week.

On the topic of sustainable energy, we had the pleasure of hearing from Swedish energy business Watty, helping to fix the climate by allowing people to know more about the energy they use in their homes. We also visited Solvatten, providing rural areas in developing countries with innovative solutions to clean water through solar power.
Making the most of your idea
The Smart Energy Challenge winners have all got great ambitions and ideas to make the world better by implementing better and more sustainable energy solutions. What SE Forum was able to help with was how to communicate and pitch the idea to make it a reality. Our Programme Director Fiona Hazell delivered pitch training with top tips such as making sure you know what you want to say and how to say it. The participants practised their pitches and at the end of the two days, presented truly inspiring pitches at Swedish Institute’s offices in Stockholm’s Old Town.

Ideas showing how we can use the energy we produce whilst doing exercise in the gym, or how we could encourage energy efficiency and environmentally-friendly behaviour through [...]

November 20th, 2017|News|0 Comments|

October – a humbling and exciting experience

This month has focused on the understanding of the context of the sector we operate in and preparing for things to come. We’ve travelled to Malaysia, visited social entrepreneurs, researched the Swedish sector and had visitors from afar places like Mexico.

In Malaysia, our colleague Fiona presented our work and how entrepreneurs are making a difference in their communities via their business models. While in Malaysia, we also made sure to visit Anja (who went through the 2016 SE Outreach Accelerator) and Nina who just graduated in September this year. Nothing beats seeing first-hand the difference the entrepreneurs’ businesses are making.
The Swedish eco-system
Back at home we’ve been looking at the Swedish eco-system for social entrepreneurs, preparing for a report due at the end of the year. We’ve examined the relationship between social entrepreneurs and municipalities, how they are currently working with each other and how this relationship can evolve, creating a win-win situation for the two parties and the community. Important for this work is our position on the Advisory Board of Fryshuset’s Institute of Social Effects. It’s a good platform where players from all sectors meet to look at how cross-sectoral collaborations can benefit communities.

In conjunction with this work I’ve participated in the research for Tillväxtverket’s new report on the Swedish eco-system for social innovation. This report will be released at the Social Innovation Summit 14-15 November in Malmö. If you can’t make it you’ll get another chance at an event on 23 November in Stockholm where SE Forum will participate in the panel. I’m excited to read their thoughts and especially interested in understanding recommendations and next steps. We will share our thoughts and hope for a systematic approach where we [...]

Accelerating towards decent sanitation for all

Being one of the eight social entrepreneurs selected out of 900 applicants to attend SE Forum’s SE Outreach Accelerator in Stockholm came with a lot of excitement. But it also came with a worry about what would happen to my business if I was out of operations for the duration of the program.

I’m glad to say that I had nothing to worry about. When arriving in Stockholm, the lead trainer echoed that it is normal to worry but she emphasised the importance of building a strong team with processes that work efficiently in the absence of a founder. The training helped us overcome such worries and run our social enterprises sustainably, and today, after some re-structuring, I have managed to develop robust processes and the right team.

Taking part in the SE Outreach Accelerator has given me a lot of new insights, but it has also shown light on the great work we are already doing at Sanitation Africa. For example, we are constantly seeking feedback from our customers about our products and services that informs our research team on modification and future needs of customers. The aspect of social impact measurement is now well received in the six schools where we have constructed SmartSan toilets. We have piloted a survey to establish how clean sanitation affects pupils’ attendance and performance. And we are also administering quarterly surveys to households using our products/services.
Applying what I’ve learned
In terms of my key learnings from the Accelerator, I would highlight the emotional intelligence and inner sustainability that I’m currently applying in team management and facilitating discussions. The Give/Get Matrix has helped me in picking partners that are helpful in promoting the growth of Sanitation Africa. Meeting [...]

  • Malaysia Fiona
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    Social entrepreneurship in Malaysia: From systemic support to on the ground action

Social entrepreneurship in Malaysia: From systemic support to on the ground action

Our Program Director, Fiona Hazell, often shares her experience and knowledge to inspire and empower entrepreneurs that want to use their business to do good. This time, it was Malaysia’s turn, as she joined MaGIC. Here she shares her thoughts on the growth of a sector and the importance of staying true to your purpose.

Earlier this month, I attended the MaGIC Academy Symposium in Malaysia, a 3-day conference hosted by the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC). MaGIC is an initiative created by the Malaysian Ministry of Finance to stimulate economic growth through entrepreneurship. 

Aspiring to be known as the Silicon Valley of Malaysia, the campus in Cyberjaya boasts state of the art auditoriums, brightly coloured breakaway rooms and a fully-kitted out maker’s lab.

This year’s Symposium theme was ‘Disruptive Entrepreneurship’. With Ideo, Pinterest and Tinder represented amongst the speakers you may think SE Forum was an unlikely organisation to appear in the line up. 

I did too, until I realised that social entrepreneurship is a government priority and somewhat of a national status symbol. Two years ago, seeing the value entrepreneurs can contribute to social and economic growth, the Prime Minister launched the Malaysian Social Enterprise Blueprint 2015-2018, a three-year strategy to exponentially grow the sector from 100 social enterprises in 2015 to 1,000 in 2018. MaGIC was mandated to support the sector through a dedicated social entrepreneurship unit and fund of RM20 million (USD$5.6 million).

As a recent graduate of the SE Forum SE Outreach Accelerator, and member of the MaGIC community, Nina Othman of Grow the Goose, invited SE Forum to share insights from 13 years in the sector.
Embedding impact throughout the value chain
My presentation, “A World of Impact: Successful Social Business [...]

October 26th, 2017|News|0 Comments|

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|