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,


  • 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|

A Year in Review – 2016

Are you curious to read about our activities and social impact from 2016? Then we have good news, because we now have our Year in Review-report available online!

Read about the entrepreneurs from the SE Outreach Accelerator 2016, Bootcamp and Training of Trainers program in Palestine, also STHLM TECH Fest, Almedalen, Social Innovation Summit and so much more.

Click here to download SE Forum’s Year in Review 2016.

Sun shine, program preparation and reported impact

Finally the spring has come to Sweden! Even though I’ve always said that the weather doesn’t really affect me, I now must correct myself. I seem to get an incredible energy boost out of this extra sun shine.

In SE Forum land we’ve been focusing on internal work, writing our report to Sida outlining the activities we’ve delivered and the impact they’ve had. In the coming months we’ll share parts of the outcomes in a more accessible format on our social media. The results were also the reason why we decided to put on an event at our new office, Norrsken House, celebrating social entrepreneurship. We simply had results we wanted to share with the wider community. From what we first thought would be a small and closed event turned out to be a sold out 70+ guest gathering. It was a lot of fun and from the conversations we had afterwards we think it gave an energy boost to the guests as well as us.

At the event we promised to send out a quick survey where you can have your say on the Swedish social entrepreneurship sector. Interested? Please click here to take the survey.

At the same day as the event we also held our annual meeting where a new board was elected. It’s a really interesting mix of experience and expertise so I’m excited for the year to come! You can read all the bios on the website, but in short we have people from the corporate sphere, the NGO-world, academia and of course the entrepreneurial sector. There’s also a mix of competences with members having backgrounds in finance, fundraising, business development, leadership and community building.

I have to finish with the preparation for [...]

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    Collecting bottles in Nairobi and coding in Dar es Salaam – seeing our impact first-hand

Collecting bottles in Nairobi and coding in Dar es Salaam – seeing our impact first-hand

Sometimes you feel blessed doing the work we do. This was certainly the case last month. A trip to Kenya and Tanzania enabled us to see first-hand the impact of our social entrepreneurship programs. In February we’ve also run programs in Nairobi and taken a look at the social entrepreneurship sector in the Ukraine, presenting at a 400 people strong conference with the theme, “Social Innovations: New Solutions to Old Problems”.

Let us start with the trip to Nairobi, Kenya. One of the first things that happened to me when arriving in Nairobi was on the journey to the hotel. On the highway, seemingly from nowhere, a Zebra crossed the road. For you who have spent time in or lived in Nairobi that might not seem like much, but for a person who’s grown up with Moose or deer crossing the road, a Zebra was one of the last things I expected. It did set the tone for the trip, however, constantly being ready for surprises and my curiosity on high alert.

Instead of going into details of all the visits I did, I would like to share some overarching themes I noticed. Firstly, we saw once again the importance of belonging to a network of friends or like-minded people. A year after the SE Social Business Bootcamp (formerly known as the Mini-accelerator) the participating social entrepreneurs still have regular contact through their Whatsapp group. They share tips, opportunities, wins and losses. To have peers who understand and value the work you do is important, especially when you as the founder often are alone in your daily work and decision making.

We also saw that when you come up against difficult decisions or challenges it can be [...]

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    A whirlwind of travels, programs and the launch of 2017’s SE Outreach Accelerator participants

A whirlwind of travels, programs and the launch of 2017’s SE Outreach Accelerator participants

In my professional life, I’ve always heard that January and February are quiet months. That doesn’t seem to apply to 2017. We are announcing 2017’s participants in the SE Outreach Accelerator program, running business development programs in Kenya and talking Social Entrepreneurship in Kiev and Malmö.

I’m very proud to announce, from a pool of 900 applicants, the eight participants that have been selected for the SE Outreach Accelerator program. There’s an exciting mix of backgrounds, industries and experiences which you can read more about below. I also want to take the opportunity to say a big thank you to the external team who’s been part of this big effort that is the selection process. For us it’s important to involve industry experts to form a wider and more rounded view of the applicants. We couldn’t have done it without you, so thank you!

Equally exciting is the launch of our SE Training of Trainers and Social Business Bootcamp we’re running in Nairobi together with Hand in Hand Eastern Africa and Multimedia University of Kenya. We’ll keep you updated on the progress via our social media channels so please stay tuned there.

Talking social entrepreneurship

We’re continuing to spread the concept of social entrepreneurship, its potential and what the sector needs in order to thrive. In Malmö we presented at Enodo’s initiative “Connecting scientists to the challenges of the Global Goals”. The focus was on how researchers and academia can get closer to and contribute to the work of NGO’s and social entrepreneurs with their research. We saw fascinating initiatives and I urge you to check out Enodo’s website for more information about the work they do.

I’m also gearing up for a conference in Kiev, Ukraine, where social entrepreneurship [...]