February was filled with discussions and preparations (and lots of snow!)
February has been an intense month for us. Usually the start of the year can have less of an urgency attached to it, but this year it’s been different. We’ve looked at the Swedish ecosystem for social entrepreneurs and next week we’ll kick off a partnership we’ve been working on for a long time with the leading American non-profit Seeds of Peace and its GATHER Fellowship initiative, accelerating innovative solutions to transform conflict.
The Fellowship will kick off with a week-long incubator here in Stockholm and Sigtuna. The amazing fellows (read about them here) will be trained by international experts in social entrepreneurship, leadership and conflict transformation. They will meet and discuss with leading Swedish parliamentarians and they will visit Swedish initiatives, such as Fryshuset’s Lugna Gatan. In addition, they’ll be assigned top-class mentors and pitch in front of an exclusive crowd at Europe’s biggest hub for impact tech, Norrsken House. Sharing the stage with the fellows is the former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Jan Eliasson, who will be mingling with the fellows ahead of the event. Not a bad start of the year and we’re excited to finally meet these fellows in person after interviewing, talking to and preparing for their arrival. And it’s not just us who are excited about it, here‘s what an online social entrepreneurship magazine has to say about it.
The GATHER Fellowship brings a lot of what we are passionate about; entrepreneurship, purpose, collaboration and a cross-sectoral approach where we unite towards a greater goal and where we see business as a driving force to do good.
Systemic change on its way in Sweden?
But what is happening in Sweden? Well, we have high hopes for a new strategy released by the government in the beginning of February. They want to strengthen the ecosystem for social entrepreneurship and innovation, or, create a systematic change as they describe it. This is the first time the government is talking about the field as one and perhaps that’s the most exciting step here. The money attached to it, 150 million SEK over three years, is of course welcome and important, but will it be enough to create systematic change? Even so, at SE Forum we want to use this momentum to push the field forward and involve more sectors to create the strongest ecosystem for positive social impact in the world.
That’s why we, together with sister organisations in Latvia and Belarus, produced an analytical review of the relationship between social entrepreneurs and municipalities. It looks at case studies from the three countries, country overviews and recommendations to take partnerships between social entrepreneurs and municipalities to the next level. We will continue to push the need for greater collaboration where the end goal of the social good is shared and the way there is being developed in a more collaborative approach.
Until next time,