Partnering for Change
This September we gathered social innovators, business and philanthropic leaders, policy makers and researchers to discuss the actions and innovations we need in order to create a more just and sustainable world. What is the missing ingredient to partner across sectors and tackle these converging and cascading crises? What is the role of social entrepreneurs and how can we accelerate their impact to reach Agenda 2030? These and other questions were discussed during thought provoking keynotes, panel discussions and interactive breakouts.
Tackling climate change by empowering local social entrepreneurs
Together with IKEA Foundation, our partner in Ethiopia, we believe that green entrepreneurship has the power to turn environmental challenges into new business opportunities. This year we launched a project to support young people to start and grow green businesses consisting of a bootcamp for 360 university students and an innovation lab for 60 young people with solutions to get coaching and support in developing a sustainable business model.
In Senegal this year together with Kosmos Innovation Center we focused on supporting innovative solutions for climate adaptation and mitigation. We held an Innovation Lab to help youth and women entrepreneurs refine their green concepts and then chose 5 winners to join our climate-focused Incubator and strengthen their solutions.
Expanding our community of social entrepreneurs
We have an exciting addition to our portfolio of incubator participants both in Sweden and in Bulgaria. For us it is not only the inspiration and delight of meeting new social entrepreneurs but also the evidence that bravery and the desire to solve the most pressing issues are becoming the new normal.
Together with our partners from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania we started the pilot project called The Baltic Sea Impact Network - a new transnational network for peer learning between social entrepreneurs from the Baltic Sea region. We are aiming to help 30 network members learn new skills, connect with like-minded peers and increase the access to relevant stakeholders.
Together with the Jacobs Foundation we announced and showcased 10 social entrepreneurs who have the potential to positively influence the education system in Ghana. They joined a customized support program to strengthen their innovative solutions in order to improve educational outcomes for children and youth.
Paving the way for our local thought leaders
This year our country managers shared their invaluable experience on local trends in social entrepreneurship that can be easily applied to a larger scale. Solomon Twum, country manager in Ghana, shared his insights on reducing inequalities using the power of building entrepreneurial mindsets and skills.. Echoing Solomon, our program manager in Bulgaria Stoyana Stoeva gave her perspective on how social enterprises can tackle both poverty and social exclusion. Recently Lemlem Sinkineh, country manager in Ethiopia put forward her opinion on creating a green and equal future through social entrepreneurship with examples from her homeland.
Focusing on the social impact
In our traditional Social Impact Report that we have been publishing annually since 2010 we once again emphasized that our work is a marathon and not a sprint. In our efforts to enhance the ecosystem for social entrepreneurs and to create the optimal conditions for the systemic change we need partners and community, and their belief that we are able to finish every run strong.
Impact for Growth conference in Bulgaria gathered investors, social entrepreneurs, philanthropy leaders and policy makers to answer the most burning questions: What are the financial and non-financial needs of social entrepreneurs? How to assess and accelerate their potential? What are the newest approaches in impact investing and social finance? How to attract more sustainable investments and measure their impact? We are very honored to have this chance to give practical know-how to participants and to provide them with new alliances.
In May together with Erq Maed Radio Show and supported by the Swedish Institute we launched the Voice of Change project - the series of radio interviews with prominent Ethiopian female entrepreneurs who are challenging gender norms and inequalities. Our goal was to shine light on their powerful stories and inspire young girls and women to pursue their dreams and consider becoming entrepreneurs themselves.