08-02-2024 11:45

Promoting innovation for life impact

In Sweden we have for several years run a special innovation contest to put spotlight on entrepreneurs that make a real difference in people's lives. The concept has since expanded to Denmark and Finland and application is now open for 2024.
Amputee athlete tying his shoe

In 2019 Nordea created the Funkoprenör of the Year award in Sweden, which is given to entrepreneurs or companies that include an ability variation perspective in their business concept. Last year Denmark followed suit with the Handiprenør of the Year award and Finland has just launched their first Vuoden erityinen yrittäjä award. 

Åsa Nilsson Billme, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Nordea.

“Innovation and creativity are required if want more inclusive workplaces and societies, and at Nordea we see growth potential in business ideas that use an ability variation as their starting point, says Åsa Nilsson Billme, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Nordea.

Strong winner concepts 

When looking at the strong finalists and winners in last year’s Swedish and Danish contests, it also becomes clear that inclusive ideas can have a huge impact on people’s lives.          

Last year’s Swedish winner TorTalk has since 2013 been developing speech synthesis software for computers and telephones. This allows dyslexics to read as well or better than average. On the computer, it can be used with all programmes and documents, for example when preparing meetings, reading instructions or going through e-mails. 

TorTalk wants to help create a better work environment that supports employees and students with reading difficulties, and the ambition is to increase efficiency in businesses for employees as well as  companies.

Lasts year’s Danish winner, Lasse W. Madsen and his company Levitate, believes that everyone should be able to afford a prosthetic leg. This idea has given both himself and leg amputees all over the world the possibility to live a more active life and enjoy a brighter future. His ambition is been to democratise the prosthesis industry, so that all leg amputees have the opportunity to get a tailor-made prosthesis at an affordable price. 

Today Levitate exports to more than 20 countries and is making a big difference for para athletes and former soldiers.  

Why a special award?

Nordea supports the Nordic startup environment and has for a number of years worked actively for increased diversity and inclusion, both at the workplace and in the rest of society. It’s therefore a natural step for us to combine these two important areas by giving extra attention to startups with extra focus on inclusion and diversity in their ideas and concepts.

Read more about the winners

Diversity & inclusion