Hello Nordics - Nordea partnering with Ashoka to improve the lives of people facing exclusion

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18-10-19 14:53 | Society

In 2015 there was a large influx of refugees in the Nordics, 240.000 first time asylum seekers arriving at our borders. We are now facing integration problems across the whole Nordics, non EU-born struggling with lower employment rates, lower school results and higher risk of drop-out as well as a general low inclusion in our societies. Nordic governments has swung into action but they are challenged with budget constraints as well as limited freedom for state led efforts to innovate.

At Nordea we believe that community engagement is key in order for us to take our responsibility and create a positive impact on society. In a program called Hello Nordics Nordea and Ashoka, Ashoka being one of the largest network of social entrepreneurs, will support innovative social entrepreneurs with creative and impactful solutions for tackling integration in the Nordics. Our decision to engage in Hello Nordic and Ashoka is an example how Nordea together with customers and partners enables the transition towards a sustainable future. 

“Our customers, employees and communities are urgently calling for Nordic corporations to take the lead in modelling behaviors that contribute to society and leverage their scale for a greater good. Being the biggest bank in the region we want to actively contribute towards the wellbeing of society at large”, says Nordea Group CEO Casper von Koskull.

The Hello Nordics initiative: 

  • Identifies high potential initiatives and entrepreneurs.
  • Offers mentoring and acceleration programme.
  • Mobilizes funding for replication and scaling of ideas. 

Ten social entrepreneurs have been selected – two each from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden and two international – with different approaches to fostering integration and inclusion. During fall 2018 they will enter an accelerator with the aim to significantly scale up their activities, primarily by entering one or several Nordic countries outside their origin.

As a main partner, Nordea supports the entrepreneurs with communication, dedicated expertise through mentoring and availability to funding opportunities. Nordea also takes an active role in facilitating the modules in the programme as well as hosting the final event.  

“Hello Nordics is the first program of this kind in the Nordic region, through this we seek to engage both customers and employees in a unique opportunity to have a positive impact on society” says Erik Feldt, Head of Community Engagement in Nordea

The accelerator looks for system changing solutions that can address the root cause of a problem in a systemic way by involving policy makers, lawmakers, communities and target groups. Examples of Ashoka fellows with systemic change solutions are Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi who has created a global movement against child labour.

“Ashoka’s ambition is to create positive systemic change in society. With this partnership we bring together Nordea’s know-how, networks and expert employees with Ashoka’s experience, network of social entrepreneurs and innovative approach to support proven and impactful innovations to scale across the Nordic region,” says Emma Lindgren, head of Ashoka in Sweden and part of the Ashoka Nordic team.

Acando, Oliver Wyman and Vinge are also partners in the Hello Nordics program which will run until February 2019. To read more about the selected entrepreneurs and Hello Nordics click this link.

For further information or if you are interested in engaging:
Erik Feldt, Head of Community Engagement, +46 733-57 71 10
Afroditi Kellberg, Chief Press Officer Sweden, +46-733-50 55 99

Fact box

Social entrepreneurship is the use of start-up companies and other entrepreneurs to develop, fund and implement solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues. This concept may be applied to a variety of organizations with different sizes, aims, and beliefs. For-profit entrepreneurs typically measure performance using business metrics like profit, revenues and increases in stock prices, but social entrepreneurs are either non-profits or blend for-profit goals with generating a positive "return to society" and therefore must use different metrics.
 
Ashoka is an organization that builds and cultivates a community of change leaders. Together the changemakers collaborate to transform institutions and cultures worldwide in order to support changemaking for the good of society. Ashoka, founded in 1980, has the world´s largest network of social entrepreneurs. 

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