Marco Benini
18 June 2013

Social entrepreneurship is on the rise in Sweden?

Photo by KTH Kista (CC Rights)

Social issues have traditionally been the responsibility of institutions rather than individuals and many Swedish have still some difficulties in comprehending the concept of social entrepreneurship. In a rather short period of time, however, Sweden has become increasingly aware of this idea's potential.

Several universities around the country have recently launched programs with specializations in social entrepreneurship, while some municipalities are looking into ways to foster collaboration and creation of public-private partnerships. There are many examples of great Swedish social entrepreneurs and innovators that have entered the scene in the past few years.

One of them is Johan Wendt, who founded Mattecentrum and is providing free help for children who want to improve their maths skills. It provides free tutoring for around 70,000 young people every month, through tutoring sessions 50 times a week in 19 cities in Sweden and Denmark, as well as through online platforms. Around 35% of the children supported by the program come from immigrant backgrounds.

Another example is Solvatten, a portable container heating water with solar energy and making the water drinkable before providing it to household. After 10 years of research and testing, this product has been rolled out in Kenya and Nepal and is expanding rapidly. Thus, a few early examples of Swedish social entrepreneurship have gathered international momentum with their social innovations and the situation is improving faster.