Setting up a Nordic-wide accelerator
Social StartUp is a six-month accelerator program for companies with multiple bottom lines. The program is currently being run for a second time with a new group of companies in Norway, and preparations are now being made for a Nordic-wide version as well.
“Social entrepreneurs often challenge existing business models. Like a normal accelerator program, Social StartUp is intended to help such companies to become financially self-sustaining. The difference is that we at Social StartUp give companies management tools that help them to take balanced decisions not just on their financial bottom line, but on their other bottom lines as well”, explains Henriette Skretteberg, Project Manager at Ferd Social Entrepreneurs.
A tailor-made accelerator
Many people might think that social entrepreneurs would find a ‘normal’ accelerator program just as beneficial, as their needs in terms of equipping themselves for growth are the same. According to Henriette Skretteberg, however, there are good reasons for treating social entrepreneurs differently.
“A lot of social entrepreneurs deliver innovative services to immature markets with vulnerable end-customers. Social entrepreneurs therefore cannot be assessed purely on traditional market logic”, comments Henriette.
She emphasises that delivering value across multiple bottom lines means that social entrepreneurs have more complex business models and different requirements in terms of who can help them succeed.
“We use tools and methods from the start-up and finance worlds, but we adapt them so they can be used to create social results as well”, comments Henriette.
The Norwegian accelerator program is an initiative by Ferd Social Entrepreneurs and is built on a successful model that delivered strong results that was developed by Denmark’s Den Sociale Kapitalfond. Den Sociale Kapitalfond is following the progress of the Norwegian program closely, and is one of its collaboration partners. Ferd Social Entrepreneurs and Den Sociale Kapitalfond are now developing a Nordic-wide accelerator program based on the success of their own Norwegian and Danish programs.
“We are so pleased with the results and ripple effects of Social StartUp that we have worked with Den Sociale Kapitalfond to set up a collaboration with Swedish and Finnish partners in order to scale the program up. At the start of 2020, we will run a Nordic-wide program with the aim of solving common challenges experienced in the Nordic region in the area of work inclusion,” explains Henriette Skretteberg.
The whole interview is available in the Ferd Magazine (in Norwegian).