New leadership programme within Impact entrepreneurship: Sets out to accelerate collaboration across ecosystems

Entrepreneurship is an important engine, in both local economic and social development, as well as in the global work on green transition. Therefore, SI is conducting a pilot project – a new leadership programme in the area of Impact entrepreneurship. The programme falls under the framework of SI’s international development cooperation and in collaboration with Team Sweden.

Impact entrepreneurship refers to entrepreneurship that, in addition to financial profitability, also has environmental and/or social benefits as an integral part of its business model. The phenomenon is global, and gaining more and more ground, for example 74% of the total venture capital in Sweden went to so-called impact companies in 2023. (Business Sweden, 2024)

The pilot programme, which goes by the name Impact Pioneers ’24, sets out to explore the theme of Enabling impact entrepreneurship. The target group is leaders and practioners connected to innovation hubs and startup incubators in 22 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe where Sweden wants to collaborate around economic development and green transition.

The programme will open a call for applications during May. Granted participants will take part in digital sessions starting late August, leading up to an on-site conference in Stockholm in October, The program in Stockholm will combine capacity building workshops with field visits and knowledge exchange with the local ecosystem for entrepreneurship. Director-General of the Swedish Institute, Madeleine Sjöstedt comments on the new initiative:

– We are happy about this pilot initiative, which is clearly connected with the Swedish area of strength, innovation. Our innovation and start-up environments rank high in international comparisons, which creates good conditions for a positive Swedish contribution in development cooperation. The initiative also gives us an opportunity to explore synergies between development work, trade policy and promotion, together within Team Sweden and with the Swedish ecosystem of actors and companies.

In addition to the primary programme objective of strengthening the capacity of local systems for entrepreneurship in the programme countries, the initiative also aims to create value for Swedish actors and companies as well as contribute to a positive image of Sweden. Programme Officer Filippa Malmegård shares aspirations for the pilot programme:

– Through dialogue and relations across the ecosystems for entrepreneurship, we hope to lower thresholds for Swedish impact actors with innovative solutions that can contribute both to global sustainable development and also increase awareness of Sweden as a partner in innovation and green transition. Ultimately however, the idea of supporting the nurture, growth and impact of impact entrepreneurs, whether they operate in our partner countries or in Sweden, is about addressing the need for increased joint efforts to find new solutions to global challenges.

Programme countries of Impact Pioneers 2024:

Africa: Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South-Africa, Uganda, Zambia
Asia: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam
Europe: Armenia, Azerbaidjan, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Sweden, Ukraine.

Learn more about Impact Pioneers and our call for participants here.