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Since 2012, we have been teaming up with entrepreneurs across the globe that create a better world by providing jobs that empower people, while also addressing a range of social and environmental challenges. These entrepreneurs are often called social entrepreneurs.
We boost their potential and impact through development programmes, investments and knowledge sharing where IKEA gains valuable insights. For the social businesses that offer unique products and services, we establish business partnerships and use all IKEA sales channels to make these available to customers.
By partnering with these social entrepreneurs, we get to lean on each other’s strengths, sharing our learnings with each other and with different parts of IKEA. We know that together, we can create a more sustainable future where everyone is seen and heard. We call this IKEA Social Entrepreneurship.
ÄNGSMÄTARE and MANDELPIL are created by female artisans at the Jordan River Foundation which enables women who live in Jordan - including those who are refugees from Syria - to have a sustainable livelihood. SILOMAL and VEDMAL are made by Rangsutra, a social business where the majority of the almost 2000 artisans are also shareholders.
In 2021 four new social business collaborations were started, and more and more global products are now available to IKEA customers. We are looking to build long term partnerships that can create jobs and livelihoods for as many people as possible for a long time to come.
When we join forces, the social businesses become part of the IKEA supply chain with access to valuable tools. For example, IKEA designers, product developers and technicians share knowledge of global designs and requirements, while social businesses bring an understanding of raw materials and local crafts.
Through this work, our partners gain access to new marketplaces and can scale up their business. This means they can become more independent and provide more job opportunities. Meanwhile, this enables IKEA to offer uniquely crafted products and services to customers while also including a more diverse group in our supply chain.
Together with IKEA France, a services “micro-hub” was created and piloted in central Paris with the social enterprise Carton Plein who hire, train and coach people experiencing homelessness back into society. Carton Plein refurbishes and resells waste cardboard using electrical bike collection rounds.*
We also back social entrepreneurs that have developed successful ways to fight social problems but need more support to reach their full potential. These social entrepreneurs are changing the world for the better through innovative solutions that protect our planet and lift people out of poverty.
All development programmes are co-created together with the civil society organisations we collaborate with. These programmes give successful entrepreneurs access to support for a limited time, mainly in the shape of mentorships or coaching by IKEA co-workers, and sometimes investment.
We also support social entrepreneurs directly through grants, loans, investments and non-financial tools. This way they can reach their full potential and expand their businesses for even greater impact.
Together with the social entrepreneurs, we develop innovative concepts for the IKEA business that allow us to explore new ways of creating social change.
Wietse van der Werf, founder of the Sea Ranger Service, sought guidance on how to have a bigger impact and provide job opportunities for even more people. He participated in the Dela programme where he received advice from IKEA co-workers and other experts in a series of sessions that challenged and stress-tested his strategy to scale the Sea Rangers. Influenced by the IKEA franchise model, Wietse is now establishing a new method that can be replicated around the globe.
* Our other partners involved in this project are Yunus Social Business and MakeSense.
With our partner Yunus Social Business (YSB) we began a social innovation process involving key business stakeholders across IKEA. Working with Ingka Group we identified Paris as the location to co-create and test a solution with local YSB partner MakeSense.