Hello Nordics – Nordea partnering with Ashoka to improve the lives of people facing exclusion and marginalization

I 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.

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Marginalization among foreigners

18% lower employment rate among non-EU born in the Nordics

The average time to enter labor market for refugees in 7 years

School results gap and drop-out rates for foreign born


The Hello Nordics initiative identifies high potential initiatives and entrepreneurs, offers mentoring and acceleration programme, and 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.

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.


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 change-making for the good of society. Ashoka, founded in 1980, has the world´s largest network of social entrepreneurs.

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.

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

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