Ferd Social Entrepreneurs
Main results in 2014:
- Annual conference attended by 350 delegates
- The value creation achieved by the FSE portfolio is far from just financial, according to a report published by Vista Analyse
- The discounted present value of moving a young adult “from not having a job to employment for 35 years” is estimated to be NOK 11.6 million
- Forandringsfabrikken (ChangeFactory)’s ‘professionals’ contributed to positive change in collaboration with Norwegian Child Welfare Service employees in 14 municipalities.
- Lyk-Z and Daughters is completing the web-based platform for its training program FROG Online Identity.
- Monsterbedriften has now demolished 6,500 bathrooms
- 275,000 children had Trivselsleder in their schools in 2014
- Forskerfabrikken (Scientist Factory) made its first profit after ten years
- Forskerfabrikken (Scientist Factory) made a profit after running 150 summer schools
- InTempo had 168 nurseries on its customer list in 2014
2014 was the year in which the value of helping a young adult leave unemployment and return to training or work was established to be NOK 11.6 million. 2014 was also the year in which the authorities took a serious interest in us. The Prime Minister, the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Foreign Affairs requested meetings with us. 2014 is the year we turned 5.
Looking back over the five years that Ferd Social Entrepreneurs has officially been running, we are both pleased with what we have achieved and conscious that we still have had a lot to learn. We are very glad to have the experience and knowledge from the past five years. We had 10 companies in the portfolio as of 2014. The portfolio has shown that the companies are capable of creating value for society. More information on this is available in the report published by Vista Analyse (link). The Vista Analyse report for 2014 provides a comprehensive assessment. The report assesses the benefits and value created by the companies in our portfolio. We are pleased with how receptive our entrepreneurs have been in relation to this work. One of the things it has given us is a new shared figure for the value of getting young adults back into education or employment. Every young adult we get back into permanent employment benefits society by NOK 11.6 million. We are however, astonished about how difficult it is to get more people to invest as we do. Especially when you see the social results.
Five years ago, virtually no-one in Norway knew what social entrepreneurship was. We commissioned an InFact survey in connection with our fifth anniversary to try to find out more about how much people were aware of and knew the concept of social entrepreneurship. Slightly more than 30% of respondents were familiar with the concept. Almost 60% of those who were answered that social entrepreneurship referred to “Innovative solutions to social problems”. The survey also showed that the group most likely to have heard of Ferd Social Entrepreneurs comprises men living in the Eastern region of Norway who are over 65 years old. We found this rather surprising. It shows that most people who have heard about FSE have done so from traditional media sources rather than from social media, which we had thought was the key forum for us.
We definitely learned that interest in the area was increasing in 2014, particularly from the public sector. We had discussions with the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, the Minister of Education and Research, the Minister of Culture and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. We also received an enquiry from the Prime Minister who wanted to learn more about the area. She also excitingly paid a visit to Forskerfabrikken (Scientist Factory), which was shown on a Norwegian children’s news program (NRK Super-nytt). We are proud to have received these requests and are very pleased to be able to share our experience.
As of 31 December, we were actively involved with ten social entrepreneurs and believe that together we will be able to create growth both in terms of social benefits and sustainable financial results. Four of these social entrepreneurs have achieved the target of becoming strong enough not to need any further support from Ferd. One company was forced to cease its activities abruptly due to changes in the framework set by the public sector. Two companies left the portfolio without having grown enormously but did continue to see very positive activity levels. We believe we are right to be proud of the portfolio, and think that the results demonstrate that Ferd’s efforts are proving beneficial.
We are particularly pleased with what Forskerfabrikken achieved in 2014, arranging over 150 science-themed summer schools for 4,000 children and other courses for 14,000 children in total across the country. “I don’t regret a single minute,” commented one course participant. The company made a profit for the first time in ten years, which will support further growth and the development of original and inspiring courses. Forskerfabrikken became one of our Alumni companies at the start of this year, and we would like to thank them for being such an informative and fun partner over the last six years. We can warmly recommend partnering with them, you will see synergies!
Trivselsleder has now reached over 1,000 schools in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland. The founders of Trivselsleder have also come up with a new concept that we have a lot of belief in: Lærervikaren (The Substitute Teacher). The Pøbel project is getting young adults into work in more and more locations, particularly in Southern and Eastern Norway.
Drive for life is delivering good results in the areas where it operates its motor club evenings and is seeing strong interest in Sweden. InTempo had 168 nurseries on its BRAVO customer list and moved into Denmark.
Forandringsfabrikken celebrated its 10th birthday in 2014. Their approach has ensured that young people have had their important voices heard directly by the various help systems, and they have contributed in a concrete fashion to changing the Child Welfare Act. They are currently very busy working on changing the way the Norwegian Child Welfare Service works, in close collaboration with the service itself. "I am no longer part of the problem, I am now part of the solution, and that is what makes being a ‘Child Welfare professional’ so great", commented Victoria from the stage at the Cinematek where the event to celebrate Forandringsfabrikken’s 10th birthday was held.
Lyk-z and Daughters completed the web-based platform for its training program FROG Online Identity. Through a combination of meetings and independent work, young people discover their own values and the options open to them. In 2014 the company worked hard to ensure there were enough certified trainers to be able to scale up the project in Norway. There is much need for what Lyk-Z and Daughters offer in Norway, and they are also launching in Spain in 2015.
We received and processed over 380 applications in 2014, and admitted two new entrepreneurs to the portfolio:
Monsterbedriften – was the Social Entrepreneur of the Year for 2014. Monsterbedriftens business-plan is to demolish bathrooms, by doing so, they rebuild people. Most of Monsterbedriften’s employees are ex-offenders or individuals with a history of substance abuse. As employees, they not only get a job, but also belong to a friendly business environment. Some of them are also able to start a new life together in the “Monster house”.
Seema AS works to promote greater diversity in the Norwegian labour market. They teach businesses and managers how diversity can be of benefit, and contribute to increasing the proportion of women from multicultural backgrounds in senior management and middle-management positions. This is done in part by recruiting highly qualified young women onto a two-year talent program and mentoring scheme.
The Alumni portfolio
The objective of all our investments is that the social entrepreneurs in the portfolio should become self-sufficient over a period of 3-6 years. The social entrepreneurs that move to the Alumni portfolio are those that can now succeed independently, or those we no longer think we are able to help progress further. We do however, seek to maintain contact with all our social entrepreneurs and to receive regular updates on their achievements and how they are progressing. Gladiator with its Aball1 product moved to the Alumni portfolio in 2014. The portfolio also contains the Asfalt street magazine, Young Enterprise and Unicus. We are extremely proud of what these social entrepreneurs have achieved.
The 2014 Social Entrepreneurship Conference
We organised the fifth Social Entrepreneurship conference in February 2014. The conference is intended to bring together a broad spectrum of participants in Norway in order to explore how we can together strengthen the field of social entrepreneurship. Our aim is for the conference to be a meeting place that enables dialogue between roles, industries and areas of expertise. We also presented an overview of the socio-economic benefits achieved by our whole portfolio. This was a large step forward for us in terms of expertise. Vista Analyse has produced a figure for us for the productivity gain for society of getting one young adult out of the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration system and back on track. We learnt about a new opportunity for public procurement from Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance, John Swinney. The Norwegian Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Robert Eriksson also spoke enthusiastically about using social entrepreneurs and putting in place procurement and tendering opportunities that allow space for entrepreneurs and innovation.
2014 again saw Johan, Katinka and Øyvind give countless talks and presentations, both in Norway and abroad. We also sent out invitations to five ‘Open house’ events in 2014. Each ‘Open house’ meeting lasts for two hours and takes place in Ferd’s offices in Lysaker, with the invitations sent via the internet and social media. The invitation is open to anyone who wants to come and meet us and to hear about social entrepreneurship and have their questions answered. 76 people attended “Open house” events in 2014.
The business area had three full-time employees in 2014, one of whom was on long-term sick leave during the first half of the year. Assistance equivalent to one and a half full-time employees was hired in during 2014. Roughly half of this was in order to provide financial expertise to portfolio companies from a “CFO for hire” function.
Social entrepreneurship is a strongly growing area internationally that is also attracting increasing interest in Norway. Ferd SE is being approached by a large number of parties interested in the area who want to learn from our experience and to collaborate with us on potential projects. We willingly share what we have learned both by giving talks and by meeting interested parties directly. We have chosen to prioritise the use of our resources on teams and individuals where we think there is good potential for practical action and benefits that will further the cause of social entrepreneurship.