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Time: Thursday 30th May 2024 15.00-19.00
Place: Fishtank, Ingerslevsgade 44 in Copenhagen


On May 30, 2024, Social Entrepreneurs in Denmark hosted the event “Young Social Entrepreneurship – How to start and work in new visionary ways” at Fishtank in Copenhagen.
There were 55 participants of which 35 were young social entrepreneurs.
The event was held in connection with an Erasmus+ project, which SED is part of together with Brodoto from Croatia and The Present from the Netherlands. Therefore, representatives from the two organizations were also present at the event. for this reason, the event was held in English, as there were also a large number of English-speaking participants from Denmark.

The background
The world is facing a number of challenges and we can’t solve them by using the same mindset that created them.
Social entrepreneurs are using new and innovative ways and business models to solve the problems they see in the world and working to create a positive impact. This gives hope for the future.
It’s especially important to inspire the young generation to engage in social entrepreneurship.
This is the background for the Erasmus+ project “The Present for the Future – Boosting Youth Social Entrepreneurship that Matters” and the reason why Social Entrepreneurs Denmark hosted the meetup event aimed specifically at young (under 35) social entrepreneurs working to help vulnerable groups.

Welcome and introduction
After a brief welcome, Per Bach gave a short introduction to social entrepreneurship and how it focuses on social value creation and impact for the common good rather than creating profit for a small group of owners. Per showed the difference between the business model of a social enterprise and a traditional business. He briefly talked about the increased international interest in social entrepreneurship, where international organizations such as IOL, OECD, UN, World Economic Forum and the EU in recent years have come up with initiatives and resolutions calling on governments to create a better framework for social entrepreneurs and social economy organizations because they have great potential to include vulnerable groups in the labor market and to contribute to the sustainable transition.
Finally, Per gave a number of case examples of young social entrepreneurs who have started their own businesses to help vulnerable groups.
Jari Hazelebach from Holland has started Speaksee d helps deaf people participate in group conversations through a microphone set that transcribes the speech of each participant so deaf people can read it on their phone.
Jahkil Naeem Jackson from USA has started Project I am and has distributed more than 135,000 Blessing Bags containing socks, deodorant, hand sanitizer, granola bars, toothbrushes, toothpaste, bottled water, etc. to homeless people in Chicago.
Mursal Hedayat who was born in Afghanistan and now lives in England who has started Chatterbox  a social enterprise that employs language-savvy refugees as language teachers.

Per concluded by inviting all young social entrepreneurs to take advantage of SED’s monthly online events, where social entrepreneurs can get advice and support from a range of professionals.
Watch the PowerPoint with an introduction to social entrepreneurship here

Young social entrepreneurs – Danish case examples
The floor was then given to three young people who talked about their work helping vulnerable groups

Stemmer for hjem
Sara Søs Aanæs explained that Stemmer for Hjem (Voices for Home) is an organization by young people and for young people who have experienced homelessness. The organization wants to create change for other young people so that fewer will experience homelessness in the future.
Stemmer for Hjem collaborates with others to raise awareness about homelessness among young people – creating an alliance with social workers, organizations, and politicians to strengthen access to housing and support for young people experiencing homelessness.
Specifically, Stemmer for Hjem works to identify what young people experiencing homelessness need and ensure that they have access to clear information and thus faster access to help.
But also to equip caseworkers, contact persons and other social workers so that the help, support and relationships with young people are strengthened. Stemmer for Hjem also wants to raise awareness of homelessness among young people – to the public, relevant organizations and decision-makers. An important part of the work is also to try to prevent homelessness, e.g. by working to get more affordable housing and quick access to housing. Voices for Home also works for sufficient and flexible support that is open-ended for young people coming from placement or other services, etc.
Finally, Voices for Home seeks to expand the pool of young people who want to make a difference, by empowering more young people to participate in the organization’s work.
Watch the Stemmer for Hjem PowerPoint here

The -able
Kristine Kruse explained that she started The -able after being deeply moved by the plight of people forced to flee when she lived in Lebanon and Greece. She saw first-hand the untapped potential and resilience of displaced people and realized that the solutions did not necessarily lie in charity, but in creating opportunities for self-sufficiency and dignity.
Therefore, with The -able, she specializes in selling handicrafts made by people forced to flee, supporting them by giving them the opportunity to live off their skills. The -able focuses primarily on corporate gifts and offers a unique alternative to mass-produced goods by providing companies with ethically and sustainably produced gifts with positive social impact.
Watch The -able PowerPoint her
See article about The -able her

Hjælp Din Næste
Alfred Jørgensen and Albert Bricker Olson explained that Hjælp Din Næste (Help Your Neighbor) works to make life better for people on the streets. The organization rests on three core values:
Transparency, because Hjælp Din Næste wants to be a different kind of NGO by very clearly showing which donations go to what.
Charity, because Hjælp Din Næste believes that the homeless have a story that deserves to be told and meets them at eye level, never forgetting the human aspect.
Safety because Hjælp Din Næste builds relationships with the people they meet. By constantly being on the streets, the organization builds trust, and trust leads to safety.
Hjælp Din Næste has initiated a number of projects to support the homeless, such as collecting and distributing clothes, food and other necessities to people on the streets and in shelters, collecting and distributing personalized Christmas gifts in Copenhagen and throughout Denmark, and helping homeless people get from the streets to a home, with furniture and help moving in.
Hjælp Din Næste has a large number of business partners and collaborators who contribute funds and donations in various ways. Income has been steadily increasing over the past three years and in 2023 amounted to over DKK 860,000, of which just over half was spent on salaries and administration. In addition, Hjælp Din Næste has a large network of volunteers who put work into the organization.
Watch Din Næstes PowerPoint here

After the case presentations, there was time for questions from the participants.

Then there was a short coffee break where there was an opportunity to visit the marketplace with materials from different organizations working with vulnerable people that had representatives among the participants.

Workshop: Udfordring til deltagerne – for at hjælpe ung social iværksætter
After a short introduction to the workshop process, Thomas Garde and Henrik Smedegaard Mortensen gave a short introduction to Medvind and the work of the organization. He was also joined by Earl, one of the Freeworkers.
The idea for Medvind was born in 2020 during the Corona pandemic.
In May 2021, the company was officially established and today it has 15 permanent part-time workers and 40 who work less regularly.

The company is run by 5 part-time employees who have paid work corresponding to approximately 3 full-time positions per year.
Henrik explained that at Medvind, socially vulnerable people get the opportunity to become part of a working community and create stability in their everyday lives by working to maintain bicycles. In this way, Medvind helps socially vulnerable people achieve stability and meaning through employment opportunities and by being part of a working community.

For Medvind, it is especially important to create a supportive work environment that promotes personal growth and integration into society.
A Danish system that allows participants to earn up to 41,280 DKK annually tax-free without affecting their benefits. The freeworker earns 100 DKK per biking care. For vulnerable people who often have a small economy, this can be of great importance and contribute to increased well-being in everyday life. At the same time, the scheme allows companies to help the socially disadvantaged while solving small tasks in the company or, as in Medvind’s case, offer the company’s employees to have their bikes maintained during working hours. Companies can subscribe to Medvind for such a scheme for their employees.
Medvind’s offer consists of the things that cyclists themselves and bike mechanics do not take care of, such as washing, lubricating, pumping and general bike care.

It is offered on the street, where the Freeworkers are in direct contact with the bike owners, giving them a sense of being a valuable part of the local working community.

Medvind’s work model is based on flexibility and support, allowing each leisure worker to work flexibly – according to their own interests, needs, time and energy.
The target group for Medvind’s work is a diverse group of vulnerable people who primarily live on the streets and do not have close relationships with others. Approximately 1/3 of them come from ethnic minorities with different national backgrounds. They have both social and economic challenges and many have mental health issues as well as challenges due to addiction, crime and debt. They lack stability and have no or very little family contact, no housing or network.

Finally, one of the freeworkers, Earl, talked about his experience working at Medvind.
Through his work, Earl has come out of addiction, become part of a community, got a routine and something to stand up for. It was a very honest and touching story.

In conclusion, Medvind gave the Challenge for which they wanted the participants’ input on solutions:
1. How do we expand our business collaboration and get more partnerships?

2. How do we strengthen collaboration and support unstructured people: Flexible coordination, peer-to-peer learning, partnerships?

3. Any other ideas? – At the end, Medvind asked an open-ended question if the participants had any ideas for what else Menvind could do to strengthen the company, its work and impact.


1st workshop part 30 minutes
Before the event, the participants were divided into 5 groups and after Medvind’s presentation, the group work started with all participants first having 5 minutes to individually think about ideas for solutions that they could write on a PostIt. Then the groups worked together on all the ideas the individual participants had written on their PostIt.


2nd workshop part
After 30 minutes of working on solutions, the groups were given 15 minutes to make a pitch with the 3 best solutions.


3rd workshop part
All 5 groups were then given the opportunity to pitch their solutions.

Voting and selecting the winner
A jury consisting of Medvind and SED then selected the winning proposal. Henrik from Medvind explained that it wasn’t easy to choose one proposal as there were so many good ones. However, they had chosen a proposal from group 3 with the one-liner “Two-in-one-smack-down” – that is, to look for possible intermediaries who can help with marketing Medvind, such as students from schools and universities, trade unions and kindergartens, who can go out and sell Medvind’s bicycle care.
In this connection, there was also a suggestion that Medvind could ask current business partners to promote themselves. One suggestion was to personally reach out to business owners – so that they could promote the project.
Several suggestions emphasized the importance of Medvind spreading the good story – how the people who get freetime jobs in Medvind has develop very positively. For example, Medvind could make a presentation at the company in connection with company partnerships/subscriptions.

Finally, Medvind gave a summary of what they take away from all the suggestions. Henrik mentioned that the winner of the day was actually Medvind, because they had received so many useful suggestions for their challenge, which they can now go home and continue working on.
Both Henrik and Thomas from Medvind also mentioned that if the participants should come up with more ideas later – they are very welcome to contact Medvind at any time.

Finally, Casandra Miguel from Café Unique (Grieffenfeldsgade 54, København N ) was given the floor for a short announcement. She mentioned that the café would like to help promote good social initiatives and organizations, so all participants were welcome to leave flyers and materials in the café.

The event ended with an hour-long dinner and networking where most of the attendees participated.

More photos from the event below:

 

Erasmus disclaimer
Disclaimer: The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

 

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