Wednesday, 29 April 2009

A celebration of the success of Nyföretagarcentrum. Thanks to Maud Olofsson for earmarking 1 million SEK!

Monday night was the Final Gala held by Nyföretagarcentrum in Gamla Stan here in Stockholm. Nyföretagarcentrum is a non-profit organisation with offices around the country, sponsored by government and businesses. Their goal is to promote start-ups and support small businesses in general - which it does with huge success. Of those who start a business with their support less than one percent have gone bankrupt after three years and 80% are still active and on average have 2 employees. That is pretty impressive results!

During 2008-2009 SNC has made a particular effort to encourage women not only to start businesses but to make use of the resources that are available - largely thanks to the money that has been eartagged by Maud Oloffsson. Våga Språnget, Starter Programmes, networking groups and inspiration evenings have been the focus of their Investment In Women campaign.

Monday night we were invited to attend a celebration of what SNC have achieved so far. We were treated to red carpet attention, champagne, dinner and a night of celebrating successful women.
The red carpet into Nalen.

A few of the Våga Språnget group from the spring of 2008.
Karin, Anne, Monica and Theresa

After the initial introductions from the evening's mediator Lydia Capolicchio, and Anna Nedeby Bar-Am, CEO for Stockholms NyföretagarCentrum we listened to a discussion on women in business held by a panel.
Carin Holmquist Professor Handelshögskolan in Stockholm
Mikael Wolf CEO Swedbank
Kicki Theander Founder Middagsfrid
Sten Nordin kuhiphr Stockholm Municipality

Some 350 men and (mostly) women listened and contributed with their own reflections - inlcluding the myth that it is difficult to start a business in Sweden.

While I was listening a security man walked up past me to the front of the audience - odd I thought. A few minutes later Maud Olofson Minister for Enterprise and Energy, Deputy Prime Minister, Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications stepped up onto the stage and I realised - ok, yes, I am in the presence of a national politician and I guess they do need their security force.

Maud was presented with a Thank You card by CEO for SNC Anna Nedeby Bar-Am on behalf of SNC as a thanks for ear-marking 1 million crowns to promote women in business. Maud went on to read some of the comments on the card written by the women (me included) who have benefited from this 1 million crowns.
As I listened to her speech about women, entreprenurialism, business, the recession and Sweden I couldn't help but be reminded of Pippi - seeing her standing there in her red shoes.

And finally, after dinner, wine and music the winners were announced and presented with their awards according to four categories.

From left to right
Angela Monroe, Monroe Design
Anna Kjellgren, Strå
Maud Olofsson, Näringsminister
Maria Rindstam, Båtskroten
Leyla Anabestani, Freja Assistanstjänst AB

And I didn't come away empty handed either - I got a nice diploma for participating in Våga Språnget.Monday's event was to celebrate the results:
  • 1 666 women have started a over 1000 companies
  • SNC have conducted 4 925 advisory sessions
  • 388 women have participated in the Starter programme
  • 60 women have participated in Våga Språnget
  • Almost 300 women have participated in networking events.
Do you have an idea brewing away in your mind? Are you a small business in a period of change or in need of support, advice, expertise? I can't recommend SNC enough - they are a fantastic resource! Not only are their staff skilled and knowledgeable but they have endless contacts and have a huge range of experts available to assist those in need - all that and it is free too!

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