Wilstar AS has entered into a partnership with Impact StartUp on the Norwegian accelerator program for 2020. This strengthens the Nordic region’s leading ecosystem for social entrepreneurs with cutting-edge expertise and resources within social impact.
“Impact StartUp is a unique opportunity to work with innovative partners on how we can solve social challenges in the Nordic region. In the next few years, we will see that new tools for financing social innovation come from such partnerships. This is important for us to be a part of”, says Marcus Bleasdale, Managing Director, Wilstar.
Wilstar is a non-profit philanthropic organization owned by the Arne Wilhelmsen family. The organization supports people and businesses that create sustainable solutions and social outcomes. The company’s focus areas include education, the environment, women’s rights and human dignity, both in Norway and internationally.
“Sustainability challenges and increasing pressure on the world’s resources increase the need for targeted development of new solutions. In our opinion, social entrepreneurs play an important role, and we want to help create the best framework for building and scaling such solutions”, Bleasdale says.
Ferd Social Entrepreneurs (Ferd SE) took the initiative to establish Impact StartUp in Norway based on a model from the Social Capital Fund. Both (Ferd SE) and Wilstar work with organisations with goals of social impact, so-called “social first”.
Wilstar will support the Norwegian accelerator program in 2020 and participate actively in all parts of the selection process. They will also share their experiences and resources in Impact Management and Business Development.
Marte Sootholtet, leader of Impact StartUp, says that with Ferd SE as partner and new exciting partners like Wilstar on the team for next year, the program can more effectively select, accelerate and qualify startups that can have great and lasting impact on society.
“These supporters understand the value created and can help open doors for the social entrepreneurs after the program.” – Marte Sootholtet, leader of Impact StartUp
For the social entrepreneurs who participate in Impact StartUp, it is important that the accelerator program has two strong supporters. The competence and network they contribute gives the program extra value for the participants.
Henriette Skretteberg from Ferd Social Entrepreneurs says that they are delighted to have Wilstar as a partner. – “A strong sharing culture among venture philanthropists and social investors gives us better conditions to support and strengthen the companies we work for. We need different types of financial contributors in order to connect the social entrepreneurs with the right supporters. Impact StartUp provides a secure framework for building knowledge and alliances between players with varying degrees of experience. With Wilstar on the team, we are now ready to engage in dialogue with several partners who share our values,” she says.
For Wilstar, access to scalable solutions across borders was a decisive factor for collaboration with Impact StartUp. A stronger Norwegian and Nordic ecosystem will be important for access to philanthropic projects. In addition, the opportunities for collaboration with other leading supporters were important to Wilstar. According to Bleasdale, sharing information, tools and knowledge is particularly important in order to create a greater social impact. – “When we choose to get involved in a new project, we do this in partnership with others. This increases opportunities for scaling and knowledge sharing, as well as reducing risk”, Bleasdale concludes.
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