Kinnevik and H&M to set up support program to help local social entrepreneurs in Ethiopia

Through their foundations, Reach for Change and H&M Conscious Foundation, Kinnevik and H&M are jointly supporting social entrepreneurs that improve the situation for women and youth in Ethiopia.

Stockholm, Sweden, 2014-11-7— /EPR Retail News/ — Through their respective foundations the companies are investing 8.8 million SEK over three years to set up a support program to help local social entrepreneurs in the country grow and become financially sustainable.

“Having two Swedish companies of this size join forces to invest in social entrepreneurship to benefit women and youth through their respective foundations is unique. We are joined by common traditions of entrepreneurship and innovation. Now we shall jointly use these strengths to contribute to a positive development in Ethiopia”, says Helena Thybell, Global Manager, H&M Conscious Foundation.

H&M has recently started collaborating with Ethiopian suppliers, and Kinnevik has made one investment in a small Ethiopian company earlier this year. For this reason, the two companies have decided to work together to strengthen local initiatives and promote long-term positive development in Ethiopia.

This joint effort will initially focus on identifying social entrepreneurs with the potential to create sustainable change for women and youth in Ethiopia. The social entrepreneurs have in common that they are persons with a strong drive to create positive social change; they find new solutions to local social problems and use innovative methods to turn their ideas into reality.

“One individual can change a society for the better if he or she is given the right support. Experience shows that our method for creating social impact is equally effective in countries as vastly different as DR Congo, Kazakhstan and Sweden. We are very grateful for this opportunity to also spread it to Ethiopia”, says Sara Damber, co-founder and CEO, Reach for Change.

The entrepreneurs will be given financial support, access to business expertise and networking opportunities to grow and develop their initiatives. The model for finding and supporting social entrepreneurs has been developed by Reach for Change and already implemented in nine countries across the world.

Two examples of social entrepreneurs supported by Reach for Change that have realized their ideas is Naomi Kuseyo who has successfully given hospitalized children in DR Congo access to education inside hospitals and Hayford Siaw who has developed a concept for mobile libraries that has given children in rural areas in Ghana access to literature and thereby increased literacy levels.

About H&M Conscious Foundation
The H&M Conscious Foundation is an independent non-profit global foundation initiated in connection with H&M’s 60th anniversary in 2007. The foundation is the philanthropic arm complementing H&M’s sustainability work. Through its support to programs and initiatives, the H&M Conscious Foundation strives to make positive impact on policy level and in the everyday life for people and communities where H&M operates. For further information, visit hm.com/consciousfoundation.

About Reach for Change
Reach for Change is a non-profit organisation founded by Kinnevik and Sara Damber to improve youth’s lives. Reach for Change finds and develops Change Leaders – local social entrepreneurs with innovations that solve some of the most pressing issues facing youth. The entrepreneurs are helped to scale their innovations through seed funding, access to business expertise and networking opportunities. Launched in Sweden in 2010, Reach for Change is now operating in 15 countries on three continents. In 2013, the Change Leaders in the Reach for Change incubator improved lives for more than one million youth globally.

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Kinnevik and H&M to set up support program to help local social entrepreneurs in Ethiopia

Kinnevik and H&M to set up support program to help local social entrepreneurs in Ethiopia