Unicorns High-Impact Entrepreneurs Flock to Stockholm During GEW
7 Dec 2016


Stockholm is one of the world’s leading startup hotspots and it is truly buzzing with entrepreneurial activity. According to technology investment firm Atomico, “Sweden’s capital breeds more “unicorns”— those rare and elusive digital startups valued at $1 billion USD per capita – than any other region in the world except Silicon Valley.”

This flourishing entrepreneurial spirit was also mirrored in the GEW Sweden 2016 campaign. It broke the record from previous years – with an amazing total of 341 activities involving around 25,000 people. And here is just a glimpse into some of this year’s highlights.

One of the most glamorous startup events was organized by our GEW partner SUP 46 (Startup People of Sweden). Each November during the Swedish Startup Gala, one entrepreneurial superstar is inaugurated into the Swedish Startup Hall of Fame. This year it was Sebastian Knutsson, game developer and co-founder of King (the company that brought us Candy Crush). Knutsson thereby joined Daniel Ek (co-founder Spotify), Niklas Zennström (co-founder Skype) and Jane Walerud (serial entrepreneur and angel investor) who have previously earned the prestigious award. It is interesting to note that all the three companies mentioned above are “unicorns.”

It is a great honor for us to have had Swedish Prince Daniel contribute to Global Entrepreneurship Week Sweden. Prince Daniel is the husband of the Swedish Crown Princess Victoria. But prior to becoming a prince, Daniel was an entrepreneur, starting several companies in the fitness industry. However, even after becoming a prince, he has continued to be an advocate of entrepreneurship. In 2013, he founded “Prince Daniel’s Fellowship,” bringing together a group of successful entrepreneurs and managers to form a council of experts who visit upper secondary schools, universities and university colleges in Sweden to inspire young people to become entrepreneurs. Their visit to the University of Skövde was a part of Global Entrepreneurship Week Sweden 2016.

As always, there was a lot of focus on youth entrepreneurship. Our partner, Fryshuset, seeks to empower young people by promoting a more open and inclusive society. Their event “Swedish Young Entrepreneur ” was held in Stockholm during GEW. The award for “Company of the Year” was handed out to “Sopköket”, a startup that contributes to a more sustainable society by preventing food waste. They turn surplus food into delicious meals sold to businesses and consumers. Furthermore, they employ marginalized groups (a focus on newly arrived refugees) and operate in otherwise unutilized kitchens.

The Linnaeus University is one of our most dedicated partners. They arrange a number of events during GEW at their two campuses, with the goal of becoming “the entrepreneurial university.” One of the most popular events this year was a lecture by Emma Wiklund. Wiklund ruled the catwalks during her modelling career in the ’90s and has appeared in a number of popular movies. Since then, Wiklund has moved on to become an entrepreneur and started the successful skincare line, Emma S.

We are pleased to once again have had Mikael Damberg, the Swedish Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, participate in one of the official events of GEW Sweden. This event dealt with an important question on the Swedish political agenda – integration. With the immigration in Sweden hitting a record high in the last couple of years, it is crucial to address the problem of integration and tap into the potential of the newly landed immigrants.

We are looking forward to an even bigger GEW Sweden next year, and hope to continue serving as a platform that brings together different groups of the multifaceted entrepreneurial ecosystem in Stockholm and Sweden at large.

Jelena Despotovic

Project Assistant | ESBRI

Jelena Despotovic works at ESBRI (Entrepreneurship and Small Business Research Institute), the official host organization of Global… More