2013 Annual report

Social Entrepreneures

Social entrepreneurs must play a part in solving social problems while at the same time demonstrating a good likelihood that their activities will be financially self sufficient over time.

Summary 2013

  • Forskerfabrikken (Scientist Factory) arranged more than 100 summer schools.
  • Trivselsleder is now in operation at 1,000 schools in Norway, Sweden and Iceland.
  • The Pøbel project has now helped 1,246 young people.
  • Aball1 launched activities in England in 2013 through the Premier League.
  • Drive for Life has achieved extremely good and well-documented social results in the areas where it operates.
  • Forandringsfabrikken (ChangeFactory) confirmed its position in 2013 by its involvement in the development of Norway's new child protection reporting requirements.
  • We have held six "Open House" events. These are two-hour meetings at Ferd's offices in Lysaker, open to anyone who would like to meet us, ask questions and benefit from some basic advice on how to progress their ideas.
  • In November, FSE carried out a round Norway tour, stopping at nine locations.
  • The annual VelFERD conference was held, with 320 participants.
  • Epleslang won the Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 award.
  • Lyk-z og døtre, Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2012, was added to the portfolio.
  • The VelFERD Academy held three meetings in 2013.
  • Vista Analyse assessed all the portfolio companies and reported that they are achieving significant social results.
  • The Pøbel project and Trivselsleder were elected as Ashoka Fellows.
  • Three of our portfolio companies have achieved the objective of financial sustainability: Young Enterprise, Unicus and the Asfalt street magazine. These social entrepreneurs transferred at the end of the year to our Alumni portfolio.

Forskerfabrikken (Scientist Factory) arranged more than 100 summer schools.

The Board of Ferd Holding has allocated up to NOK 25 million annually for work with social entrepreneurship. In 2013, NOK 10.7 million (2012: NOK 11.6 million) was spent on the portfolio and NOK 4.5 million (2012: NOK 7 million) was spent on activities to promote social entrepreneurship in Norway. FSE has staff resources equivalent to 2.8 full-time positions. In addition, Ferd's other business areas and subsidiaries support social entrepreneurs with their time and commitment as board members and through other assistance. Further external expertise is made available through pro bono partners from Leidar Creative AS in the area of corporate communications and from Advokatfirmaet Schødt in the area of legal services.

Ferd Social Entrepreneurs has chosen to apply a focused strategy for its interpretation of social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurs must play a part in solving social problems while at the same time demonstrating a good likelihood that their activities will be financially self sufficient over time. FSE has defined children and young people as the area in which it seeks to promote social entrepreneurship.

The Pøbel project has now helped 1,246 young people.

The number of enquiries received increased from 243 in 2012 to over 400 in 2013. The number of enquiries received using the application form almost doubled. There was also a sizeable increase in direct enquiries by mail and telephone. In order to provide wider access, FSE holds "Open House" events in order to share information and expertise with more of the people making enquiries who would otherwise be turned down by telephone. This concept makes it possible for FSE to transfer expertise to far more people, and further events will be held in 2014.

The members of the FSE team and the Chairman of Ferd are frequent speakers at both public sector and private sector events. Their main message is that investment in social entrepreneurship is a good investment.

FSE makes very active use of social media, and uses its website pages, Facebook and Twitter as its main communication channels.

In formal terms, FSE had been in existence for four years by the end of 2013. Over the course of this period, FSE has established and tested its working methodology, evaluated its performance and modified its approach as necessary.

The active part of the portfolio included eight social entrepreneurs at the end of 2013.

There was only one new addition to the portfolio in 2013: Lyk-z og døtre, which won the Social Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2012. Lyk-z og døtre works with young people to help them clarify their life goals and make sound strategic decisions.

We have experienced a marked improvement in the quality of the entries for our annual Social Entrepreneur of the Year award. The winner of the 2013 award was Epleslang. This company offers to harvest apples from gardens and orchards where the apples would otherwise not be picked. Its workforce comprises people with physical disabilities or learning difficulties. The apples are used to produce Oslo's best apple juice, and the producer, Abildsø Gård in Oslo, is also a social entrepreneur. 

The objective for all our investments is that the social entrepreneurs in the portfolio should become self-sufficient over a period of 3-6 years. The progress made by the social entrepreneurs in the portfolio has now allowed us to establish an Alumni portfolio at year-end for the social entrepreneurs that have achieved the objective of financial sustainability. The social entrepreneurs that move to the Alumni portfolio retain their contacts with the company and its network. FSE will continue to monitor these social entrepreneurs in order to follow their development and the social results they achieve.

  • The Asfalt street magazine is now profitable. In fact, it is now in such a sound financial position that it has been able to invest in another social entrepreneur, the newly established Gatejuristen in Stavanger.
  • Unicus, the unique consulting firm that only employs people with Asperger's syndrome, is now producing such good financial results that it is also able to stand on its own feet.

Young Enterprise is the third of the portfolio companies to transfer to the Alumni portfolio. Young Enterprise has scaled up its activities, with extensive national coverage. The programs for children and young people run by Young Enterprise are in many respects the best way for us to reach out to the next generation.

Future prospects
2013 saw the publication for the first time of a calculation of the social benefits generated by our portfolio. This is an important advance for the professionalisation of our activities. We have documented the quantitative development of our portfolio since it was first established. This has given us a good overview of how many young people become involved, how the scaling of the activities has progressed and, not least, how the commercial viability of the various social entrepreneurs has developed, stagnated or deteriorated. However, Vista Analyse has now supported this process by providing figures for the productivity benefits to society of helping young people out of reliance on the social security system and getting them back on track. The extensive and in some respects path-breaking work on measuring the benefits achieved has also had a positive effect by prompting requests for us to share our experience with investors in other countries. We wish to be sure that our entrepreneurs do generate social results, and this research will help us to understand the factors that create such results.

We intend to continue in 2014 to play our part in encouraging wider participation in social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship needs more investors and supporters, either through direct involvement with social businesses or by establishing funds or other structures.

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