IKEA has long since had the vision to create a better everyday life for as many people as possible. Back in 2012, we looked at how to achieve this by including products and services from social entrepreneurs in our offer. These first collaborations resulted in over 100 jobs created. Today, these business partnerships contribute to over 20,000 jobs and incomes.
Building on the success, we’ve looked to support programmes that accelerate the movement of social entrepreneurship in general. Supporting social enterprises with a vision to create a more inclusive and equal society we hope to have a positive impact on people’s livelihoods. At the same time, we are continuing to look for new and innovative partnerships that will offer IKEA customers unique handmade collections and services.
Today, we back and boost social entrepreneurs all over the world, as well as expanding the business we do together. That way, we get to be a part of creating new opportunities for vulnerable people and communities – while fighting the root causes of poverty and inequality.
In everything we do, we have the empowerment of vulnerable and marginalised people, social entrepreneurs and other partners in focus. We lead by what we do, and share our learnings to find solutions and support the activities of social entrepreneurs. This way, we want to contribute to significant and lasting change.
We focus on three things
By focusing on inclusion, equality and livelihood we enable a better everyday life for people who struggle to provide for themselves and their families. To achieve this, every project we engage in should address and positively affect one or all of these three areas.
InclusionSupporting social entrepreneurs who strive to improve the terms on which individuals and groups take part in society. This involves providing jobs, incomes, capabilities and tools to those who are vulnerable and marginalised irrespective of their individual or group characteristics.
EqualityWorking with social entrepreneurs who look to make society more equal in terms of income, status, rights and opportunity. This involves supporting individuals or groups, but also changing systems, with a view to allow people to earn a decent and sustainable living.
LivelihoodUltimately aiming to lift people out of poverty by having the opportunity to earn a decent living. With increased inclusion and equality comes a better chance of a dignified life, where people have the possibility to provide for themselves and their families in a sustainable way.
This is how we work
Partnerships that inspire change
Our work is about inspiring and engaging others to make a change. It’s a collaboration between us, civil society organisations and social entrepreneurs. By doing business with social entrepreneurs and giving them access to our supply chain, we also create real and sustainable opportunities. To highlight the equal partnering, we focus on mutual learning and build on each other’s strengths. We look at how to use our knowledge and experience to help social entrepreneurs grow and have a bigger impact.
Through real businessPartnering with social entrepreneurs at a business level, we design and produce products and services that are sold and offered at IKEA stores worldwide. It is a win-win situation with high quality products manufactured and vulnerable peoples lives changed through the jobs created.
IKEA co-worker engagementWhat’s really unique about us is how we use our colleagues as a resource. Their involvement ranges from operational support for social entrepreneurs who make products for IKEA, to strategic development for the ones that don’t provide products or services for IKEA. At the same time, it gives us the opportunity to learn how to become more circular, sustainable and entrepreneurial in our business. It’s a relationship built on knowledge sharing, a mutual exchange of competences and inspiration.
Financial support to our partnersSince the characteristics and needs of each social entrepreneur are different, we will customize our financial support. This will be a choice between grants - without the demand for repayment or financial return -, loans and equity investments.
The Theory of Change
This is a roadmap that outlines the steps by which we plan to achieve our goals.
- Social businesses grow by becoming suplliers to IKEA
- IKEA customers get unique and affordable products and services
- Social businesses grow through programmes and direcet support
- IKEA co-workers engage and offer know-how to social businesses
- IKEA gains valuable knowledge and inspiration from social businesses
- People who need it most get better work and steady incomes
- People get access to education, healthcare, housing, etc.
- IKEA expands this way of working and inspires other companies to do the same
- People who need it most have a greater chance at living a better everyday life - within a more inclusive and sustainable society
The approach to achieve our goals
EmpowermentWe focus on empowerment of vulnerable and marginalised people and the support of social entrepreneurs and other partners. We believe this is the only way to contribute to significant and lasting change.
InnovationWe work with piloting and continuous innovation, both by finding new solutions with partners and supporting the activities of social entrepreneurs.
Lead by exampleWe lead by what we do and by sharing our learnings to enable others to advance the social entrepreneurship agenda.
Co-creationBy co-creating, we find new ways of working, discover synergies and encourage learning and sharing of competencies.
TrustBuilding strong and long-lasting relationships internally and externally is crucial to maximise our outcome.
TransparencyWe are open about both positive and negative experiences, learnings and results and strive to be clear about expectations, division of responsibilities and labour and how to solve issues that we may encounter on the way, both internally and externally.
To challenge ourselves, we will share our knowledge and embrace new ways of working. We aim to be as transparent as possible so that others can learn from our success stories as well as from our shortcomings.