Wietse is the founder of the Sea Ranger Service, the world's first maritime ranger service. As a social enterprise, it builds specially-designed sailing work ships and uses navy veterans to train unemployed youth during an intense bootcamp.
These youth then become Sea Rangers. The Sea Rangers are selected to join a ship and after extensive maritime training, are deployed to assist nations in managing Marine Protected Areas, marine research and conservation of historic shipwrecks.
Social entrepreneurs like Wietse often face challenges in expanding the impact of their work, having limited access to finance, business competencies and networks. By sharing our networks and business knowledge, we can support social enterprises to grow and have a bigger impact. The result is not necessarily a product or service. Instead, it’s about increasing the potential to create lasting social change.
Wietse was one of twelve social entrepreneurs who participated in our Dela accelerator, co-created with our partner Ashoka. He sought guidance on how best to scale his work in order to have a bigger impact and provide job opportunities to even more people. By participating in the Dela accelerator, he received advice from IKEA co-workers and other experts in a series of sessions to challenge and test his strategy to scale the work of Sea Rangers in an effective manner. With the advice from IKEA, Wietse is now establishing a model that can be replicated around the world, to increase his impact, protect more seas and employ more vulnerable people.
By working with social entrepreneurs, IKEA co-workers do not only assist in creating social impact, but they also take inspiration and learn from social entrepreneurs, and take this back to IKEA and their day-to-day work.
Wietse exemplifies World Ocean Day’s theme “The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods”. He shows that the oceans not only enable life within them, which is worth protecting, but it can also improve our lives on the land.