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Sweden Zebras – Business as UNusual?

Sweden Zebras

Did you miss the launch of the Sweden Zebras on the 9th of December 2021? Don’t worry! This blog post is a recap of the event.

Zebras Unite is a global movement wanting to counter the Unicorn mindset that is today’s “business as usual”. Fed up with the profit-driven corporate landscape that leaves very little space for sustainability and purpose-driven businesses, they wanted a change. In other words, they call upon a more sustainable, empathic, and humane business approach

This message resonated a lot with us, Kristina Pihlblad Bohnerth and Morgane Meignen. We both met within a network of impact entrepreneurs. A combined interest in creating a positive impact on society made us join forces. We felt we didn’t really “fit the part” as female founders who wanted to create something sustainable. The Venture Capital world is strongly male-dominated, tech and innovation-driven. If you don’t tick off all the boxes, you don’t get attention. We didn’t have high-tech solutions nor were they super innovative, but didn’t we deserve a chance at least? 

“Viewing the world through the lens of venture capital not only limits the types of companies that can access funding to grow, but it also limits the range of opportunities investors can access for returns.”

“Zebras Unite believes that everyone has an equal right to imagine and create the future. We catalyze community, capital, and culture for people building businesses that are better for the world. We are both international and intersectional and are a founder-led movement for and by founders, investors, thought leaders, and practitioners of all different stripes.”

Why take the movement to Sweden?

Overall, the Swedish economy is led by tech startups and SMEs. 65% of the employed population of Sweden works in SMEs. 80% of the employment market is dedicated to the tertiary sector, driven by telecommunications and IT. Sometimes referred to as ‘the land of the unicorns’, Sweden is one of the regions of the world with the highest concentration of unicorns per capita, with names like Klarna, Northvolt or Spotify. Moreover startups and SME fundings, in majority led by venture capitals such as ALMI Invest or Vinnova, are allocated to the tech industry, including gaming, e-commerce, AI, IofT or virtual reality. Sweden is ranking no.2 on the Global Innovation Index 2021

As a result, we just launched the Sweden Zebras movement and could not be happier with the result. The participants were engaged and as excited about this as we are. They agreed that the Zebras need to claim more space, also in the Swedish corporate world. 

After our presentation on who we were and why it makes sense to take the movement to Sweden, we asked our participants to answer a survey. These were the questions: 

  • What kind of change do you want to see in today’s corporate landscape?
  • How can today’s businesses and/or employers contribute better to people’s well-being?
  • What would you like us to focus on as changemakers and sustainability professionals?

Please help us gather more insights and ideas, fill out the survey yourself.

Key takeaways for Sweden Zebras

The discussion was great. Overall participants felt that the Zebras manifesto summarizes the change they are looking for. Sweden Zebras want a more purpose-driven business landscape. We want to see a change in the norms when it comes to employees’ well-being and mental health. Diversity & inclusion is a key topic for us. We believe that corporate spaces need to make room for reflection around connecting with oneself and with other stakeholders.

Our main ideas involve rethinking the leadership in our society: be more open to individuals with different backgrounds, enable individuals to have a sense of purpose and embrace innovative management methods.

In conclusion, let’s make sustainability the norm, think long-term and be human-driven. Isn’t it all what it boils down to – to make people understand why this is important and how we can change it?

What’s next?

The last thing that was said was “Keep up the good work”, and that we intend to do.

Stay tuned for our in-depth summary of the survey. It will be posted as a separate blog post before Christmas.

The next event is on the 20th of January to kick off 2022 and make it a Sweden Zebra year! Please join our Linkedin group to gather all updates. See you all there!

Thank you so much to you who joined our launch or to you who read this post. Thank you for wanting to be a part of this mission of impact changemakers.

For more background read our other blog post about the Zebra movement.

(Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno on Unsplash)

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