Ferd’s social entrepreneurship
Norwegian company Ferd believes business and positive social change go hand in hand
For more than 15 years Ernst & Young has been recognizing the best high-growth entrepreneurs and their companies through their World Entrepreneur of the Year. In June the most inspiring entrepreneurs will meet in Monaco to compete for the global award. The importance of entrepreneurship as a leading source of innovation, job creation, and global economic growth is increasingly clear. By challenging orthodox methods and creating new markets for goods and services, high-growth entrepreneurs are positively disrupting the way we do business and enhance our quality of life.
This year’s prize for “family business” was awarded to Johan H. Andresen in the Ferd Group for taking a traditional tobacco products company, which had existed for four generations, into new markets with new products and services. He is burning for young entrepreneurship and has a passion for social entrepreneurship, of which he was one of the pioneers in Norway.
Ferd wants to show that investments in social entrepreneurship are excellent value creation. Today they have more than 10 such companies in their portfolio. Among them is Monsterbedriften, which was acquired in 2014. It is a specialist contractor for the construction industry and undertakes bathroom removals as well as all other types of tasks involving manual labor. Most of the employees are ex-offenders or individuals with a history of substance abuse. Another is Seema, which works to promote greater diversity in the Norwegian labor market by increasing the proportion of women from multicultural backgrounds in senior management and middle-management positions. A third one is Lyk-z & døtre, which offers tools and a foundation for people to clarify their life goals and make sound strategic decisions for their own lives, based on their own values and qualities.
Ferd is interested in social entrepreneurs that promote personal development for children and young people and that help to ensure that they make full use of their potential for the benefit of society as well as their own future. All the projects must have clear objectives in this area. The business concept must offer good opportunities to generate a financial surplus that will allow the operation to achieve its objectives and continue to grow so that it can benefit as many people as possible.
According to a recent study, more than 30 percent of the public was familiar with social entrepreneurship. The group most likely to have heard about this concept was men over 65 years, most of whom had heard about it from traditional media sources rather than from social media. This was a surprise to Ferd, which thought social media the key forum.
Johan H. Andresen wants to create enduring value and leave clear footprints!
This article originally appeared in the Jan. 29, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.