Handcrafted collections and products produced in collaboration with social businesses are sold in IKEA stores worldwide. For several years, IKEA has been working with social entrepreneurs to create a better everyday life through long-term job opportunities and livelihood for people who need it the most. The social businesses produce unique handcrafted products in order to create financial independence and life-changing opportunities for marginalized groups and women in vulnerable communities. The ability to earn an income also has a direct and positive effect on nearly 150,000 family members of these artisans today.
To be for even more of the many, IKEA has taken the decision to extend the scope and the goal is to increase the number of jobs from today’s 30,000 jobs to 95,000 until 2025. “I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished, but I know that we can do much more. We have built strong business relationship with our partners for many years, and now we are happy to join hands with a few additional highly established social businesses, and together we will be scaling up the social entrepreneur business,” says Vaishali Misra, Business Leader, IKEA Social Entrepreneurs Initiative.
IKEA will extend the business together with existing partners, supporting with knowledge and expertise around design, production and working environment. In addition to this, new scalable partners will be identified as social business partners to IKEA and create positive change for more people. As a result, more jobs will be created, and IKEA will increase the offering of high quality, handmade and unique design enabled through craft traditional techniques products in the stores worldwide.
“It’s a working relationship based on inspiration, knowledge sharing, and mutual exchange of competencies. The social entrepreneurs ensure a diverse and unique product offer. On its part, IKEA uses its network to supply the enterprises with affordable, high-quality raw material, extending their infrastructure to the social enterprises. By doing this on a high scale, we could also inspire other retailers to do the same. That’s what I call impact!” says Vaishali Misra.
In addition to the Social Entrepreneurs initiative, several local social entrepreneurs partner up with IKEA retail markets, providing services and products upcycled from IKEA Textile waste and local food products.
Since 2019, IKEA has also been supporting social enterprises worldwide through accelerator programs that are not directly related to the IKEA business. The ambition has been to expand ways of supporting social enterprises to scale up their impact through grants, loans, IKEA co-worker mentorship, business development and more; testing, piloting and finding new ways of creating lasting change.