A man in a yellow apron stands in the middle of rows of yellow yarn hung out to dry in the sun.

Designed to create jobs

We want to play our part in creating a fairer, more equal society. So, we’re always looking for new ways to include and support marginalised groups. One way is partnering with social entrepreneurs across the world. By backing their efforts, we not only help empower people, by tapping into traditional artisanal skills we can also offer our customers unique handmade collections and tailor-made services.

We live in a world where millions of people are marginalised and excluded. Whether for-profit or non-profit, social entrepreneurs address this issue. They are innovative pioneers whose business ideas are based on making people and societies thrive.
Dan Virgil turns wood on a lathe at a factory in Rumania.
Social Entrepreneurs, MBQ, Mesteshukar Butiq Rumania. Wood turner Dan Virgil

We started working with social entrepreneurs in 2012. Since then the initiative has grown steadily. Today there are 27 partners in 15 countries – all creating jobs for people who need it most – and the number keeps growing.

Together, we co-create handmade collections and offer tailor-made services available in selected stores and countries, and also products sold globally. The unique items in limited edition collections such as ANNANSTANS, HANTVERK, and VÄLGÖRANDE – and many more – lean on the expertise of artisans from different parts of the world and on traditional handicraft techniques and materials.

Teaming up with social entrepreneurs gives us a chance to contribute to positive social change where it’s most needed.

Vaishali Misra Business Leader IKEA Next Generation Social Entrepreneurs.

This way of working gives us the chance to contribute to creating jobs for local artisans, mostly women, giving them and their families a chance of a better future. Not only that – thanks to the designers, product developers and other IKEA co-workers, the social entrepreneurs gain a deeper knowledge of how to meet the demands of a global market. But it’s a two-way street – the partnerships are also a way for us to learn more about how to become an even more sustainable and entrepreneurial business.

“More and more companies realise that philanthropy isn’t enough, that it’s necessary to engage in the local communities. If we can be part of making social business mainstream and sustainable in the long run, that’s fantastic. Also, by being as transparent as possible we’ll hopefully enable and inspire other companies and organisations to join the movement”, says Vaishali Misra.

Close up of the hands of an artisan weaving a rug.