Helen Nilsson and Gunnel Mörtlund at the Coompanion office in "The house of Cooperatives" in Luleå, Sweden / © Elena Peverada
Who we are
Coompanion Norrbotten is an economic association giving advice to people who want to start cooperative businesses. We offer expertise and education in social entrepreneurship. Coompanion has 25 separate regional offices and a total of 120 employees in Sweden. We all collaborate on a national level and are included in different networks on EU and international level concerning entrepreneurship, social economy, social franchising, cooperative values and businesses. Each Coompanion office gets financial support from the government to promote cooperative entrepreneurship in their region. We are also financed by our members and of course by providing services to our customers.
Why we are involved in SEMPRE
When the opportunity with SEMPRE came along we immediately went inspired about the idea and eager to jump on the train and join the collaboration. The topic of SEMPRE fits very well with Coompanions aim as an organisation and the problem addressed in the project is a mayor concern in our region. We could easily see our contribution and opportunities with the project. To get to know new partners and learn from them and the situation in their countries adds a massive amount of value to the region of Norrbotten and to us as an organization and will hopefully give fruit far beyond the project timeline.
What will be the most important result of SEMPRE?
That migrants in Norrbotten are empowered and have improved possibilities to create their own work through entrepreneurship. Social service providers have improved their innovative capacity to meet social needs with the help of migrants involvement.
Whom we are working with
Coompanion is focusing on two Local Empowerment Networks in the very North of Sweden – one in Luleå and one in Övertorneå. The end-user group in Luleå is migrants with permanent residence permit and in Övertorneå the end-user group is asylum seekers. The unemployment rate among migrants in Norrbotten is higher than among natives. The municipalities are anxious to integrate migrants in the society and the labor market and thereby make the migrants feel welcome and stay in their community. Norrbotten, including the LEN-locations, is undoubtedly in need of extra workforce to maintain service in our demographically challenged region. One key factor is language and language training. Another factor is job creation. By the SEMPRE project we hope to combine these factors with a common focus on entrepreneurship. Our local partners are the Swedish unemployment agency, the municipalities of Luleå and Övertorneå, migrants with experience of starting up businesses in Sweden, Tornedalens folk high school amongst others.
On a regional level we cooperate closely with Sunderby folk high school, which also is a project partner in SEMPRE. Together with Sunderby we collaborate with a number of regional authorities, politicians and experts.