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Gender equality in innovation – a winning concept for SSE Business Lab’s star jury

The conscious leaders of tomorrow are flocking to the Stockholm School of Economics’ startup incubator SSE Business Lab. During the summer, eight new teams will start their journey at the incubator, where they will get a boost in building their companies through the programs.

With two unicorn companies in its portfolio and a much more equal distribution of capital than the industry at large, the Stockholm School of Economics’ incubator is an attractive jumping-off point for early stage ventures. When a startup applies to the incubator at the Stockholm School of Economics, they are not only judged on their business potential – the companies need to show that they have devoted serious thought to sustainability, equality and diversity. After this process, the next step is to try to impress the star-studded Board of Admissions, with notable names like Sebastian Knutsson, Donna Hanafi and Mattias Miksche. Only the companies that consistently show high potential are accepted into the programs.

Gender equality and diversity have long been important factors in the selection process. During 2021, 57 percent of the capital raised went to mixed teams, and a whopping 74 percent went to startups with women CEO:s. Of the recently admitted companies, a majority is made up of mixed teams. The business ideas range from sustainable athleisure clothing for children to an app that supports women throughout their fertility journey.

The diversity is something that Sebastian Knutsson, founder of King and chairman of the incubator’s Board of Admissions, values highly:

“Even if they operate in different areas, all the companies we take in are made up of strong teams with promising ideas. To us, it’s important to admit diverse companies into Business Lab, since they can then enrich each other and create synergies,” he says.

Two incubator programs for different stages

This summer, four of the companies start in Activate, an eight-week acceleration program. Another four are starting their journey in the Incubate program, where they can receive support for up to 18 months. The teams are offered support such as coaching, workshops, office space at A house, partners and a mentorship program within the programs. The companies also gain access to SSE Business Lab’s investor network, known for having supported companies like Budbee, Voi Technology and Klarna at an early stage.

SSE Business Lab’s CEO Julia Delin thinks the continued emphasis on gender equality in the teams over time will eventually change the inequalities of the startup world:

“That we attract companies valuing diversity and equality from the very beginning is what made it possible for us to have such an exceptional capital distribution in 2021,” she says. “With more conscious entrepreneurs, it becomes much easier to change the structural problems in today’s startup ecosystem.”

The following companies have been admitted:

The Incubate program:

Fleetm8: The comprehensive digital solution for documenting maritime events.

Norn: Prepares and supports pioneers, creators and creatives with building, establishing and growing their communities in Web3 through NFT:s.

Polytope: Flexible software development platform helping development teams simplify their digital infrastructure.

Tilly: Personalising fertility support across physical and mental pain points.

The Activate program:

Anyki: The next generation of athleisure and activewear for the youth.

Chip: Read and support media without a subscription.

Remedi: A symptom-evaluating engine that automizes and streamlines the entrance to healthcare.

Root-E: A marketplace platform to solve climate change issues by connecting investors and individuals with cleantech project developers.

About SSE Business Lab:

SSE Business Lab is the startup incubator of Stockholm School of Economics. Support is provided through three programs: Ideate, Activate and Incubate. The programs are open to students, alumni and faculty of the Stockholm School of Economics. SSE Business Lab offers coaching, mentorship, workshops and connections to a network of alumni and investors as well as first-class partners, such as Assessio, Scrive, Grosshandelssocieteten as part of Stockholms Borgerskap and PE Accounting.

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