Incubating social enterprise with the BENISI project
27 June 2016 - Rania Samara

3 years ago, the BENISI project began with a mission to find 300 promising social innovations, and track them as they scaled up and created a positive impact in the world. In April of this year, the project finished, and now we can all share what they learned. The Scaling Guide is now available online at]

BENISI stands for Building a European Network of Incubators for Social Innovation, and the project was as much as about creating the ties between the social innovators of Europe as it was about sharing in what they learned. The BENISI consortium is made of 13 partners over seven countries, each with a specific expertise in social innovation and incubation. Six Impact Hubs were involved, each one responsible for a different region.

Impact Hub Stockholm was responsible for following 26 projects in Scandinavia and the Baltic region. Three of those projects came from Sweden, and they are all active at Impact Hub Stockholm. 

My Dream Now works out of the Impact Hub Stockholm offices. Their mission is to bring successful professionals from different fields into schools to connect with underprivileged youth. My Dream Now creates a powerful social impact through these connections. The volunteer mentors show these young people the opportunities and challenges in higher education and professional life. The youth benefit by being shown a path to success, and the mentors benefit by building a legacy based on their own success and hard-won knowledge.

During the BENISI project, My Dream Now scaled their enterprise to reach out to more youngster across Sweden. My Dream Now increased its annual revenue from 1.3 million SEK in 2014 to 2.4 million SEK in 2015 and it is targeting a revenue of 3.8 million SEK by the end of 2016. They now have presence in four major cities in Sweden. Their partners are mainly organizations with international reach, which allows them to initiate international expansion conversations with the same partners (in Europe and Africa). My Dream Now has already reached 1100 beneficiaries and is currently only available in Sweden.
Matte Centrum is a non-profit organization that offers free help to children to improve their skill in mathematics. The association was founded in 2008 and now is helping more than 300,000 children and youth with maths skills every month.

Over the span of BENISI, Matte Centrum increased its annual revenue by around 435K Euros and expects this amount to increase to 1.6 million EUR by the end of 2016. By expanding into new cities in Sweden, Matte Centrum scaled its impact its home country and also scaled into Denmark. By offering free mathematics classes and online content, Matte Centrum has reached 3,000,000 online visitors in both countries per year, as well as 350,000 students per month for maths labs. Matte Centrum is available in four languages in order to enable the scaling progress even further.  

Benisi named IT-Guide the Best Social Enterprise of the year in Sweden, and for good reason. This project connects newly-arrived young people with IT skills and Swedish seniors. The youth are trained to teach their IT skills to the seniors.

The enterprise is very simple, but the benefits are enormous. By working as an IT-guide, the young people gain confidence in the Swedish language, and they learn valuable skills for their resume. Since they are in regular contact with Swedish seniors, they also learn about Swedish society and history. The combination of language, cultural knowledge, and workplace skills makes them feel far more included in their new country.

The seniors also benefit in multiple ways. By learning new skills, they feel like participants in the digital world. They build positive, personal relationships with young immigrants, and come to understand the place of these people in their society. And they have the opportunity to shape this generation of New Swedes by sharing their knowledge and their cultural legacy.

Impact Hub Stockholm has always been a strong supporter of the social innovators who are working to meet Europe’s challenges.  Through BENISI, we helped to build a Europe-wide network of incubators capable of supporting new solutions to Europe’s most pressing social and environmental needs. We will continue to deliver the support services that help wonderful projects like IT-Guide, Matte Centrum, and My Dream Now scale successfully across the continent.



Rania Samara is passionate about business growth and puts her deeply analytical mindset to work as the Performance Marketing Manager at Twigeo.