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Nine firms join NESsT-Ikea Social Entrepreneurship scheme in South America

Published: 21 June 2024

Staff at the Swedish flat-pack furniture giant will help the social entrepreneurs build a more inclusive, sustainable economy and create opportunities for local communities.

group of bees flying near their burrows
One of the social enterprises on the scheme is a business in Chile that sources sustainable honey and bee products from small beekeepers in the Chiloé region of Chile | Rodrigo Sepulveda on iStock

NESsT, a global impact investor and venture philanthropist, and IKEA Social Entrepreneurship said nine social enterprises are set to join its joint South America accelerator programme. Since its foundation in 2020, the scheme has supported 17 businesses through IKEA outlets in Chile, Colombia and Peru. 

Last year, the two organisations extended their partnership to invest in 22 additional social enterprises in the three countries, which are expected to generate 2,500 jobs.

The first nine social enterprises include a collaborative recycling platform in Colombia, a family-owned sustainable beekeeper in Chile and a Colombian association supporting close to 500 small-scale coffee farmers, 30% of whom are women.

“By investing in their effective, innovative solutions, we are fostering a more inclusive and sustainable economy, strengthening communities that are marginalised, and driving lasting change,” said Kirsten Dueck, chief executive officer of NESsT. 

The current programme builds on the success of the initial accelerator programme in the region, which invested in 17 social enterprises and successfully maintained 1,500 jobs for excluded individuals. 41% percent of these businesses were led by indigenous individuals, women, and local community members.  

Dueck called the partnership between NESsT and IKEA Social Entrepreneurship “a transformative step toward addressing South America’s deep-rooted income inequalities and environmental challenges”.


The work of the nine enterprises will create “opportunities that will benefit their local communities for years to come,” said Åsa Skogström Feldt, managing director at IKEA Social Entrepreneurship.

The local entrepreneurs will be able to tap into the vast business knowledge and experience of IKEA workers in Chile, Colombia, and Peru as well as IKEA global through mentoring and masterclasses in topics ranging from innovation to enhancing efficiency and the introduction of new products and services.

“By connecting participating entrepreneurs with IKEA co-workers eager to share their expertise and experiences, we ensure each social enterprise receives tailored guidance to grow while fostering inclusive practices and equitable opportunities,” said Bernardita Correa Díaz, sustainability leader at IKEA Chile, Colombia, and Peru. “We hope to ignite the same passion for a sustainable business model in other companies and industries throughout the region.” 

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