Nick Kaye, CEO at SSES
Along with the five leading universities and colleges in Stockholm, SSES (Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship) offers inspiration and education in entrepreneurship. Nick Kaye, CEO of SSES, will tell about their work.
“The non-profit organization, SSES, consists of the School of Economics, the Karolinska Institute, the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm University and the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design. Together, we’re working to strengthen entrepreneurship in Sweden,” says Nick, and continues: “SSES offers a skills base in practical entrepreneurship for students from our five member schools. With us, they get to take advantage of everything from courses and programmes to workshops and events.”
Nick goes on to describe SSES and what makes the configuration so unique. “What makes SSES special is that classes are given a mixture of several different disciplines, such as economics, engineering, medicine and art. From the global point of view, this kind of cooperation is unusual. When SSES was launched in the 1990s, there were other initiatives that combined engineering and business studies. We stood out because, right from the start, we included medicine in cooperation with the Karolinska Institute. Bringing the faculty of Art into SSES in 2002 gave us yet another dimension, with complementary types of knowledge and skills, to add to the mix of students.”
When students from the various institutes come together in the same classroom they can, with their different backgrounds and areas of interest, help each other realize their business ideas. “We’ve found that some amazing things can be created through these interdisciplinary methods. We’ve seen students moving between schools and designers, artists, doctors, engineers and business people working together and learning from each other’s knowledge and ideas. It’s a format that allows for unique lessons that are hard to beat,” says Nick, and continues:
We have seen amazing things happen through cooperation
“I can draw on a number of examples of businesses that have been created as a result of our events or courses. But the positive effects are not only felt by start-ups. We’ve also had a large number of students who’ve become intrapreneurs in large, established companies.”
For SSES, it’s been important to always be relevant and to continue to roll out the platform. “Every day we ask ourselves: how can we strengthen and stimulate our entrepreneurs and our businesses? We want to constantly reinvent ourselves, so that we can offer students the best possible education. An example of the way in which we like to try out new things is our Start-up Day, an event attended by more than 1,000 delegates who gather together for networking and inspirational purposes. We’ve also conducted a workshop in India with the focus on the future and trend-spotting. Several students told me that it was one of the most incredible things they’d ever experienced.
Although the Erling-Persson Family Foundation was not involved from the outset, their contribution has meant that SSES has been able to grow,” says Nick. “The main idea had already been developed when the Foundation began supporting SSES. But thanks to their contribution, we were able to accelerate faster and build a stronger, more stable platform to stand on. You need a lot of different components to succeed as we have done – you need a bit of a ‘perfect storm’. But an important factor in our success has been the involvement of the Erling-Persson Family Foundation.”
Nick looks to the future with optimism and notes a trend for a more caring society. “It’s more and more about creating something meaningful, and then taking it to a global level. All of our students are interested in the social side, in making a difference and improving people’s lives. It’s not necessarily about making money for them. But about helping to make a better world.”