Sofia Appelgren

Ashoka Fellow
Göteborg, Sweden
Fellow Since 2010


This profile was prepared when Sofia Appelgren was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010.
The New Idea
Sofia is tapping the most driven of immigrant girls in Sweden to launch them into the labor market. She connects with schools and principals to gain the legitimacy that many immigrants place on the education system. She seeks out those with “true will” and ambition and enrolls them in a for-profit program called Mitt Liv (My Life). Mitt Liv partners with traditional companies to build mentor relationships between them and company employees, as well as to expand educational opportunities into the extracurricular space through short courses on Swedish society, life-planning, and labor market competitiveness.

Overturning the structure of traditional mentorship models, Sofia has created a professional solution, creating a win-win, symbiotic interactive program for participating partner companies. She charges companies for participation and services, drawing mentors from company employees and in turn, positions her young participants as experts for the companies. The participants offer their knowledge of immigrant life and markets through paid lectures, participation in consumer research focus groups and testers, forums, and field trips, offering an inside look at globalization.

Furthermore, Sofia’s Mitt Liv program creates a win-win interactive program for these paticipants by building networks, personal relationships, and life-plans—giving them solid contacts for future opportunities and success to incubate their own ideas and develop their entrepreneurial skills.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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