The objective of Snjallræði: Startup Social is to provide individuals, NGOs and companies with a platform to develop their social innovation ideas and find ways to make them sustainable. The ideas must have a clear and positive social impact and support one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs. Startup Social is open to all ideas in all stages, from fresh thoughts to developed projects and businesses.
Startup Social is a 16-week incubator that supports strong teams that are passionate about solutions to contemporary challenges and supporting the UN's sustainable development goals. There can be solutions relating to health care, welfare technology, improved education systems and gender equality, for example.
Startup Social was founded by Höfði Peace Centre in 2018 and has been run five times since its inception. The growth space is in collaboration with MITdesignX, is the focal point of the workshops where MIT experts come to Iceland and share their knowledge. Participants receive access to education and training from domestic and foreign experts in the field of social affairs and innovation, and meetings with experienced mentors.
The goal of the growth space is to promote innovation that addresses contemporary challenges and is thus an important platform for community start-ups. The focus is on promoting sustainability in innovation and building start-ups that directly support one or more of the UN's global goals from the first steps.
Social innovation involves utilizing the methodology of innovation and design thinking to tackle societal challenges and build systems and solutions that include benefits for people and the environment and therefore for society as a whole.
The teams involved in Startup Social get to participate in four two-day workshops in Iceland hosted by Svafa Grönfeldt and her colleague from MIT designX. The workshops take place every four weeks, but in between, the teams are guided by the most skilled experts in Iceland to further develop the solutions. The workshops are thematic and address different aspects of the development process, from needs and stakeholders analysis, design of a sustainable business model, pine making losses and budgets to networking and conduct.
The Startup Social program in 2023 takes place every other week. The MIT designX workshops are four. In between the workshops, Reykjavik University, the University of Iceland, the University of Akureyri and the Iceland Academy of the Arts will host workshops. In addition, participants meet the mentors four times over the course of the period and participate in various events.
September 1-2: Understand
What problems are being solved and who will benefit from the solution?
September 15: University workshop one
September 28 – 29: Solve
What is the solution and what are the benefits of it for stakeholders?
October 13: University workshop two
October 26-27 : Envision
What do we want to achieve, and what values are the basis for decision-making?
November 10: University workshop three
November 23-24: Execution
What is the best way to implement, scale it and finance it?
November 30: University workshop four