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Uplifting entrepreneurs with a foreign background: “Great role models”

Published: 27 September 2022, 12:01 Updated: 29 September 2022, 17:03The founder and CEO Rafael Bermejo is honored in SEB’s The Next Awards. It is usually the foundation IFS that hands out awards to others. Now it is the founder and CEO Rafael Bermejo who is honored in SEB’s The Next Awards for his work by paying tribute to and highlighting successful entrepreneurs with a foreign background. – The prize money is to be used to make visible how important this group of entrepreneurs is to the Swedish business world, he says. In 1999, the Årets Nybyggare award was awarded for the first time in Sweden. The background was that the entrepreneur Rafael Bermejo had discovered that a great many Swedes had a stereotyped and incorrect image of the kind of businesses run by entrepreneurs with an immigrant background. – It did not agree at all with my image of the entrepreneurs I had had the privilege of meeting. After all, this group represents a cross-section of all business in our country, and it became important for me to highlight it. In 2000, King Carl XVI Gustaf became patron of the Settler of the Year award. – That gave it additional shine. I don’t think everyone understands how significant this award has become, it’s like the Nobel Prize for our entrepreneurs with a foreign background. In addition to New Builder of the Year, Rafael Bermejo has devoted a large part of his working life to supporting and highlighting this group of entrepreneurs in various ways, for example with advisory agencies with information in many different languages, help with translation, finding financing and much more.

“Many times have to fight harder than many others”

Now the IFS Foundation has been awarded the Community prize in The Next Awards, and a prize sum of SEK 250,000. – I feel so honoured, not only for my own sake, but because with this appointment you also highlight the entrepreneurship of this group, it’s great. – It is a fantastic award that SEB has instituted, not least because it points forward and not backwards. Rafael Bermejo says that the prize money should be used to make entrepreneurs with an immigrant background much more visible. – We must get the common man and the Swedish business community to see that it is an extremely important aspect for Sweden’s future that this large group of entrepreneurs is seen and taken advantage of. We want to be there and build bridges. – It must be remembered that they must operate in an environment where they are not infrequently met with mistrust from the start. They often have to fight harder than many others. They are great role models. The New Settler of the Year award grows every year. – This year we had 240 qualified nominees who together had a turnover of over SEK 6 billion. Of course it’s fantastic.Are you interested in participating? Here you can apply for The Next Awards 2023.

Motivation of the jury

“The IFS foundation is an important part of the Swedish ecosystem for entrepreneurship. Since 1996, they have annually awarded the Årets nybyggare award to celebrate and make visible successful entrepreneurs with a foreign background. In addition to showing good role models, they also want to increase interest in entrepreneurship and inspire more people to start businesses.” The article is produced by Brand Studio in collaboration with SEB and not an article by Dagens industri

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