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Helping keep entrepreneurs ticking along in Stockholm

Helping keep entrepreneurs ticking along in Stockholm
The Stockholm School of Economics not only trains the next generation of executives, it also serves as a laboratory for budding entrepreneurs to get ventures like hi-tech watchmaker Mutewatch off the ground.

In addition to educating the next generations of executives, a primary role of any business school is to foster and nurture entrepreneurial talent among its students.

With this in mind, the Stockholm School of Economics combines a broad range of courses and activities designed to give students best possible start, as well as providing vital support in running their own businesses for the future.

As a result of its proactive search for new talent, before, during and even after their education, the school serves as an ideal breeding ground, both within the curriculum and beyond. Several courses dealing with entrepreneurship are on offer, both mandatory ones from the first two years and selective courses later.

These include programmes and courses from SSES (Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship), while outside “school time,” Handels runs the SSE Business Lab, an incubator for students at the school wanting start their own business.

The SSE Business Lab, provides help and advice from mentors regarding strategy, product or service pricing, financial advice and other issues. It also offers free office space.

Livia Moore’s company Mutewatch (www.mutewatch.com) is a perfect example of how the school can provide a platform for success. The firm, which produces a high-end, hi-tech multi-function watch, actually started out as an entry for an ideas competition at SSE, where founder and current CEO Mai-Li Hammargren studied, along with Moore.

Together with an engineering student from KTH, they started up the now thriving business, which has received endorsements from the likes of designer Karl Lagerfeld, and been described by Apple guru Steve Wozniak, as “Very creative and unique. It’s a masterpiece of combining materials in ways I’ve never seen before.”

“Our first office was a place called Nya Kontoret – mainly an office space for young artists. However, after about one year, we moved into SSE Business Lab,” says Moore, who is Brand Manager, UK and US Sales Manager and a partner at the firm, handling the external communication for Mutewatch, and managing social media channels, product packaging, photo shoots, campaigns, events, exhibitions and more.

“My task is to make sure that all communication is in line with the brand image that we hope to maintain”, she explains. It is a busy role that takes her all around the world.

Livia Moore believes that it is more than just the direct, practical help offered by the school, which helps out students looking to start out in business.

“I think the most important thing when starting and running your own company is to really believe in yourself and your idea. This will take you very far,” she says.

Since its launch Mutewatch has gone from strength to strength, recently picking up the coveted Red Dot Design Award and enjoying high profile support from design conscious shops and businesses all over the world.

It is these kinds of footsteps that many of the younger students will be keen to follow. The school in turn, does its best to attract them, with several competitions over and above the normal entry tests.

One such project is the Young Business Creator of the Year competition, an ”Idol- like” format, which gives prospective students the chance to compete for a place on one of SSE’s Bachelor programmes by demonstrating their ideas and vision.

The need to discover such prospects early is paramount, according to SSE Director of Communications Carina Aspenberg.

“The benefits for us are many. In a new and creative way we have a chance to increase our diversity and attract people from different parts of the country and different backgrounds. We see it is a fun way of awaking interest in young creative people to drive their passion,” she says.

21-year-old Sara Ryve, who won the 2011 award won a place at SSE to study Business and Economics. Ryve, who started her first business at the age of 17, ran her own dance company and is typical of the kind of young talents that the school hopes to develop during their stay.

With role models like Livia Moore for Ryve to look up to, the reputation of the school, and by extension Stockholm as a whole, looks set to carry on rising among the business elite.


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