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Norrsken Foundation launches the 'Nobel Prize for Impact' (and we're helping)

The Norrsken Foundation, which was founded by the billionaire Swedish entrepreneur Niklas Adalberth, has just launched its Impact100 -- a new prize celebrating the companies tackling environmental and social issues.

The goal for the new award is to spotlight the individuals and businesses working feverishly to meet the United Nations' sustainable development goals and -- however cheesily earnest the mission -- to celebrate folks trying to make the world a better place.

(And congratulations to our portfolio companies Wildtype and Ÿnsect for making the cut. )

“We believe that entrepreneurs building rapidly scalable businesses are our best bet to solving the world’s hardest and biggest problems,” said Adalberth, Founder of Norrsken Foundation, in a statement. “These awards are the first of their kind to celebrate their impact in this way,” he said.

“Startups are usually celebrated because of their growth and financial valuation, regardless of the impact they have on people and the planet. We believe that entrepreneurs driving positive change are the true heroes and deserve to be recognized. Similarly, unicorns are usually companies with a valuation of over US$1 billion, but we want to recognise potential impact unicorns – those that will positively impact 1 billion people,” Adalberth said.

Adalberth knows something about having a startup that's celebrated for its growth and financial valuation. As one of the co-founders of the buy-now-pay-later lending service Klarna, Adalberth had a front row seat to the world of big money venture capital investment.

And, it could be argued, that Klarna perpetuated the kind of consumerism and disposable capitalism that the UN's sustainable development goals are trying to thwart.

With Norrsken, Adalberth and colleagues like Erik Engelau-Nilsson and Daniel Goldberg are building a network of educational hubs for budding impact entrepreneurs across Africa and Europe to build infrastructure for businesses that support a new kind of social development, Adalberth said.

“One challenge that entrepreneurs face is that the smallest portion of venture capital financing is allocated to startups that are solving the world’s greatest problems. Less than one per-cent, in fact. With this recognition we hope they will attract more investment, and potentially impact even more people.”

To establish the Impact100 list, Norrsken worked with organizations like the Obama Foundation, Acumen, Katapult, Unreasonable, Leaps By Bayer, Softbank investment Advisors, and your very own FootPrint Coalition to find companies that are going to intrinsically have a positive impact on the world.

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