This article is published in Ferd sin side*

Work inclusion is the theme for the Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2023. The winner is chosen at NHO's Annual Conference on 5 January, and receives tribute and the prize of half a million kroner in front of a full hall of politicians and leaders in Norwegian business.

25 companies have been nominated for the award Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2023. 

This year, the award is exclusively about companies that succeed in work inclusion, and owner and chairman of Ferd, Johan H. Andresen, believes that the social entrepreneurs are in a class of their own when it comes to including more people in working life.

- Social entrepreneurs bring out resources in individuals that others are unable to make use of. They find ways to qualify, recruit and value the knowledge and experience of people on the outside. They hire vulnerable people or they sell new methods and services so that others will do it, he says.

This is the second time the prize has been awarded NHO's annual Annual Conference and Johan is happy about the collaboration. He believes the members of NHO can learn a lot from the social entrepreneurs.

- For the social entrepreneurs, it is about more than social responsibility and social sustainability as a side activity. The core of the business idea is inclusion, and this is the driver of the commercial model. For Norway's business community, they are an entrance and a partner for recruiting and building competent employees.

He points out that the social entrepreneurs, for their part, need to become known in markets that can buy their services and products.

- Economic sustainability depends on the market and many social entrepreneurs have to build the market before they can get their business model up and running. Patient capital and risk-averse customers play a decisive role in the success of these companies, he says and adds;

- The winner will be presented to a number of politicians and business leaders at the Annual Conference. Last year's award ceremony secured the finalists and the winner several concrete leads, customers and partners. We want to see more of that.

Three finalists – one winner
It is the 13th time the prize has been awarded, and three finalists will be announced at the end of November. On the Main Stage at NHO's Annual Conference on 5 January, we will find out who will walk away with the victory and the prize of half a million kroner. The other two finalists receive NOK 50,000 each.

This year, organizations that support social entrepreneurs around the country have had the opportunity to nominate companies that work with work inclusion.

- We reached out widely and asked to be advised of companies that work with work inclusion in one form or another. We've got several new names on the list that we didn't know about before, says Johan.

He says that the nomination committee is also a new move this year, and that he is very satisfied with the members of the committee and the jury that he chairs himself.

- The nomination committee has worked through information about each individual company and assessed them according to the criteria of innovation, scalability and economic and social results. In addition, new this year, the companies are assessed on their contribution to getting more people into work, he says.

The committee has selected a number of companies that will be allowed to present themselves to the jury. The jury selects three finalists and one winner.

- Both the nomination committee and the jury have solid professional weight and in-depth knowledge of the topic of work inclusion. We are happy to have their perspectives included in the selection, at the same time as they become better acquainted with social entrepreneurship, says Johan, and concludes - Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2023 will create great value for people on the outside and valuable employees for Norwegian business.

The nomination committee
 consists of Torstein Ulserød, Senior Advisor in the working life department at NHO, Gro Magnussen, Project Developer at NAV Oslo, Marte Struminska from Diakonhjemmet Stiftelse, Marte Sootholtet, general manager at Impact StartUp Norway and Astrid Laake, business developer at Ferd Sosiale Entreprenører.

The jury sits Elham Binai, Director of People and Culture at NHO, Ahmed Hassan, Ideelt AS (winner of the Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2022), Ingunn Moser, Managing Director of Diakonhjemmet Stiftelse, Mæland, Kari Mæland, Director of Labor in the Employers' Section at NAV. Johan H. Andresen from Journey is a jury leader.

The nominees for Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2023 are: 
GET Academy, Daxap AS, Seniorene AS, Ready Competence, Cancer Compass, Totally With, New Use, Together for life, Besity, Skade AS, PROPL AS, Digna,Halimo & Co, Together for a Job, Neighbor Oslo, Sandwich Brothers, Ability and Willing Recruitment, Capeesh, Sisters in Business, ByAuk AS, Moving Mamas, The employees, Hogst AS, hopeful, Sacrifice to Warriors