SUCCESS STORIES – SWEDEN
Contributed by Coompanion
Sentient Sweden ek för
” Sentient saves lives by supplying the vehicle industry with incomparable methods and software. The members of Sentient have the courage, know-how and confidence to shape the future through innovative technical development. “
Sentient is a provider of customer functions for road vehicles, based on innovation with a solid basis in science and technology. Sentient was formed in 2009 by Jochen Pohl and Johan Hultén with the idea to change the perception of safer driving. Jochen Pohl and Johan Hultén are both engineers and researchers who turned entrepreneurs – without leaving their profound interest in science and technology behind. Sentient is a cooperative company, owned by the staff. This is one of the key characteristics of the company.
Ownership promotes innovation, collaboration and the commercial edge. 112 Sentient has added marketing, legal and business development expertise to the collaborative. Thus the company has grown in an organic way to become a significant partner to the automotive industry – without losing its characteristic profile. Sentient’s research develops solutions with the aim to avoid road accidents. The solutions can be integrated in vehicles or in road infrastructure with, or without, the support of Sentient. So far, the solutions have been developed primarily for steering safety and road departure avoidance, two of the most common causes of accidents. Working with Sentient means building a close relationship over an extended period of time. The business model includes demonstrations of working prototypes, followed by tuning to meet customer requirements and integration into a target platform. Support and updates are offered on a continuous basis during the life-cycle of the platform.
Structure and membership
As a legally incorporated cooperative, the model was preferred in order to attract high potential employees/members and to be able to let all members influence the development of the company and, last but not least, it was preferred in order to be able to share the value created together by the members.
Currently there are 5 members to the cooperative, however not all employees are members of the cooperative. Membership depends on specific time before being able to apply. Competence and length of employment are taken into account.
Each member is able to get dividends proportionate to the total time as a member of the cooperative. An investment plan and an economic buffer needs to be considered before any possibility of dividends.
Formed in 2009, the cooperative was incorporated within 6 months, employing now 7 people. Business planning and development support was provided both by a cooperative association and a National/Municipal Agency. A business Advisor coached the group in cooperative principles, suitable aims and goals, company policies, tax regulations etc. An innovation grant of approximately. €5,000 was provided by a National/Municipal Agency.
As Economic Associations have been closed out from certain public funding due to rules set by the public authorities, funding has been obtained mainly through customer contracts, not through awards or public funding. It must also be noted that entering the vehicle industry is hard, independent of form of association.
Preped Youth Ekonomisk förening
Preped Youth provides quality cost-effective staffing for young people aged 18-26 years. They offer time to find the right staff for each service that saves the customer time and energy, but also improves reputations as the customer delivers a benefit to the community by striving together to reduce youth unemployment.
We believe that the staffing industry is a good way into the labour market for young people as there is not only an opportunity to support themselves but also create an expanded network, and above all to provide the opportunity to gain work experience and thus a more competitive resume for the future. Therefore, they believe that their company creates increased credentials for entry into the labour market for young people.
Operations are run by young people, for young people and on this basis, they have a concept that other traditional staffing and recruitment firms do not. They also see their business as offering a public benefit where they strive for a reduction in youth unemployment in their county. They also want to demonstrate to the outside world and industrial sector/companies that young people are willing to work hard to achieve their goals. Their business currently includes branches in Retail & Trade, computer / IT, hotel & restaurant, janitorial services and industrial production.
In late 2013, youth unemployment in the county was 25.6%. Preped Youth works closely with Rapatac Preps Academy, which is an innovative concept where young people between 18-26 years gain the opportunity to prepare themselves to enter the labour market. Rapatac Preps Academy prepares young people for the world of work so that they become more aware of how things operate at a workplace. They learn to take responsibility, cooperate, be on time and to work on various projects. They want to offer these talented young people a way to work through staffing and recruitment
Structure and membership
The incorporated cooperative believes that youth, working together with other young people, create the best conditions for the development of a company where all members can influence development. Just as they believe that together they have a better chance to succeed.
Consumers constitute the members (4), however not all employees are members. To join, the individuals must share the purpose of the association. Individuals have to actively apply for membership in the co-op.
Concerning the dividends, the priority is that any surplus is invested in the company to ensure employment, but every member has the opportunity to receive dividends in proportion to the total time they have worked. An investment plan and a financial buffer must be considered before any consideration is given to dividends.
Established in 2014 and incorporated within a year, the cooperative received business planning and development support from cooperative associations and National/Municipal agencies on cooperative principles, appropriate aims and objectives, company policy, tax rules, business plan, etc.
Indirect financial support was provided by the Foundation Rapatac and project Rapatac Preps Youth, with support in the form of office space, administrative / office supplies / computers etc. ‘Starting your own business support’ was provided by the Employment Service for 6 months at the start-up phase of the company.
The commercial enterprise employs 5 people.
As economic associations have difficulty getting funding because of legal form, funding was received primarily through customer contracts, indirect contributions and to some extent by public funds. In addition, it is difficult for young people to enter the labour market regardless of business or industry. To tackle this barrier, support was provided through the Rapatac’s networks and their channels.