New collaboration opens up possibilities for more integration in the interior design industry
It began with an idea for developing a centre for women in Stockholm suburb Rinkeby, which would focus on entrepreneurship. Three years later, 15 foreign-born women are running a catering business that has found its way from the kitchen in Rinkeby to the Swedish Parliament. During Stockholm Design Week the “Yalla-women” undertook its biggest assignment to date, catering for 150 people for new partner Input interior.
Right from the outset the women’s cooperative Yalla Rinkeby has focused on giving foreign-born women with limited access to the labour market an opportunity to learn Swedish, train for work and earn a living – while preparing food from around the world. Through their catering business they serve everything from pirogs to baba ghanoush at conferences, events and even at the Parliament building itself. The project has opened many doors for the participating women; some have gained employment after several years of being unemployed.
“It’s absolutely fantastic how the women are growing thanks to the project. Through language and work training they are daring to be more assertive and realising that their skills are worth making use of. After several years of unemployment one woman got a job within textile design and another has received an offer of a café job. Two others have obtained a start-up grant to operate a food truck together, and one woman has begun selling her own chilli sauce. All participants also receive a diploma that can be useful when applying for jobs and we naturally provide references,” says Jenny Jonsson, representative of property company Byggvesta, one of the initiators behind the project.
Opening a café with a focus on women
And Yalla Rinkeby expects the future to remain bright. In 2018, the cooperative hopes to open a café, where the women can further expand the business.
“Our aim is to have five full-time employees once we have opened the café. It will be an important contribution to the development of Rinkeby as a district, allowing women to get involved and be more visible, while also showing that good things happen here,” says Jenny Jonsson.
A rewarding collaboration
The café, which will be named Grow, has been designed by architecture company Koncept Stockholm, which invited Input interior to assist in the project. The interior design company will sponsor elements of the interior design for the café, while also going in as a partner.
“We were impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit and the drive shown by the women, a quality that we value highly. There was never any doubt about getting involved and inviting them to join our contact network of producers, suppliers, clients and architects,” says Mille Milehem, COO at Input interior.
It was therefore an obvious choice who Input interior would call in as catering company when holding an internal training course for 150 employees during Stockholm Design Week.
“We hope that this event can help to create a ripple effect and open up possibilities for new collaborations, because our objective is to support Yalla Rinkeby in standing on its own,” says Mille.
Yalla Rinkeby is delighted with its biggest assignment to date, and hopes this may provide the impetus for many more.
“We are really pleased about the collaboration with Input interior. We hope and believe that with the help of their network we and our fantastic women can grow as a sustainable non-profit operation with an impact on society at large,” concludes Jenny.