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Changers

His mission:

To open an innovation house for the creators and tech stars of the future

Changers Hub is an association that aims to give young adults the tools and networks needed to springboard their interests into careers. Now it is expanding from Alby to Kista, taking up residence in Arne Beurlings Torg.

“Our vision is to give all young people the same opportunity to realize their ideas and dreams, regardless of the starting point,” says Sargon Orahim, business developer.

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Walking across Kistagårdsparken, Sargon has his sights set on Nod, the place he has purposefully elected for our meeting.

“Since our premises will not officially open until this autumn, it was fitting to meet here in Nod – it’s a dynamic place for ICT, innovation, learning and creativity, where people with different skills meet and grow together. These are conditions that are completely in line with what we want to achieve at Changers Hub,” says Sargon.

We sit down in the comfortable armchairs of Nod's open atrium to start our conversation. It starts with Sargon's own experiences of Changers Hub's operations in Alby, travels to his role today as a business developer, and covers his understanding of the greater role that Kista's companies can play in making opportunities and networks available to young people who want to move forward.

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"Changers Hub is a meeting place where everyone has access to opportunities and networks."

The link between talent and company

But let’s start at the beginning… Changers Hub's work is about all young people having the same conditions to shape their future, regardless of background.

Changers Hub’s activities are aimed at young people aged between 16 and 29. The members come mainly from Stockholm's suburban areas, but it also attracts young people from other areas and social backgrounds. Whether you are in an applicant stage and need guidance, or if you already know exactly where to go but need to increase the pace, Changers Hub has something to offer.

“You can describe us as the link between your driving force and what a company, organization or a certain market needs. Say you are from Järva and become a member with us today, the first step is to ask what you want to do. Maybe you have an idea you want to develop but need coaching, course programs and workshops in economics, tech and entrepreneurship? We can offer all that and much more. With an increased contact with the business community, relationships and new collaborations quickly happen. It develops companies and gives our members ideas and options,” says Sargon.

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The model has proven very successful in the association's other hubs – Alby, formerly Stureplan, and Hjällbo in Gothenburg. That is why they are now investing in a similar meeting place here in Kista.

“Kista is the nest for Sweden's tech companies, with enormous resources and a great need of new talent. But unfortunately, the places are not accessible to everyone, due to the limits caused by segregation in Stockholm. By widening paths for more people, we can foster the meeting between new talent and companies,” says Sargon.

And he knows what he's talking about. Sargon's own path into the Changers Hub was via a course held in the association’s Alby hub seven years ago. From there he went on to university studies and employment at RISE while keeping in touch with his community at Changers Hub. A relationship that last year landed him a full-time job with them.

"Kista's companies can play a greater role in making opportunities and networks accessible to young people."

Opportunity for enormous innovation

We head out into the spring sun to talk further, settling down on a hill in Kistagårdsparken where a culturally protected red house provides a contrast to the high-rise buildings and skyscrapers beyond.

“Our idea is based on establishing ourselves in places where there is a large gap between young people, business and civil society. Here in Kista there are large real estate companies that want urban development, but they do not always know how to achieve social sustainability. Those who make the decisions are often too far away from the people, the ground and the heart. They often lack the insights needed to build a place where people can grow. This creates segregation and missed opportunities for the enormous innovative power that the Järva people are sitting on,” says Sargon and continues:

“Our establishment in Kista means a huge opportunity for companies to get in touch with motivated young people in the local area, but we must make them believe in us. Together we become changers. Here, Kista Limitless, with Sara Paskota and Johan Thomsson in the lead, does a fantastic job of getting the real estate companies involved. Now we need to see several of the larger tech companies step on board. Then we will really have an exciting future to meet here in Kista,” Sargon concludes.

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Changers Hub Facts

Started:
2015.
Company form:
Non-profit association.
Vision:
A society where everyone gets the gate code to its full potential.
Number of hubs in Sweden:
2, soon 3, when the Kista establishment is completed.
Number of members:
1,317.
Coverage in Stockholm:
The places where the members come from cover Stockholm, all metro stations in the suburbs.
Financing:
Municipalities, businesses mainly in the tech and real estate company sector, as well as foundations and public funds. In Kista, Kista Limitless, Corem and Sveafastigheter are some of the financiers.
Selected prizes:

The team behind Changers Hub has, among other things, been named: Super talent of the Year in the category Community Builders of Business of the Week,

TCO Future 99’s Most Powerful, Digital Inspirer of the Year by IDG.se/CIO Sweden, Sweden's Most Promising Entrepreneurs by Företagarna.se, and Social Actor of the Year.

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