Swedish business women behind Indiska and Isbjörn win International Women’s Enterpreneurial Challenge award

Karin Lindahl, Indiska, and Maria Frykman, Isbjörn, will be receiving the 2019 IWEC – International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge award together with 39 successful businesswomen from 18 countries. The awardees will all be gathering in New Delhi on November 10-12 for the awards ceremony and conference. The Swedish businesswomen will be part of a powerful network of 370+ businesswomen from 40 countries running international companies, with a total shared annual revenue of 30 billion USD and over 262 000 employees.

Isbjörn of Sweden is not just about trendy outdoor gear for our kids. We are a lifestyle brand appealing to families that  want to make a sustainable choice, says Maria Frykman, the CEO and co-founder of Isbjörn. With our endurable outdoor wear, we want to inspire and encourage young families all over the world to enjoy and explore the outdoors together. We like to say that we equip the adventurer of tomorrow. The brand continues to grow profitably each year internationally and is now available in 15 countries. Our vision is to take on both the US and Chinese markets, and I am looking forward to going to Delhi and getting inspiration and business contacts from my fellow IWEC sisters for this.

Indiska is one of Sweden’s most well-known interior and lifestyle companies, with an over hundred-year-old trade relationship in India, where they have a production office and 80% of their suppliers.  I feel very much at home and am very proud to collect the IWEC award here in Delhi, says Karin. She became the CEO and owner of Indiska, almost two years ago, and immediately started a major turn-around to get the company back on its feet financially. Our team is now working hard to make Indiska a successful company while the retail business in undergoing major changes, says Karin. We have great strengths that we believe will carry us through, like outstanding brand recognition, unique style in products and attractive store locations. Karins international vision is to expand its stores and e-commerce beyond Scandinavia and Germany, including to India where she sees great potential to build a new customer base.

Charlotte Kalin, Make Trade, has been the Swedish caretaker for IWEC since 2012. We now have 17 Swedish IWEC awardees taking part in this dynamic and growing international women business network, says Charlotte. It is a privilege to each year welcome new IWEC awardees which have the courage to run their own business and the ambition to scale up internationally. This year’s awardees happen to both be from the retail sector complementing each other on indoor and outdoor lifestyle products.  

The 17 Swedish IWEC awardees are: Pernilla Stålhane, Pallmax and Maud Spencer, Svalson (awarded 2012 in Barcelona), Ida Backlund, Rapunzel and Signhild Arnegård Hansen, Svenska Lantchips (2013 in Lima), Karin Söderlind, House of Dagmar, Karin Bodin, Polarbröd and Emy Blixt, Swedish Hasbeens (2014 in Stockholm), Britt Marie Stegs, Hälsingestintan and Isabelle Löwengrip and Pingis Hadenius, Löwengrip Care and Color (2016 in Brussels), Marie Lindqvist Pahlstad and Jenny Helldén from Zilenzio and Helene Åkerström Hartman from Orbaden Spa & Resort (2017 in Seattle), Marie Walleberg from Imse Vimse and Ulrika Nilsson from Secure State (2018 in Shanghai), Karin Lindahl from Indiska and Maria Frykman from Isbjörn (2019 in Delhi).

2019 years IWEC awards conference will focus on the theme “Connecting Women Businesses Globally: Leading the Way to Innovation and Integration.” Her Royal Highness Princess Noor Asem of Jordan will be the conference Chairwoman. Lena Sellgren, chief economist from Business Sweden along with professor Balaji Parthasarathy at the International Institute of Information Technology in Bangalore will be among the keynote speakers giving their global outlook on the economy and trade.

IWEC is an international economic empowerment organization exclusively for women business owners, formed in 2007 by chambers from New York, Barcelona and India. IWEC’s mission is to develop a global business network for successful women entrepreneurs, helping them gain and expand access to international markets by presenting a platform to exchange knowledge, experience and connections, and to promote dialogue among women entrepreneurs and business leaders throughout the world.

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