Östra real and Sjödalsgymnasiet - Entrepreneurship in Huddinge and Stockholm

This case study was prepared by Michael Lindquist and Helena Palmheden respectively from Huddinge and Stockholm municipality, edited by Joseph Tixier from the OECD LEED Programme


Short presentation of the municipalities


Ostra stockholm


The county of Stockholm has 2 100 000 inhabitants and the City of Stockholm 900 000. There are 260 compulsory schools for children in the age of 6-16 and 45 schools for pupils with special needs. There are 80 Upper secondary schools and about 10 upper secondary schools for special needs. For pupils with at least one parent born abroad offers some education in 65 different languages. There are more than 100 000 pupils within the school system in Stockholm.


Ostra huddinge


Huddinge is a modern municipality south of Stockholm. With more than 100,000 residents it is the second largest municipality in Stockholm County.

Reading, the desire to discover and enjoyment. Three foundation stones in Huddinge’s compulsory schools. Compulsory schools include the preschool class, school years 1-9 and leisure-time centres. Preschool class is a form of schooling in its own right within compulsory school. School-age childcare (leisure time) is available before and after school for children between the ages of 6 and 13. The school year 2014-2015 there are 14000 pupils enrolled in the compulsory school.

Knowledge, security and the ability to act. These are guiding principles for the municipal upper secondary schools. We have committed teachers who help to equip the pupils for the future, regardless of whether they choose to go on to university or to move into working life after upper secondary school.

Huddinge has four municipal upper secondary schools and one independent one. The school year 2014-2015 there 2900 students enrolled in the compulsory school.

Short presentation of one school within Huddinge municipality -  Sjödalsgymnasiet

Sjödalsgymnasiet in Huddinge municipality.  Sjödalsgymnasiet has over a thousand students and more than one hundred employees. The school offers several possible training options: Natural Science, Economy and Technology Programme, Vocational programs such as hairdresser, plumbing and electricity and energy program, social science program with behavioral or social sciences. The school also offers an opportunity to combine regular studies on NA, SA and TE programs with athletics at the elite level.

Short presentation of one school within Stockholm municipality - Östra real

ostra real

Östra real is one out of 80 upper secondary schools in Stockholm. The school is over 100 years old, situated in Stockholm City and has a very good reputation. The school is attractive and more pupils than we are able to accept are applying every year. The surrounding is business offices and apartments.  There are 1200 pupils attending the school. They are represented from more than 100 different compulsory schools from Stockholm city and suburbs. We have 100 personnel working at the school where of 70 are teachers.

Östra real offers education preparing pupils for university studies within business studies, law, social studies, science and language. The school also offers education in Swedish for beginners as a preparation for upper secondary school, and also special education for students having Asberger syndrom.

Sweden - school system and legal framework

Sweden has a goal steered system with a high degree of local responsibility.

The Swedish Riksdag and the government draw up the overall national goals in:

Then two parts are responsible for the educational goals to become true.

One is the National Agency of Education, (state owned) which has the mission to supervise, support, follow up and evaluate the school in order to improve quality and outcome. The second part is the municipalities which are the primary organizers and employers of schools.

Ostra swedeish school system


Legal framework for working with entrepreneurship in the school system

In the year 2009 the Swedish government launched the Swedish strategy for entrepreneurship which promoted entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial learning in compulsory school and upper secondary school.

“Being self-employed must be as natural a choice as being an employee. To achieve this, the education system can play an important role in helping pupils and students develop and make the most of the knowledge, skills and approaches that are required.

Many of the distinctive features of a good entrepreneur – the ability to solve problems, think innovatively, plan one’s work, take responsibility and cooperate with others – are also qualities that students at different levels need to develop to complete their studies and to be successful in their adult lives.”

The basis for the Government’s strategy is that teaching of entrepreneurship is essential, both for schools and agencies in the field of education. The Government considers it important to take into account the experiences of other countries in future work. Measures aimed at encouraging the integration of entrepreneurship into all levels of education are described in the end of the report (attachment).

What conditions flexibility?

Since the national strategy for entrepreneurship, our national curriculums and the municipality committees are all in favor of the entrepreneurial learning, it gives us a lot of opportunities to incorporate entrepreneurship in our schools. The major obstacles are that the understanding and the meaning of the term entrepreneurship is very vague and also carry with it an old view that it is only about starting a company and all the processes that comes with this meaning.

Many school leaders and teachers do not agree that this is an academic field to work with. Another obstacle is that schools don't know exactly how to start working with the term entrepreneurship since the essence of the term is more an attitude that should be incorporated daily in the school.

A teacher must be fully aware of what is written in The Education Act, curricula, school ordinance, the syllabuses and the diploma goals. A Swedish teacher has quite clear instructions about what the pupil should learn but not how to do it. You can and should use many pedagogical methods to make your pupils learn and understand. In that way a teacher has quite a lot of flexibility. You can cooperate with others or do it by your own, do study visits or stay in the classroom.

How to implement entrepreneurship in a subject or as a subject is more up to the individual teacher or the school or municipality. Some schools and municipalities are more active within the field than others. Huddinge has for a long time worked focused on entrepreneurship. Stockholm as a municipality has some schools working active with it and others who are not.


In 2009 the government wrote a declaration for implementing entrepreneurship in the education system.  Since 2011 a new reform for education began. Now entrepreneurship is included in all subjects in compulsory schools as a pedagogical tool. At Upper secondary school pupils can have entrepreneurship as a subject. For some programs it is compulsory and for some it is only offered as a free choice.

In the year 1999 we started to work with the company program. During the following years we enhanced the company process by working cross-curricular adding subjects such as Swedish, multimedia, business English to the business subjects.

The students at Östra real made a great impact during the competition this year. They won several awards as well as being third runner up in the European competition in Tallinn this year. This company’s business idea was selling homework assistance to younger pupils very active in sports. They had lessons at hockey-arenas or other athletic building in direct connection with the pupils practice. 

Ostra group flag

Due to this media impact our municipality business development department started to cooperate with the school and since then we have created different activities for our students and teachers.

The educational department in our municpiality also started to think how to work with entrepreneurship since the Strategy for entrepreneurship and the national curriculums now stipulated this. Due to this we started a project to find out how to work with entrepreneurship from ages 6-19.

The National Agency for Education is the central administrative authority for the public school system, publicly organised preschooling, school-age childcare and for adult education. The Agency supervises, supports, follows up and evaluates the school in order to improve quality and outcomes. We, Michael and Helena have worked at the National Agency for Education during the years developing the new educational reform (2009-2011) and implementing it in the school system. We also wrote the subject syllabuses and diploma goals for the upper secondary foundation subject – Entrepreneurships/Entrepreneurship & Business .

We are also the authors of two educational books, one for the company program and one for the broader meaning of entrepreneurship.

2011 our program ELIT (entrepreneurial learning and IT) for compulsory school teachers started as a pilot in Huddinge municipality. Today the program is running for the 3rd year.

Vision: Entrepreneurship education is about life-wide as well as life-long competence development.

Core beliefs: When pupils work with real projects and can see direct results of their own actions together with others, they realize the importance of their existence. They will get motivated to work, grow and learn in such an extent that they don’t even notice it is hard. If education feels fun, interesting and motivating pupils can see the meaningfulness of their work and about the learning situation. The goal is to light a fire that then with some educational tools, helping hands, and coaching communication will go on burning by itself. They will become their own engine in their learning process.

We start from the following building blocks when we let the students work on their business:

  1. Turn ideas into action
  2. Challenge for student
  3. Sharp objectives
  4. Interdisciplinary approaches
  5. Project-oriented working
  6. Collaboration with and support from the municipality, business and working life

Values: Entrepreneurship education means that teachers need to take on the role of learning facilitators and active learning methods are required. It also involves projects or themes that creates values for the student (-s) as well as for the target group of the project. By creating values the students solve problems or create projects that has a meaning for an audience inside our outside the school.

Description of activity / project

Compulsory school: ELIT – Entrepreneurial Learning and IT

The objectives for ELIT are that the teachers should develop an understanding of the entrepreneurial learning process and what can be achieved within the school. The teachers are to take on an entrepreneurial attitude and develop skills that enhance the entrepreneurial process as well as plan for appropriate digital tools for the pupils and students to work with.

After finishing the course the teachers are encouraged to promote and develop the work with entrepreneurship and IT in their schools.

The teachers first meet for a 4 day introduction.

Then we meet once a month with specific themes such as:

  1. The entrepreneurial attitude and development of competences
  2. Pedagogical planning and project leading
  3. The school and the business environment
  4. Feed-up and Feed-forward and analyzing a conducted theme or project: How entrepreneurial was I and it!
  5. Preparing for a workshop, to show other teachers in the municipality what has been done and how it went
  6. The workshop
  7. Planning the next step and school year
  8. During the course the teachers are to plan with their students:
  9. One cross-curricula project or theme
  10. One single subject project or theme
  11. A theme or project which involves the municipality or the business environment
  12. Try a concept from an outside organization such as Young enterprise, Future seed, snilleblixtar etc.
  13. One flipped classroom
  14. Connect and develop digital learning to all of the above projects or themes

We all start to work with the following problem-solving model which in its simple way all the children work with from age 6-15. This model also assists the teacher and the child to plan a theme or project.

Ostra problem solving model

Up till today 150 compulsory school teachers have been educated. 

Education with the company program doesn’t require any money. But in Huddinge Municipality we have a budget for the activities we run for our students together with the municipality business development department.

The ELIT training seminars also have a budget from the department of education in Huddinge municipality. The budget consists of costs for locations and food.

On school level, some examples of activities

Age 7-9 Primary school: Theme: OUTER SPACE

A project for grade 2A and B (8years old) at Vistaskolan, Huddinge municipality

What’s the task? What should I do?

  • Centralt content:

-       Earth, sun and moon movements relative to each other.

-       Phases of the moon.

  • What should I learn?

-       You can view and describe how the sun, moon and earth moving relative to each other.

-       You can view and describe the phases of the moon.

How many ideas can we come up with? How can we find information?

  • Going to a space museum guide
  • Build a Solar System
  • Meet an Astronaut
  • Go into space
  • Building a rocket from cardboard
  • building Models
  • Buy books space
  • Movies about space
  • Space Theater watching / Create Your Own Reading about space

Let’s do it!

They watched movies about the sun, earth and moon and some groups made posters

Let’s tell someone!

  • December 21, we invited our parents to drop-in breakfast.
  • Then we showed everything we've done!
  • The classes had completely different presentations - due to the students themselves are involved in the process.
  • The 2A was the film screening, "sun in the ceiling", and posters.
  • In 2B, it was the singing and dancing, models and a book.

 Ostra model presentation


Age 10-12: Theme: Sustainable Development

Grade 5 (11 year) at Utsäljeskolan, Huddinge municipality.

The pupils have their own iPads and work with an entrepreneurial attitude.

We want to become experts on the baltic sea

Sharp objectives: Influence the politicians

Research questions:

  • What does the water muddy?
  • Can one fish too much?
  • What happens when you spill oil into the sea water?
  • How does one clean water?

Implementing: They wrote letters to the editor and saw them become published.

What did the pupils practice?

  • The ability to solve problems, to think new, plan ones work, take responsibility and cooperate with others.
  • To run a project
  • Networking and make contacts
  • To come up with solutions: how can we save the Baltic Sea?

 Ostra politicians listended

Ostra learnings


Age 13-15: Theme: Entrepreneurship in the 7th grade

      Grade 7 (14 year) at Vårbyskolan,  Huddinge municipality.

The purpose for this project was to learn to connect entrepreneurship with the Seven Habits and include the Big Five.

What was our task?

To become an entrepreneur! To be able to do that, you need to use habit 1 to be proactive and take responsibility

How did we succeed with this?

First you have to learn what it means to be an entrepreneur! According to habit 5 you have to first understand to be understood.

How many ideas could we come up with?

  • To come up with the best ideas you need to be openminded and really believe that nothing is impossible.
  • Which isn't always so easy...
  • To get the best results you need to use habit 6 and synergize because five heads are better than one!

The Company Programme

In the Company Programme students learn how to take a business idea from concept to reality. We are cooperating with the organization Young enterprise in this matter. They form their own real enterprise and discover first-hand how a company functions. They elect a board of directors from amongst their peers, raise share capital, conduct market research and market and finance a product or service of their own choice. At the end of the programme they present an annual report to their shareholders. By working with this programme the students have hands-on experiences that develop skills such as teamwork, leadership, presenting, planning and financial control as they learn to take responsibility for the success of their company.

This is an education process that consists of long-term goals for the student and the group, as well as ongoing milestones to evaluate and reflect on. During the training, students acquire a broad set of skills that he or she can use in their life to create and incorporate entrepreneurial thinking and behavior. We work with groups of students at three levels: class, group and individual. In addition, students work with their responsibilities and objectives. We work with active supervision, ongoing formative feedback, theory lessons and one of the most important tools; training and practice to reflect on their own knowledge, skills and personal development before it becomes a real situation. Here, we work with teachers active guidance that is based on the individual's goals, interests and curiosity.

Ostra student and teacher work
Steps in the Company program

Every year we let about 200 pupils start “school companies” at Sjödalsgymnasiet and Östra real. Some of them go on as real companies after the pupils have left school.

Ostra student interest


Which have been circumstances, events, individuals that have been crucial for the initiative/project to get started?

For activity 1

For small business

Entrepreneurial – projects

Description: In Östra real, this autumn, 32 pupils study the course called “Entrepreneurship” and about 100 pupils attend “Entrepreneurship and business”. At Sjödalsgymnasiet 80 students attend “Entrepreneurship and business”. In the following text we will describe how we plan the courses, what the student work with and what effects we see from the different activities.

Pupils attend to this activity in year 2 in Upper secondary school. They will have lessons twice a week during one year which are teacher lead in the beginning, practical work in the middle and presentations and evaluation in the end.  The goal is to educate students to plan and work towards a result in real projects and at the same time solve real problems for the school.

Examples of topics for small projects that the students are responsible of in year 2:

  1. 1.       Alumni network

Plan for, and start up an Alumni network for pupils/students at school.  Arrange a first meeting before January 2015 with at  least 10 students that finished school  1 years ago or  longer.  Document the happening!

  1. 2.       Wall of fame

Make a ”Wall of fame”, with pictures and names of  famous  persons that have gone to the school sometime the latest 100 years. Make a vernissage before end of January 2015.

  1. 3.       Language café

Start up a language café at the school with at least 4 café meetings between pupils at the school and the group of immigrants learning Swedish. Objective: to learn out spoken Swedish and make new contacts and integration.

Budget: 0 € (some smaller projects can get sponsoring from companies or a budget for about 200 € from the school. That is a discussion between pupils, teachers and the principal.)

Steps within the projects:

 Ostra team building 1 Ostra team building 2 
Team building activity – Students are building paper bridges that should hold for a heavy book.

Anchoring of activity / project in the school

Entrepreneurial projects: The project has been run for 3 years but has developed over time.  It is included in the normal education. The subject Entrepreneurship is already in the schedule but the content has to be invented every year. The project has developed from a few long projects to more and shorter projects. We have also involved more teachers and the principal in the planning and the evaluation process and face more and even better results this year compared with the first year.

The first year it was 2 teachers no more people involved. Today we are to teachers running the course and who are the direct coaches towards the students. Then the whole group of school leaders (2 principals and one administrative responsible) are involved. In one of the projects teachers working with immigrant pupils learning Swedish are direct involved. In another teachers for music and art cooperate with our pupils to make a competition to find out a music jingle and a school cake. All together it is about 7 teachers involved.

There are no plans for ending the project while it doesn’t cost us any more than a normal course (with teacher salaries) but we can get things done at the school and for the school that is positive for all of us in different ways. The students practice entrepreneurship, cooperation, to deal with problems and to make something real. They learn have to make project plans, meeting skills, how to write notes, how to evaluate and learn of mistakes. They also learn how to take contact with companies, organisations or other people to build up useful networks.

Business enterprices - entrepreneurship

The idea of letting pupils try their competence in starting a business in practice has been something that Sjödalsgymnasiet and Östra real has done for at least 14 years. The school does not have to pay any extra for this. Today we are three teachers and about 100 pupils working with this about three hours a week during a whole school year.

Links of activity / project with the external world

Both Huddinge and Stockholm municipality are cooperating with many organizations to subsidize and support entrepreneurship within the school system.

On municipality level cooperation is done thorough sponsoring to the following organizations Young Enterprise (UF), Future seeds, Snilleblixtarna( idea-lightning), different projects like Baltic sea cooperation,  The business department within the municipality and so on.

Companies national and local then also choose to subsidize and support the same organizations or projects as the municipalities. For example the Scandinavian bank SEB works together with UF and let pupils open bank accounts and get advice in money transfer while making small businesses, FortNox is a bookkeeping company that offers its program and education courses for teachers and pupils for free. Webbstjärnan helps pupils make web pages for free.

The schools are then able to cooperate or get help from the specific organization without paying any fees, to be able to start up or go on with their specific entrepreneurial project or emphasis.

Each school do then work together with different local actors like private companies or organizations. For example Östra real work together with Rotary in Stockholm to get advices to specific pupils within entrepreneurial projects

The school in the community

Together with the municipality business department we have a lot of activities for our students and teachers as shown below.

Ostra school communityAdvisors: These advisors comes from our local companies

Business innovation day: People from different companies make short presentations about sales activities, organization, marketing, law, human resources to the students. After each presentation the students are given three questions to discuss in how to develop their company and plan it in their business report.

Young and creative: our local trade fair for all the students. This is the first time they create a trade-fair stand and meet their target group. During this day and evening the students also make presentations  for a jury about their ideas and how they plan to run their company.

Teacher of the Year: A celebration evening for the teachers. During this ceremony the Municipality business department hand out an award to a teacher that cooperates well with the business community.

Meeting point: A day when companies meet and listen to different key-speakers. We also invite student companies to this event, mainly for networking.

Inspiration at the regional competition: We arrange a lunch meeting for politicians and business people and teachers. After the lunch they are all guided through the fair to meet our own students.

Enterprize-gala: Another celebration evening: Awards to different companies. We hand out the best company student this year and we also give an award to someone in the business community who have shown great interest in school

Future camp: We hand out 5 scholarships to company students. The future camp is about leadership skills.

When working in compulsory school, we let the children present solutions or their project to our local politicians and local business people

Achievements and impact

Huddinge entrepreneurship in schools makes a difference

After several years of work on this area of work are seeing teachers that students are growing both in terms of knowledge, skills and personally. The work also generates synergies by the majority of students will increase their achievement in other subjects, in parallel as they work with his entrepreneurial process.

Huddinge Municipality has received the award for Best UF municipality in Young Enterprising Torment (Stockholm) annual rankings. That means Huddinge provides the best conditions for schools, teachers and students to work with entrepreneurship in schools.

Results from pupil projects:

Ostra webpage award
students getting an award for their webpage

Huddinge is a typical example of how to work with entrepreneurship in schools. The whole community is involved, from the municipal government adviser. Last but not least, it has fantastic dedicated teachers, says Erik Gustaf Ageberg, regional manager for Young Enterprise Stockholm. Huddinge works purposefully to create the conditions for children and young people in the municipality will be able to develop entrepreneurial qualities. The number of trained UF teachers per high school student is high which indicates the municipality's ambition to let more students trained in entrepreneurship and meet the National Agency for Education objectives, says Erik.

“It is huge honor and a clear demonstration that our schools are at the forefront when it comes to entrepreneurship in school. Price is also an important recognition for all the talented UF teachers. Our collaboration with the municipality's commercial offices and our network of entrepreneurs in Huddinge is another important ingredient for success in the UF operations.” Jukka Kuusisto, Manager of Childcare and Education in Huddinge.

Results from pupil Entrepreneurship and business: Pupils from Östra real won many awards this year in competitions. Our school has been contacted from 5 different companies which will offer our students jobs.

Success factors

To be able to succeed with entrepreneurship i the education system the following is important.

-       To have a common definition of what entrepreneurship is, to be able to involve teachers to integrate it in a normal education situation.

-       To test entrepreneurial teaching – not telling the pupils exact what to do but make them try and experience and make them go on and explore.)

Dare to think big, have fun and be proud of the results!

Obstacles and ways to overcome them