Ikea founder donates millions to ‘hometown’ Swedish university

Ikea founder donates millions to 'hometown' Swedish university
Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad's annual Christmas speech to his employees in Älmhult, home to the world's first Ikea store, contained a welcome Christmas bonus for the whole Småland region.

Together with Inter Ikea, Kamprad has donated nearly 1 billion kronor ($146 million) to the newly-formed Kamprad Family Foundation.

“This is something he’s been thinking about for a long time. Småland is special to him, and he wanted to do something for the people and the area that’s closest to his heart,” said the Kamprad family’s spokesman Per Heggenes to the Aftonbladet newspaper.

The foundation will be hand out large sums of money annually to support research, mainly at the Linneaus University, in Kamprad’s native region Småland, in southern Sweden.

However, national and international research may also be supported.

“My family and I are very happy to be able to create this foundation for our beloved Småland together with the Linneaus University and Inter Ikea, after years of preparations,” said Ingvar Kamprad in a statement.

The foundation will promote projects which focus on entrepreneurship, environmental issues and medical research, and those hoping to cash in might want to start preparing their applications.

The first grant application period will open in the autumn of 2012.

On top of the starting capital of 950 million kronor, the Inter Ikea group will donate 270 million kronor annually, if business results allow.

The region’s Linneaus University is delighted to be a part of the foundation.

“This is a lot of money. It’s naturally the biggest thing to have happened to this region,” said Lena Fritzén, board member of the Kamprad Family Foundation and deputy president of Linnaeus University.

Ikea, founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, is the world’s largest home furnishings retailer, and something of a Swedish landmark.

In 2010, the company’s global turnover amounted to some 230 billion kronor.

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