Claudia Olsson, who co-founded Swedish language company Swedish for Professionals, joins a distinguished list of people who according to the WEF "tackle the world’s most complex challenges with innovative approaches". Former Young Global Leaders (YGLs) include Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, Spotify founder Daniel Ek and Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
Swedish for Professionals uses technology to teach the Swedish language and describes its ultimate aim as making sure people "integrate faster in the Swedish society and culture".
Co-founder Olsson, who also founded consultancy firm Exponential AB, is one of two Swedes selected by the WEF in 2017. Also selected was venture capital firm Industrifonden’s head of life science Nina Rawa, who was chosen for her work "bridging biomedical technology with venture capital in order to tackle unmet medical needs".
Olsson told The Local that getting the nod as a YGL came as a surprise, and she wasn’t even aware she was being considered:
"I only found out when I had been elected! Learning I would become a YGL was humbling and I’m excited about collaborating with the leaders in the network. I am truly honoured."
Those selected take part in a five-year programme where the 100 global peers work to bridge divides that exist in society and drive positive global change. Olsson hopes that she can contribute with insight on "integration, effective communication, and exponential technology development".
Immigration and the intake of refugees mean that Sweden has an increasing number of international residents today. Asked for her opinion on how integration is being handled in the country at the moment, the entrepreneur said that improvements can be made:
"I believe that more can and should be done. Imagine how much talent goes to waste without proper integration processes! In the globalized work we are living in today we need to learn from each other and leverage the skills and competence acquired through brain circulation."
Other 2017 YGLs include former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand for his charity which tackles youth unemployment, Afghanistan 1400 co-founder Shaharzad Akbar who works to engage young Afghans with democracy in their country, and Apple clean energy program leader Katie Hill.