63.1. Short description
Yalla Trappan is a labour-integrated social enterprise. The general aim of Yalla Trappan is to provide work for women who would otherwise have severe difficulties entering the labour market. Yalla Trappan is organised by integrating permanently employed workers with workers who are there on an internship, through the social services administration. Yalla Trappan is organised as a cooperative enterprise, which means that its workers are also members of the association. The Yalla Trappan association was founded and is based in Rosengård, Malmö, which is a so-called Million Homes Programme area. People living in Rosengård originate from 111 countries, and up to 50 different languages are spoken. The Yalla Trappan association was formed in April 2009 with inspiration and staff from the so-called Trappan projects that were running in Rosengård from 2006-2010, initiated and financed by the European Social Fund, the city of Malmö and other associations related to education and labour-market programmes – ABF (The Workers’ Educational Association) and ABL (providing job-coaches) for example.
The Trappan projects focused on women’s entrepreneurship, integration, empowerment, education and equality. These projects were clearly labour market-oriented and thus aimed at enhancing possibilities for women in Rosengård to enter the labour market. In May 2010, the Trappan projects were made permanent in the new Yalla Trappan association. According to the chairperson and founder, the women in the Trappan projects were considered as “un-hireable” by employers and the municipality seemed to share that view, which to her seemed like “a total waste of resources” (interview 5). Yalla Trappan wanted to make use of the successful initiatives that had started in the projects, and with commitment, participation and democratic routines they started the new social enterprise.
Yalla Trappan wants to provide the local community with a meeting and business centre, where they wish to combine social and educational activities with work and encouraging entrepreneurship. As part of the more commercial side of Yalla Trappan they run a coffee shop and a lunch restaurant, offering affordable lunches and catering services. They run a studio for design and craftsmanship, mostly concerned with sewing. They also offer cleaning and conference services. The users at Yalla Trappan are offered work and both theoretical and practical education (courses). Yalla Trappan also provides Swedish tuition, health care, and employment training programmes. As a meeting centre, Yalla Trappan strives to work with other associations. For example, they permanently cooperate with an association called Tjejer i Förening (Girls In Association), which tries to inspire young girls and women to organise or join already existing organisations in civil society, all based on the idea that participation enriches and empowers the individual.
Yalla Trappan is a membership-based association, and both men and women who accept the principles of Yalla Trappan can become members and thus have a vote at the annual association meeting. However, only women can become participants/workers within Yalla Trappan.
Participants work at the café and lunch restaurant, in the cleaning service or in the handicrafts studio. The cleaning and conference service of Yalla Trappan is mainly aimed at offices and shops. The cleaning services are an expanding part of the association, and the interviewed founder regards it as a area with great potential (interview 5). Yalla Trappan has received much attention, not only from the media but also from other stakeholders in the private market, like IKEA or small-scale clothes designers who wish to cooperate with Yalla Trappan. In 2 years Yalla Trappan has become an attractive trademark that stands for social values and that has become more and more important on the commercial market. The founder says that their growing popularity can be explained by the fact that “We are for real, we are plurality in practice” (interview 5).
63.2. Conceptions and ways of addressing users
The target group for Yalla Trappan is unemployed, immigrant women with little or no education, who are experiencing severe difficulties entering the labour market, and who often have poor knowledge of Swedish. They are offered employment with a contractual salary or internship, education and Swedish tuition, a social arena and an empowering and democratic environment, where they are part of a creative atmosphere and make decisions concerning matters such as working schedules, lunch menus and new proposals from different customers (interview 5).
63.3. Internal organisation and modes of working
Users enter Yalla Trappan in different ways. One can say that there are two types of user, not counting the members of the association or the people on the board or the customers or partners. One group of users at Yalla Trappan is permanently employed and another arrives on internships through the social services administration. The first group was recruited either from the early Trappan project or from the second group of users, i.e. the group on internship. At the time of the study, there were 22 women working in total and 12 were permanently employed; the rest were on internships. The interviewed founder says that all women working on an internship basis at Yalla Trappan wish to be permanently employed, and she explains that they do not have the capacity to employ more people than they currently do. However, she continues, their first priority when the business is profitable is to employ the participants for longer working hours; the second priority is to employ more people; and the third is to invest in new equipment (interview 5). Most users work part-time at Yalla Trappan, which is also in line with the original idea of the Trappan projects. The word “trappan” means “steps” and the name is used to describe a progression where users are encouraged, step by step, to take more and more responsibility in the company depending on their own recovery or growing ability.
63.4. Impact on the governance of local welfare systems
Yalla Trappan represents an example of recent trends of development in Swedish society. The co-operative movement has a long tradition in Sweden, but this activity represents a new discourse and a new field for organising co-operatives. Social enterprises, as well as social entrepreneurship and social economy, are concepts that have been upcoming quite recently and are closely linked with notions of innovation. They have also gained attention on both local and central governmental levels as means to find new solutions to complex social problems. For example, the central government has decided on an action plan for social enterprises (N2010/1894/ENT).
Yalla Trappan has been receiving a lot of attention. The founder says that the positive attention sometimes masks the problems that Yalla Trappan is experiencing, for example, scarce economic resources. They do not get any extra benefits from the municipality (although they benefit from a tax-reform called nystartsjobb which lowers the employment tax when they hire a person who has been unemployed for a long time), even though they are showing positive results and are highly requested by the municipality for internships for women who otherwise would need social support (interview 5).