This week Specialisterne is celebrating its 10th anniversary
On the 2nd of February 2004, Thorkil Sonne founded Specialisterne in Denmark with a vision of enabling jobs for people with autism. Inspired by his young son Lars, who had been diagnosed with Infantile Autism, Thorkil established Specialisterne, and subsequently The Specialisterne Foundation (former Specialist People Foundation), in an attempt to tailor a working environment geared towards people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, enabling them to use their specialist skills to act as consultants in the business sector.
“My vision back then was the same as it is now,” says Thorkil Sonne, Chairman of the Board for both Specialisterne Denmark and for The Specialisterne Foundation (former Specialist People Foundation), and Director of Specialisterne USA. “To create meaningful job opportunities for people with autism and to change the way society perceives them.” Continue reading
Launching 1000 Jobs in Denmark for People with Autism
The Specialisterne Foundation (former Specialist People Foundation) announced today that it is launching a new initiative, the goal of which is to create 1000 jobs in Denmark for people with autism and similar challenges. The initiative entitled ”1000 Jobs in Denmark” will be funded over the next 30 months by a donation of almost DKK 5.4 million from the VELUX FOUNDATIONS. The VELUX FOUNDATIONS are non-profit foundations created by Villum Kann Rasmussen, the founder of VELUX and other companies in the VKR Group.
This initiative will be driven by the Specialisterne Foundation (former Specialist People Foundation) through partnerships with the corporate sector, public institutions and other stakeholders in the labor market. The ultimate goal – together with the creation of 1000 jobs – is to change existing attitudes among Danish employers towards hiring people with autism, and to generate interest among employers in placing people with autism into meaningful jobs where their unique competencies, such as attention to detail, strong logical and analytic skills, an above-average ability to concentrate for long periods of time, diligence and zero-fault tolerance, can create maximum value. Continue reading
Specialisterne Proves its Social-economic Value to Denmark
The Specialisterne Foundation (former Specialist People Foundation) today published a report proving the social-economic value of Specialisterne’s employment of people with autism to the Danish economy and on Danish society. The Specialisterne Impact Analysis Report shows that in the five-year period from 2008-2012 people with autism employed by or through Specialisterne have generated a net value of DKK 13.5 million for the Danish state. Continue reading
Specialisterne Denmark have received an injection of growth capital from the newly established The Social Capital Fund (“Den Sociale Kapitalfond”), Denmark’s first social venture fund, which is focusing on investing capital and competencies in promising social entrepreneurs to scale their social impact and economic performance.
The Chairman of The Social Capital Fund, Ms. Gurli Martinussen, calls Specialisterne a prime example of social entrepreneurship: “Specialisterne have spotted a unique potential in people who often is seen as a vulnerable group in society, and used this potential to create exciting and meaningful jobs. It is a sustainable social solution that also helps to further develop the understanding of how we create more opportunities for everyone in society. It is exactly the type of businesses we want to help spread and develop,” she says.
For Specialisterne Denmark the new financial platform will make an important difference in its endeavours to create more jobs for people with autism spectrum disorders. CEO Henrik Thomsen says: “We have lacked growth capital to exploit our potential in the market to a greater extent and expand our team of consultants with autism spectrum disorders. Where Specialisterne might have been too “social” for some commercial investors, but too “commercial” for some social funders, we have in the Social Capital Fund encountered an investor with the social aspect as a priority as well as knowledge and resources to help us in our business mission to create further sustainable jobs. We will now be able to take major step forward and get much more ‘specialist people’ in work”.