Yalla Trappan is a Work-Integration Social Enterprise (WISE) dealing with labour market introduction for newly arrived immigrant women in the city of Malmö. A significant feature of a WISE is that it provides job opportunities for long-term unemployed individuals who have little or no prospects to (re)establish themselves on the labour market.
Accordingly, the enterprise stems from a previous integration initiative in Malmö called “The Trappan Project”. It was a labour market initiative for unemployed newly arrived immigrant women who, due to lack of education, little or no work experience at all, and with limited knowledge of the Swedish language, found themselves outside the labour market. Consequently, Yalla Trappan is built upon these experiences by making the most of and develop the positive forces that existed in this project. Since Yalla Trappan stems from an integration project, the whole purpose of its existence is to create jobs for unemployed immigrant women who often lack both work experience and education. Most of them have been living in isolation for the last 15-20 years and have thus insufficient language skills. In addition, many have also been on sick leave for extended periods. This indicate that a vast majority of Malmö’s immigrant women have been excluded from the Swedish labour market for quite some time.
Christina Merker-Siesjö founded Yalla Trappan in 2010 as a not-for-profit association in the heart of the socially disadvantaged neighborhood Rosengård in the outskirts of Malmö: a neighborhood with a large percentage of unemployed immigrants, many of whom women. Accordingly, Yalla Tappan aims to create jobs and increase economic independence amongst these women. By utilising the great expertise amongst its employees, Yalla Trappan has created a viable and stable business marked by solidarity thinking and innovation. What started out as a project dependent on financial support from the European Social Fund (Svenska ESF-rådet), the municipality of Malmö (Malmö Stad) and ABF Malmö (Arbetarnas Bildningsförbund) has now evolved into a very successful self-contained social enterprise utilising the knowledge and capabilities of its own co-workers. Consequently, Yalla Trappan is organised as a women´s cooperative built upon democratic principles such as participation, membership and solidarity. As a result, the employees have been empowered by making their own money. They have also gained an increased status within their community, especially by breaking a life-long dependence on social assistance.
Yalla Trappan has 25 employees. In addition, it provide internships for long-term unemployed people. Yalla Trappan offers services within three commercial branches: café and catering, cleaning and conference service plus sewing. In addition, Yalla Trappan sell books, homemade marmalade and educational packages. It also arrange study visits and guided tours around Yalla Trappans´ premises in Rosengård. Despite their sewing services only being a smaller part of their activity, it has brought much attention to Yalla Trappan due to the recently established partnership with IKEA. The partnership means that IKEA customers can place specialised orders on curtains and tablecloths that Yalla Trappan´s employees sew up. IKEA sends the order from the customer to Yalla Trappan that in turn sends the order directly to the customer.