Being a market leader in Estonia carries both a great responsibility and a good opportunity to support and take active part in the initiatives that are evidence based and make a real impact in our society. For that reason Swedbank Estonia fosters financial and digital literacy, entrepreneurship and development of sustainable society. We understand that sometimes our skills and knowledge can benefit more than money could. Therefore, all Swedbank Estonia employees have each year two paid days off for professional and team volunteering.
Education: Back to School
We are a strategic partner and a true fan of Back to School initiative which provides students with knowledge they can’t find from school books – the experience of guest teachers. Guest teacher can be anyone who wants to enrich school lessons by sharing their real life stories about career, professional field and interesting hobbies. Since 2012 more than 380 Swedbank Estonia employees have registered themselves as guest teachers and given lessons in 86% of all Estonian schools reaching more than 52 000 students with their inspiring lectures.
Education: Teach First
Teachers do more than just teach. They open minds. They help change lives. In 2006 Swedbank and Good Deed Foundation launched Teach First Estonia. We aim to find, train and support people to become brilliant teachers and inspiring leaders and thus help every child in Estonia to get a very good education. Every year we choose up to 30 capable and motivated university graduates and offer them a unique challenge. During the two year program participants will be teaching at school, where they are directly affecting each of their student's progress. Simultaneously they go through a profound teaching and management skills training to support their formation to become outstanding teachers and leaders. With the skills and knowledge they receive from school they will be able to be successful leaders in education or in any other field.
We realized that there’s a financing gap in the tech-ideas implementation – there are many good ideas but not enough support to build their first functional prototypes. In 2012 we launched Estonia’s first equity free prototyping fund together with Tallinn Technical University and Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol. Having two application rounds per year we have received more than 3100 applications and funded 58 projects with 672 795.04 euros since 2012. Prototron’s team have raised more than 16 MEUR as follow-on fundings as Prototron alumni includes such key players as Lingvist, HighMobility, Sprayprinter, etc. In addition, Swedbank Estonia’s employees assess applications and mentor the companies.
Sustainable Society: Health Tracks
Remember this feeling after a nice jog in the forest or a refreshing ski round? We like this feeling and we want more and more people in Estonia to have the option to sport for free whenever they feel like. Therefore, we launched Estonian Health Track network in 2005 together with construction company Merko and national energy company Eesti Energia. Since then we have renovated and built more than 100 natural trails in total length of more than 900 km. Many of these tracks are lighted so that it is possible to jog from sunset to sunrise - because health tracks, unlike sporting clubs, are always open. Besides is Health Tracks focusing on promoting active lifestyle in offices as well - more than 50 companies, schools and ministries have their in-house health tracks. Swedbank's HQ has the longest track in Estonia - 1.2 km.
Time and money donation
Banks and charities both operate on trust. Therefore, in 2008 Swedbank together with the Good Deed Foundation launched the first internet bank related donation environment in the Baltics. The portal “I love helping” holds a selection of charitable organizations in four categories: kids and families; animals; education and social welfare. All of them go through a profound background check to ensure that they are reliable, well managed and the donations are used purposefully. In 2014 we introduced an updated portal that was not tied to internet bank and therefore open to clients of all other banks as well. In addition Swedbank’s clients can donate their Bonus Points and donating is free of charge. Since 2008 the portal has mediated donations in total of 1.1 MEUR to which Swedbank has added 400 000 euros.
Since 2016 Swedbank Estonia employees have two paid days off for professional and team volunteering which usually takes place in summer. In 2015-2017 Swedbankers have done more than 250 good deeds all around Estonia. In 2016 together with the Estonian Employers’ Confederation we invite employers across Estonia to join the charity initiative “Let’s donate time” and give their employees one paid day off per year, so that the employees could use it for doing good. This is a simple and flexible model for starting a charity in an enterprise or for adding to the already existing responsible actions.