Ester Barinaga

Ester Barinaga

Professor, Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship

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Personal profile


As a response to growing inequality, apocalyptic environmental damage, and the protracted effects of a global financial crisis, an increasing number of citizen initiatives are leading social innovation and entrepreneurship processes. Suggesting alternative economic and social imaginaries, and aiming at making our communities more resilient and our economies more sustainable, these citizen initiatives are experimenting with new forms of organising collective action. Activist entrepreneurs, community groups, cooperative initiatives, grassroots innovators and social entrepreneurs are working bottom up to generate solutions to many of the world’s current challenges. My research focuses on the concepts, strategies, tools and practices used by this new breed of entrepreneurial initiatives in their efforts to build sustainable economies, inclusive cities, and resilient communities.

Societal impact

The methods I use are interventionist, actively taking part in the entrepreneurial processes I also study. In the past, I founded Förorten i Centrum, a social venture that uses the collective production of mural art to work bottom-up with communities burdened by territorial stigmatisation.

Currently, with a group of researchers and practitioners from Gothenburg University and Kenya (JOOUST University and Grassroots Economics Foundation), I'm part of setting up three community currencies in Kisumu (Kenya). In this doing, we hope to gain a better understanding of the diffusion strategies of grassroots innovations as well as of the economic, social and political impact of these monetary innovations on the communities introducing them.


I teach on topics related to social innovation, social entrepreneurship and grassroots economics. Currently, I coordinate and teach the master courses "Re-imagining Capitalism" and "Re-imagining Money for a Sustainable Future" as well as the PhD course "Digital monies for a Sustainable Future". The later is a collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

UKÄ subject classification

  • Business Administration

Free keywords

  • social entrepreneurship
  • community economies
  • social innovation
  • complementary and community currencies


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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