Ester Barinaga

Professor, Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship, PhD

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Social Sciences


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


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.

Recent research outputs

Ester Barinaga, 2020 Oct 31, 11 p. Harvard Business Publishing.

Research output: Other contributionTeaching case

Ester Barinaga & Valeria Giacomin, 2020 Apr 20, 15 p. Harvard Business Publishing.

Research output: Other contributionTeaching case

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