The research group EMBLA is a virtual excellence centre within gender and entrepreneurship studies.

EMBLA was formed in 2012 when researchers from four universities – Helene Ahl, Karin Berglund, Katarina Pettersson and Malin Tillmar – started a research project on women's entrepreneurship. The project focused on how women's organization – or feminist activism – can be theorized in a world of strong structural change – from collectivistic and corporatist to individualistic and entrepreneurial.

The group was named EMBLA after the first woman in Nordic mythology. In contrast to other creation stories, Embla and Ask were created as equals, and independently from each other.

The project was funded by the Swedish Research Council and led by Helene Ahl between 2011 and 2016. Today, EMBLA has become an established research group that has attracted more researchers and has been granted funding for several new research projects.


  • Helene Ahl

    Helene Ahl, PhD, is Professor of Business Administration focusing on gender and learning. She is a member of Encell, and Research Director of the research area Lifelong Learning at the School of Education and Communication in Jönköping.
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  • Karin Berglund

    Karin Berglund, PhD, is Professor of Business Administration, focusing on Entrepreneurship at Stockholm Business School, Stockholm University, where she also leads the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship centre.
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  • Katarina Pettersson

    Katarina Pettersson, PhD, is Associate Professor of Social and Economic Geography. She works as a researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
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  • Malin Tillmar

    Malin Tillmar, PhD, is Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Linnaeus University and Research Director and Co-Director of the Helix Vinn Excellence Centre at Linköping University.
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Research projects

  • Women's entrepreneurship – for rural viability?

    There is great hope that rural entrepreneurship will reverse the trend of depopulation of the countryside. Many of the new rural enterprises are owned and/or run by women – something that both research and rural policy often miss.
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  • "Green care" on farms in Sweden – gender perspectives on entrepreneurship in a changed welfare state

    An interesting and growing phenomenon at the intersection of an altered welfare state and women's entrepreneurship on farms is "green care" – which we will study in the project.
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  • Mumpreneurs in the intersection of gender, business and the Swedish welfare state

    Mumpreneurs – women entrepreneurs who are also mothers, is a growing phenomenon. Assuming that women are the primary child-carers, the literature attributes the rise of mumpreneurship to two factors: the need for a second income to support a family and the lack of good quality and affordable day care.
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EMBLA researcher awarded for outstanding paper 2016

The researchers Birgitta Sköld and Malin Tillmar have been awarded the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence in 2016.

The Emerald Literati Awards, which include the Awards for Excellence and Citations of Excellence, were established to celebrate and reward the outstanding contributions of authors and reviewers to scholarly research.

Malin Tillmar, one of the researchers within EMBLA, and Birgitta Sköld recently received the "Awards for Excellence 2016" for their article "Resilient gender orders in Entrepreneurship: The Case of the Swedish welfare industries". The article is published in the International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship (2015, Vol 7, Issue 1, p 2-26).

Click here for details of the latest winnersexternal link, opens in new window.