Do you want to have a positive impact on society?

We support teams that promote sustainability in their core business and want to lead important social change.

What is Startup Social?

Startup Social is a 16-week incubator that supports strong teams that are passionate about solutions to contemporary challenges and supporting the UN's sustainable development goals. There can be solutions relating to health care, welfare technology, improved education systems and gender equality, for example.

Startup Social was founded by Höfði Peace Centre in 2018 and has been run three times since its inception. The growth space is managed KLAK, in collaboration with MITdesignX, is the focal point of the workshops where MIT experts come to Iceland and share their knowledge. Participants receive access to education and training from domestic and foreign experts in the field of social affairs and innovation, and meetings with experienced mentors.

The goal of the growth space is to promote innovation that addresses contemporary challenges and is thus an important platform for community start-ups. The focus is on promoting sustainability in innovation and building start-ups that directly support one or more of the UN's global goals from the first steps.

What is social innovation?

Social innovation involves utilizing the methodology of innovation and design thinking to tackle societal challenges and build systems and solutions that include benefits for people and the environment and therefore for society as a whole.

Does your idea belong in Startup Social?

  • Startup Social supports teams that underpin sustainability in their core business and want to lead important social change.
  • Innovation is welcomed at all levels, from fresh ideas to advanced innovation projects and businesses.
  • Startup Social is open to diverse teams, NGOs and companies that want the opportunity to develop their own ideas and find a sustainable pathway for them.

What can Startup Social invite you?

  • 16-week program in collaboration with MIT designX
  • Access to networking and advice from a strong team of mentors and experts in the field of social affairs, the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and Innovation
  • Facilities in Grósku, a welder of innovation in Vatnsmýri
  • Training from foreign and domestic experts in social innovation, e.g. from
  • MIT, University of Iceland, Reykjavik University, Iceland Academy of the Arts and City of Reykjavík

What do you get out of participating in Startup Social?

The teams involved in Startup Social get to participate in four two-day workshops in Iceland hosted by Svöf Grönfeldt and her colleague from MIT designX. The workshops take place every four weeks, but in between, the teams are guided by the most skilled experts in Iceland to further develop the solutions. The workshops are thematic and address different aspects of the development process, from needs and stakeholders analysis, design of a sustainable business model, pine making losses and budgets to networking and conduct.


10 teams participated in Startup Social year 2022


Cultivation of future buildings: Icelandic hemp casting and its uses.


Fort counteracts the acceleration of loss of muscle mass and muscle strength (acute-sarcopenia) in patients bedridden in hospital for an extended period of time with a special leg press to maintain muscle strength.

Turquoise heat

Circular heat grows vegetables in an eco-friendly way, in close proximity to consumers, with a unique circular economy solution.


The project Concept Builders educates kids about innovation and draws on role models for entrepreneurs of all genders, ages, fields and regions of Iceland. The aim of the project is to promote kids' entrepreneurial skills and encourage them to create solutions for the future.

The Leaf

Laufið is a new digital platform with practical tools and an incentive system that leads businesses and consumers on a journey to a greener and more sustainable society.


High-tech greenhouse focusing on the circular economy.

On To Something

On to Something (OTS) is an international e-commerce platform where residual materials make purchases and sales.


Orb develops technologies to measure the carbon sequestration of forests in a cheap and accessible way to promote responsible carbon offsetting and the production of certified carbon units.

Sara, girl with ADHD

Sarah's goal, the girl's ADHD, is to attract the attention of children and those closest to them to different manifestations of ADHD in girls and boys. We want to put our weight on the scales so that the "lost girls" get the attention, help and understanding they need.


The Smart Speech program in 2022 took place every other week. The MIT designX workshops are four, or once a month. In between the workshops, Reykjavik University, the University of Iceland and the Iceland Academy of the Arts will have workshops. In addition, participants meet the mentors four times over the course of the period and participate in various events. 


August 25-26: Understand

What problems are being solved and who will benefit from the solution? 

Emphasis on:

  • Needs analysis
  • Market segmentation
  • Stakeholder map
  • Deconstruction


22nd – 23rd of September: Solve

What is the solution and what are the benefits of it for stakeholders? 

Emphasis on:

  • Mission design
  • Value proposition
  • User journey
  • Rapid prototyping procession


October 21-22: Envision

What do we want to achieve, and what values are the basis for decision-making?

Emphasis on:

  • Designing vision design 
  • Founder's values and negotiations
  • Sustainable business model 
  • People and partners


November 16th – November 17th: Execution

What is the best way to implement, scale it and finance it?

Emphasis on:

  • Action plan
  • Budget
  • Financing 
  • History and pitch



Orn Viðar Skúlason

Investment Manager of Innovation Fund

Erik Figueras Torras

Phone Manager

Dagný Jónsdóttir

Head of Resource Park HS Orka

Anna Signý Guðbjörnsdóttir

UX Researcher & Service Designer @ Kolibri

Karl Gudmundsson

Ceo florealis ehf.

Lóa Bára Magnúsdóttir

Marketing Manager Origo

Ásta Sóllilja Guðmundsdóttir

Business Development and CFO of Auður Tæknitorgs ehf

Bárður Örn Gunnarsson

Managing Director of Svartitindur ehf.

Sigurjón Þórðarson

Human Resource Business Partner - CCP

Gest R. Bárðarson

Managing Director/owner of Punkt ehf

Hanna Kristín Skaftadóttir

Director of Business Intelligence Bifröst University

Anna Margrét Guðjónsdóttir

Founder & CEO of Evris ehf.

Halla Helgadóttir

Managing Director - Centres for Design and Architecture

Gunnlaugur Árnason

CMCO - Sidekick

Honorary Kristín Helgadóttir

Executive Director Niceland SEafood

August Freyr Ingason

Vertu ehf

Jón Páll Leifsson


Gest Pétursson


Ólöf Vigdís Ragnarsdóttir

Head of Innovation University of Iceland

Margrét Júlíana Sigurðardóttir

founder of mussila

Hólmfríður Sveinsdóttir

Rector of the University of Hólar

Gunnar Tryggvason

Port Director fax bay ports

Sæmundur Sæmundsson

executive director Efla hf.

Viktoría Valdimarsdóttir

Chairman of the Board responsible solutions

Christian Schram

Marketing Consultant instrúment

Kjartan Thorsson

Founder and Ceo. nordverse medical solutions

Sævar Garðarsson

System Lead Engineer Medical Exoskeletons Össur hf.

Ósk Sigurðardóttir

executive director SELF-RESCUE

Thoranna K. Jonsdottir

digital marketing consultant

Gísli Ólafsson


Gudmundur Páll Líndal

Founder and Ceo. lava cheese

Sophia Kristín Þórðardóttir

Product porfolio manager, Origo

Dagný Halldórsdóttir


Daddi Guðbergsson

Adviser E4

Control group

Sofa Grönfeldt


Auður Örlygsdóttir

Höfði Peace Centre

Pia Hansson


Hulda Hallgrímsdóttir

The City of Reykjavík

Magnus Thor Torfason

University of Iceland

Thomas Pausz

Iceland Academy of the Arts

Hallur Thor Sigurdsson

Reykjavik University

Sveinn Kjarval


Gunnar Sveinn Magnússon


Dóra Björk Þrándardóttir


Lóa Bára Magnúsdóttir



Óli Örn Eiríksson

The City of Reykjavík

Startup Social HLSG

Tryggvi Haraldsson

Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour