National Centre for Lifelong Learning


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, 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, 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, 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, PhD, is Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Linnaeus University and also leads a research project that is a collaboration between Linnaeus University and the research centre HELIX (www.liu.se/Helix) at Linköping University, where Tillmar also works part-time.
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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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Content updated 2019-02-26

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