She wants to create 1177 for social services

2023-10-25

Ximena framför Ekonomikum
The company Aidster came to life during the year Ximena Samuelsson-Allendes studied in the Master
Programme in Entrepreneurship at Uppsala University. Photo: Mikael Wallerstedt.

A journey that got derailed was the start of a whole new adventure for Ximena Samuelsson-Allendes. Today she is the CEO of Aidster, a company she founded to reform social services. Her journey to this point involved studies in entrepreneurship at Uppsala University and a supportive network.

The Samuelsson-Allendes family had their bags packed and were ready to travel. Next stop, California! Then the pandemic hit, and the planned move was cancelled. Ximena Samuelsson-Allendes, who at the time was a distance student studying quality assurance at Uppsala University’s Campus Gotland, instead took the opportunity to continue her studies. She chose the Master Programme in Entrepreneurship at the Department of Business Studies, where she began in the autumn semester of 2022.  

“I ended up at Ekonomikum in Uppsala instead of California. Not as glamorous, you might think, but it was the start of a great personal journey for me,” says Ximena Samuelsson-Allendes. 

In one year, she has gone from idea to starting a business. Together with her team, she wants to develop a modular platform where citizens and municipalities can meet digitally.

“Think of it like an 1177 information service for social services. We want the assistance assessment process to be transparent, legally compliant and efficient.”

Something gnawing at her

When Ximena Samuelsson-Allendes entered Ekonomikum, she carried with her more than 15 years of experience from working in the healthcare sector. She was well versed in elderly care. Over the years, she had met hundreds of elderly people and their relatives in connection with their applications for various forms of support measures under the Social Services Act, referred to as assistance. And there were countless times when she thought in frustration that the process from application to assessment to decision should work better.

She describes a regular working day with old and faltering IT systems, a lot of manual work, paper documentation and a high turnover of caseworkers.

“This is something that has been gnawing at me for a long time, but I was not sure that I should be the one to tackle it. However, something happened when I started my Master’s programme. I thought, why not? Now I have the opportunity to try to design a solution that can benefit not only the citizens, but also the caseworkers and the municipalities that have this on their plate,” says Ximena Samuelsson-Allendes.

A solution is born

The focus of the Master Programme in Entrepreneurship is on learning how to develop a business idea into a company. Ximena Samuelsson-Allendes describes it as a perfect blend of theory and practice.

“Throughout the programme, I was able to apply my newly acquired knowledge to evaluate and develop my own idea, in parallel with the assignments we received in the courses. It is a really fun programme, with an incredibly dedicated group of teachers.”

She spent the first semester of the programme validating her idea. Is the problem she experienced with the assistance assessment process something that others can relate to? Do others see a need for a new way of doing things and, if so, what would a solution look like? Ximena Samuelsson-Allendes interviewed caseworkers, assistance managers and development managers in different municipalities in Sweden.

“These interviews were a perfect opportunity to start mapping out what needs exist and what could be done differently, in an unbiased way,” she says.

Ximena in meeting room with advisors
There are fantastic resources available in Uppsala, according to Ximena Samuelsson-Allendes, who has received help from both UU Innovation and UIC to develop her idea and start a business. Photo: Mikael Wallerstedt.

Pilot study with Uppsala Municipality

During her first semester in the programme, Ximena Samuelsson-Allendes also came into contact with UU Innovation, which has been providing her with advice and support ever since. She has also completed a business development programme at UIC.

What Ximena Samuelsson-Allendes concluded from her mapping was that she would like to offer a modular digital platform that automates appropriate processes in the assessment of assistance needs. The aim is, among other things, to free up time for caseworkers to work on more complex cases. At the end of October, her company will begin a pilot study with Uppsala Municipality to map the process for safety alarms and test an initial module. The goal is to fully automate the municipality’s management of safety alarms in elderly care. 

“We are really looking forward to working with Uppsala Municipality. This is a very important project for us, because it gives us legitimacy and an opportunity to show that we can build this. Perhaps this will encourage other municipalities to try something new,” says Ximena Samuelsson-Allendes.

Text: Sara Gredemark


Ximena Samuelsson-Allendes’ best advice for students who are curious about developing an idea

Do it! You have so much to gain by having the courage to test your idea. It is exciting, fun and you will learn a lot.

Get help. In Uppsala, you can get help with everything to move forward with your idea. Organisations like UU Innovation and UIC are invaluable.

Build a network and a team. Talk to people about your business idea. Get old acquaintances involved and make new ones who have knowledge and expertise that you do not. People are more willing to help than you realise. 

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Last modified: 2023-12-01