The Founder of the Year Honorary Award 2021 is awarded to Christina Wahlström, founder of Mama Mia, and Darko Pervan, founder of Välinge and Pervan Holding. 

Christina Wahlström founder of Mama Mia

When Christina Wahlström worked as a midwife at Danderyd Hospital, she realized that there was much to improve for pregnant women, and in 1988 she founded the women's and children's health clinic Mama Mia. What started as a small business in Stockholm grew over the years to Scandinavia's largest women's and children's health clinic, and was later supplemented with the health company To Care Sweden. 

Together with her three children Christina continued to develop the business, and along the way her hard work and struggle for better maternity care has led to a number of changes, including the introduction of MVC money, the right of midwives to prescribe contraception, the abolition of mandatory doctor visits for healthy pregnant women and the commencement of a course in Women's Health for midwives. 

Christina has also been a member of the Board of Vårdföretagarna and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise's board SME. She has received several awards, including the King's medal 8th size in high blue ribbon. 

Today Christina has left Mama Mia, now owned by Nordstjernan, but she is still passionate about helping women around the world to improve health and maternity care.

Darko Pervan founder of Välinge

Darko Pervan had already worked some years at Tändsticksbolaget and then at Perstorp laminate, where he came up with the idea for the world's first laminate floor, before he  founded Välinge in 1993. 

The company started the development of the world’s first mechanical locking system that enables installation of wood and laminate flooring by combining angling and snapping.The principles for locking floorboards mechanically gradually developed to a world standard and thus eliminating the use of 100 million bottles of glue. 

In 2007 a new paper-free Wood Fibre Floor technology was born. A thin wood veneer is combined with wood powder and bonded to a board using high heat and pressure. This creates a surface three times harder than traditional flooring, and ten times more flooring can be produced from the same amount of lumber. 

Välinge's mission is to change how flooring, furniture and wall panels are produced and used, by introducing new technologies that provide better, more cost effective and more environmentally friendly solutions. All new technologies are protected by 3,400 patents. 

Founder of the Year Award Honorary Award is Founders Alliance most prestigious accolade and is presented annually at the Founders Gala. By rewarding and publishing particularly successful founders who have made a lifetime contribution, Founders Alliance wishes to inspire sustainable company building and inspire other founders to act as similarly great role models.

Each year, the Founders Alliance Exemplary Council nominates the winner of the award. Founder of the Year Honorary Award laureate receives The Growth Rings at the Twenty Year Anniversary Founders Gala on September 16, 2021.

Criteria for the Founder of the Year Honorary Award

  • has built a limited company with over SEK 100 million in annual sales
  • has made a lifelong contribution of sustainable and long-term company building
  • has enhanced societal well being based on employment, tax revenue and community involvement
  • is a role model for other founders, businesses and society
  •  no longer need to be operational