Canadian operation is latest in worldwide expansion of successful and
award-winning international social enterprise
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TORONTO, Nov. 5, 2013 /CNW/ - Specialisterne, an internationally
recognized leader in harnessing the talents of people on the autism
spectrum, launched today in Canada, with headquarters in Toronto and
offices in Vancouver, and Quebec City. Specialisterne Canada Inc. is
teaming up with government, community and corporate partners to provide
people on the autism spectrum - an under-utilized human resource - with the opportunity to obtain meaningful and sustained employment.
Originally founded in Denmark in 2004 by Thorkil Sonne, a parent of a
child on the autism spectrum, Specialisterne has turned into a global
movement with the parent organization Specialist People Foundation as a
platform designed to enable 1 million jobs globally for people with
autism and similar challenges. In Canada, Specialisterne aims to
enable 10,000 jobs through its related IT consulting business and by
actively working with corporations and public agencies to train and
employ people with autism in their own organizations. Sonne has
relocated to Delaware, USA, to lead the Specialisterne impact in North
"There is so much opportunity for us in Canada to create meaningful and
productive jobs for the growing number of people diagnosed with
autism," says Thorkil Sonne, Founder of Specialisterne. "There is
clearly a readiness and excitement here and we are confident that the
combination of our operational experience from 11 countries, and a very
strong and dedicated team in Canada, will bring about the sort of
change that will benefit all stakeholders."
The Specialisterne model has made a tremendous impact by identifying and
cultivating the strengths and capabilities of individuals on the autism
spectrum - many of them with unique skills in science, technology,
engineering and mathematics. Through specialized hiring, onboarding
and management practices, employees and employers are armed to succeed
in previously inaccessible industries and careers.
A key objective for Specialisterne in Canada will be to convince
corporate Canada that employment of people with autism makes sense not
just in terms of meeting diversity and inclusion goals, but also as
because it makes good business sense. The company is currently
recruiting for a variety of technology roles in Vancouver and Montreal
for SAP Canada Inc. a worldwide leader in business management software
and Specialisterne's first corporate client in Canada, and is engaged
in discussions with other leading enterprises across Canada.
"This is much more than an altruistic venture," said Kirsten Sutton,
vice president and managing director of SAP® Labs Canada. "We have already seen through successful pilot projects in
India and Ireland how the employment of people with diverse talents,
including people with autism, can offer us a new way of thinking and
bring value to our business."
For governments, the socio-economic benefits of employing people on the
autism spectrum are compelling. A recently published impact analysis on
Specialisterne in Denmark showed more than 2 times return on investment
measured in welfare savings, taxes generated and other contributions,
resulting in an actual annual value creation totalling several millions
of dollars to the state.
"I want to commend Specialisterne Canada for choosing to open an office
in Ontario," said Eric Hoskins, Minister of Economic Development, Trade
and Employment. "Social enterprises like Specialisterne Canada make our
communities stronger and help to build a fair Ontario for everyone.
Ontario's recently released, Impact - A Social Enterprise Strategy for
Ontario, will help position the province as the leading social
enterprise jurisdiction in North America. Social enterprises, like
Specialisterne, make good business sense and deliver effective
solutions for pressing social challenges, like helping people with
autism find meaningful job opportunities."
Specialisterne translates from Danish as "The Specialists," and was
originally founded in Denmark by Thorkil Sonne in 2004. Specialisterne
is a socially innovative business that uses the characteristics of
people with autism as a competitive advantage, and as a means to help
people with autism secure employment. The majority of the employees in
Specialisterne have a diagnosis on the autism spectrum, and work as
consultants on tasks such as software testing, programming and
data-entry for the corporate sector. Today, Specialisterne operations
exist in Denmark, Poland, Iceland, Norway, Ireland, Austria,
Switzerland, Germany, Spain, the U.S., the UK and Canada. The
Specialisterne concept is owned by the Specialist People Foundation.
SAP and all SAP logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG
in Germany and in several other countries. All other product and
service names mentioned are the trademarks of their respective
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SOURCE: Specialisterne Canada Inc.
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