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Sten K. Johnson

- A Legacy of Entrepreneurial Excellence and Philanthropy

Sten K. Johnson (1945-2013) was a distinguished entrepreneur and industrialist whose life journey exemplified the power of entrepreneurship as a force for societal good. A proud alumnus of Lund University, he graduated in 1968 with a degree in Business Administration, transitioning from the academic world to the challenging realms of the industry and business sector.  

Johnson's career was marked by significant roles in several key companies in southern Sweden. He began at Trelleborg AB, a major rubber manufacturing company, setting the foundation for his diverse professional path. His journey continued at Sonessons, where he balanced the role of vice chair of the Swedish Shareholders’ Association. In 1979, Johnson's leadership skills led him to the position of vice president at Skåne Gripen. His entrepreneurial spirit also saw him as a finance consultant and a stock columnist for Göteborgsposten. Johnson's business acumen culminated in him eventually founding the publicly listed conglomerate of Midway Holding, where he served as the Chairman and CEO until his passing in 2013. He also owned Tibia Konsult AB, the company that is the majority shareholder of Midway Holding.  

Sten K. Johnson's interests extended beyond the corporate world. He was a humanist at heart, with a passion for music, playing the bugle, and an unusual hobby of listening to fiction in Morse code. His love for music and literature was paralleled only by his commitment to entrepreneurship.

His philanthropic efforts were a cornerstone of his legacy. Deeply invested in nurturing young entrepreneurs, Johnson was involved in "Uppstart Malmö," aiming to engage people in new entrepreneurial activities, particularly in the parts of the city with high unemployment levels. In 2012, he established the Sten K. Johnson Foundation, dedicated to promoting research and development across various domains, including entrepreneurship, literature, music, medicine, and technology.

In the spring of 2011, Johnson made a landmark donation of SEK 20 million to the entrepreneurship division at Lund University's School of Economics and Management. This generous gift led to the establishment of the Sten K. Johnson Centre
for Entrepreneurship (SKJCE), which has since then evolved as a prominent hub for cutting-edge entrepreneurship research and education. His vision was further solidified with an additional donation of SEK 20 million in 2013, followed by annual contributions of SEK 4 million to ensure the Centre's enduring success and impact.

As a former student on the Lund University Master’s programme in Business and Economics, Sten K. Johnson was closely connected to the School of Economics and Management and its activities. In 2012, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the university. Johnson was a strong advocate for increased collaboration between academia and the business sector. His profound belief in this synergy was articulated in an interview in 2012.

"In the long term, I hope that there will be more and better companies emerging from academia, but also that the programme will contribute to a greater understanding of the conditions for private companies, and create interesting research results."

         - Sten K. Johnson, Tidningen Entreprenör, 7 March 2012 (translated by SKJCE) 

Sten K. Johnson has left behind a remarkable legacy that continues to inspire and shape the future of entrepreneurship. His visionary support and belief in the transformative power of knowledge and innovation are vividly embodied in the Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship, a testament to his life’s work and dedication to fostering entrepreneurial talent.

In 2011, Sten K Johnson donated 20 million SEK to entrepreneurship activities at Lund University and thus permitted the formation of Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship.