A new startup factory in Oslo wants to make profit out of UN’s development goals

Posted by Robert / on 01/30/2018 / 2 Comments

There is too much talk and not enough action among politicians to meet the sustainable development goals as defined by the UN.

This according to Folk Oslo, a new startup factory which has decided to take the matter in their own hands.

50 influential Norwegians - ranging from tech entrepreneurs to philosophers and musicians - have teamed up to tackle some of our greatest challenges.


It could have been a lineup for an arts and tech fest. The founder of edtech startup Kahoot, Johan Brand, will be joining and so are the philosopher and peace researcher Henrik Syse, film director Ulrik Imtiaz Rolfsen, songwriter Amund Bjørklund and author Kathrine Aspaas.

But their mission is something completely different. They have been put together by Trigger X, a spin-off from the PR agency Trigger, in the new initiative Folk Oslo (People Oslo).

"It's exciting and a bit untraditional to invite people with artistic competences and mix them with tech people and businessmen in suit and tie. We think that it will bring new perspectives and thoughts," says Ida Hatlebrekke, manager of Folk Oslo, to Business Insider Nordic.

The hand-picked team of 50 influential people in different fields will be working together to create for-profit social businesses. The plan is to break down the sustainable development goals, as defined by the UN, to an individual level - and then tackle the problems with a startup approach.

"I think that many, both individuals and companies, think of these goals as something that is helpful for developing countries and has little to do with oneself. We want to make them relevant and tangible for everybody."

"Norway has, in my opinion, not had much of a strategy on how to work with these goals. There have been plenty of reports and just vague plans. There are some signs that the government will present more tangible proposals, but we wanted to do something ourselves."

Depression, traffic jams and plastic pollution

Crowdsourcing is used to define the problems. Citizens of Oslo are asked to share the struggles they're facing in their daily lives on their website.

Cyberbullying, depression among young people, traffic jams and plastic pollution in the Oslo fyord are some of the ideas they have come up with so far.

Folk Oslo will gather input from the citizens a few weeks more before assigning smaller teams to try to solve each selected problem. The idea is to become a startup factory, where everybody who is involved in the process will be a part-owner. Those who will be founding the companies will get a larger ownership stake.

Luckily, Folk Oslo also has business angels, such as Tharald Nustad, in the team to help secure capital.

What are your goals in terms of output?

"I would be really glad if we could create three or four companies that will address serious problems, while creating jobs and making money. Then I would be able to sleep well at night. Anything more would be a bonus."

She is convinced that social businesses that make money have an advantage over non-profit ones.

"When you work in non-profit it is a constant battle to not run out of money, which might reduce the impact," says Ida Hatlebrekke.

"There should not be a contradiction between doing good things and making money."

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  • Sohail says:

    good job! Wish u success on the venture and maybe some day it goes global

    January 30, 2018 at 7:23 AM | Permalink

  • Robert says:

    I have spent a lot of time in Norway and this truly is exciting.

    January 31, 2018 at 3:28 AM | Permalink

 

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