Key take-way points from our breakfast discussion

Næringsminister Torbjørn Røe Isaksen lytter til Tøyen-gründere

Here is a short event description in Norwegian:

Næringsminister Torbjørn Røe Isaksen (H) inviterer gründere og næringsdrivende med minoritetsbakgrunn for å få råd om hvordan næringspolitikken kan bli bedre, slik at flere bedrifter lykkes med å vokse og skape flere jobber.

– Gründerkulturen som finnes blant næringsdrivende med minoritetsbakgrunn gir store muligheter for flere arbeidsplasser. Det finnes også mange forbilder i dette miljøet som fortjener å få mer oppmerksomhet og bli løftet frem, sier Torbjørn Røe Isaksen.

Næringsministeren vil høre på dem som har skapt sin egen – og kanskje også andres – arbeidsplass, og som vet hvor skoen trykker.

– Det å skape sin egen arbeidsplass er god integrering. Som en del av regjeringens integreringsdugnad vil jeg derfor besøke Tøyen for å høre mer om alle de gode suksesshistoriene som mange næringsdrivende med minoritetsbakgrunn der har, sier Torbjørn Røe Isaksen.

Målet med møtet er samtidig å benytte anledningen til å løfte frem positive historier om vellykket næringsutvikling i minoritetsmiljøene.

– Jeg vil høre og lære om gründerkulturen som finnes blant næringsdrivende med minoritetsbakgrunn, og få innspill til hvordan regjeringen kan bidra til at enda flere lykkes med å skape bedrifter som vokser, sier Røe Isaksen.

Minister of Trade, Industry and Fisheries talking to Wid Al-Seayd a social entrepreneur based at Tøyen Unlimited

Wid Al-Saeyd (Founder of WIDE-INK) and Torbjørn Røe Isaksen (Minister of Tade)

Last Wednesday we hosted a breakfast discussion with the Minister of Trade. Torbjørn Røe Isaksen gave a short introduction to his motivation for making improvements to the policy environment for entrepreneurs. Isaksen wanted to listen to suggestions about ways he could make it easier for entrepreneurs to succeed.

The Minister mentioned that on average fewer women than men are prominent in the start-up scene in Norway. Which might explain his interest in Social Entrepreneurship where on average 60% of the founders and CEOs are women. One of the main barriers faced by entrepreneurs that the minister raised at the start of the event is the difficulty in selling products and services to the public sector.

Saad Hashi and Firdawsa Ahmed (Co-Founders of Atlas Kompetanse)

Saad Hashi and Firdawsa Ahmed (co-founders of Atlas Kompetanse) emphasised the need for Innovation Norway to open up to investments in social innovation. At the moment Innovation Norway mainly focuses on tech start-ups and scalable products/services. There is little understanding or intention in scaling social impact. Where are the resources and infrastructure support to enable more change-making through partnerships and social franchise models for example?

Tøyen Unlimited would like to challenge the Minister to support pubic social partnerships and the expansion of Unlimited services and facilities such as the nabolagsinkubator in more local authority areas across Norway.

As Saad mentioned, entrepreneurs require legal, financial and industry specific knowledge at the early stage of their business to ensure they do not setup to fail. Refugees currently arriving in Norway have already taken a lot of risk in order to get here. Public services need to meet them where they are. For example translating the law into different languages.

Elvic Kongolo (Founder of Musikkbryggeriet)

It is important for entrepreneurs solving wicked social challenges to be close to both the community they serve and the public sector that has a vested interest in the success of the intervention. The added advantage of combining an asset based approach to community development with a strong drive for social entrepreneurship is that it builds trust both ways – between the community and the public sector – and opens for collaboration in public service procurement.


Some of the entrepreneurs presenting included two Unlimiters: Wid Al-Saedy and Elvic Kongolo. Elvic spoke about the importance of incubators and support organisations being a door opener for entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurs often have the passion and drive to make a lasting change in their community but they need to be met with open doors and public services willing to improve their reach and accessibility.

Jonas Tesfu founder of Pangea Accelerator spoke about the need for business accelerator programmes and on-going support for 13-17 year olds with the entrepreneurial skills and values. A great example of a social enterprise  employing young people is Kompass & Co also present that morning. Young people living in Grønland are a specific target group for Tøyen Unlimited – our next introduction event is on Thursday 21st June at Deichman Tøyen for aspiring entrepreneurs to apply for funds and support to kickstart their enterprise!

Sherry Hakimnejad (Founder of Kompass & Co)

We look forward to continuing to inform policy reform and connect politicians and influencers with those closest to the issues and actively creating employment where it is needed.