23 May 2018 - bergen


Eirik’s Story

I never planned to be an entrepreneur.

My life has been influenced by different fields of interests. As a young student I was studying theology and medicine. At the same time one of my main passions was music – listening to music and playing music. But I never considered it as a career option.

I started and quit med-school. I was frustrated that I hadn’t gotten enough information about my career options in high school. I worked as a teacher and at the same time I started my first company. That company was actually the result of my past disappointments. I decided to travel around Norway accessorizing young adults in their choices and sharing my story. It was never meant to become a business, but the idea was good and the young people loved it. So it became a company and I worked part-time for Studiestart (Starting Studies) together with my brother-in-law.

Then I moved to New York, where I had the perfect job. I was the Culture Director for the Norwegian Seamens Church, which is an official organization for Norwegians abroad.  It functions as a Norwegian cultural center for Norwegians abroad. I was promoting Norwegian culture in New York and making cultural events available for Norwegians. We had a space close to the United Nations where I opened a gallery with the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

In both Starting Studies and the gallery I was entrepreneuring, I was starting new things in totally different areas.

In 2010 I came back to Bergen and was wondering what to do next. I received an offer to join a startup that evolved out of a collaboration between Starting Studies and a similar company in Oslo. Also, a bank in Norway asked us to start a loyalty program for students. But things tend to not develop the way you think and instead develop their own dynamics. The initial project didn’t flow – so instead we started a company and built a solution with the ability to run multiple loyalty programs. It turned out to be a good business idea and we have been around for 8 years now. It has been a lot of road blocks on the way, but we have managed to move ahead.

My connection to the Hub was through Silje – she had coaching courses for our employees in Starting Studies. When I found out that she was starting the Hub  I decided to get involved. The windows you see in the Café were actually painted by me in one of the first “dugnads” when the Hub was started. I’m amazed by the growth of the Hub and how the house has evolved. For me the Hub is not only work place – it has the feeling of being a home too. The Hub is kind of like a family – a lot of different people doing different things, but we work and hang out together as friends. What I like most about the Hub besides the nice building are the people in it: their devotion to social entrepreneurship and working for a purpose that goes beyond making money.