Humans of Impact Hub
24 November 2015 - bergen

Humans og Impact Hub is a series of interviews with some of our members. We ask them questions about their start-up, what motivates them, their challenges, how impact hub helps their endeavours and where they see themselves in five years time.

This week we chat to Kathrine from Folkelig.


Folkelig is a public health initiative that exists to make it easy for people to take care of their own health, close to where they live. Folkelig currently has two projects underway; Gategym and Smaksverkstedet. We spoke with Kathrine and this is what she had to say:

What motivated you to start Folkelig?

The idea to Folkelig started some years ago, while studying Public Health at Bergen University College. I learnt a lot about how to design and implement projects that could empower people to improve their health and quality of life, but I also realized that even though there is a great need for structured and effective public health projects like this, especially in local communities, the jobs to make this happen were lacking. There’s a few positions in the public sector, but mostly for coordinating existing projects. At the same time I was convinced that not all public health projects should be an initiative from the public sector, and that there was a possibility and a need for someone on “the outside” that could implement and innovate on this field in cooperation with both public health coordinators, government, organizations, local communities and businesses. With this in mind, Ingrid Fardal and I started Folkelig. Ingrid just decided to take a break from the company, to pursue other areas within public health, but Margrethe Vikan Sæbø will be working together with me from now on, adding some new energy and creativity to the company.

What has been your biggest challenge?

There are lots of challenges, but one of the biggest challenges has been to “fall between two stools” when it comes to funding. On one hand we are registered as a normal ‘Ltd.’ company, which makes us too scary for some organisations to work with and for funds to give grants, and on the other side we don’t have a product that is easy to scale and are not enough focused on profit to get any funding as a “normal” startup. On the other hand, this has made us focus a lot on our business model from the very beginning, trying to find a sustainable revenue stream.

Why did you choose a co-working space?

At a co-working space like the Impact HUB Bergen, we get access to programs, seminars and courses to help us build our skills as entrepreneurs, and to reach our goals for social impact. But we also get to be part of a great social community of other entrepreneurs, which gives us inspiration, network, feedback, knowledge and courage to build our ideas.

Tell us about your latest initiatives with Folkelig.

This fall I have been part of an accelerator for social entrepreneurs, with Reach for Change Norway and Ferd Sosiale Entreprenører where I had the chance to focus more on how to scale up one of our projects – Smaksverkstedet. In the next months you’ll hopefully see some more of this taking shape.

Where do you see Folkelig in 2020?

I’d like to see both Smaksverkstedet and Gategym spreading out to several regions, creating social impact at a national level. Hopefully, we’lll also be a bigger team working to develop new public health projects together with different organisations, but still with the same goal of building health-promoting communities and reducing socioeconomic differences in health.