HUMANS OF IMPACT HUB
I started studying public health here in Bergen in 2008 with the motivation of learning more about physical activity and nutrition. During my studies I got more interested in the socio-economical differences of health and issues related to public health on a global level. Especially how where you grow up, live and work impacts your health & wellbeing. This type of inequality is very unfair – but also possible to change.
My wish was to make the places people grow up, live and work more health promoting for everyone. And change peoples’ perception of what it means to be healthy. Good health can easily become unreachable if a small elite sets the bar for what is good health. No one is 100% healthy or 100% sick. For me it is about more than apples and abs. I want health to be more about meaningful and supportive social networks, safety, inclusion and empowerment.
When I was done in 2011 I was really eager to work with this. But neither in the private nor in the public sector there were jobs focussing on these issues. I felt that there was a lack of initiatives and a lot of room for things that could be improved. So I decided to start my own company and take on these challenges.
I often do things I don’t know how to do. At the same time I started Folkelig I got involved in startup initiatives, like the Startup Weekend. I got more involved in building the startup community here in Bergen, running and facilitating startup events etc. I think I learned a lot by helping other entrepreneurs with things I didn’t know myself.
Entrepreneurship, finances, marketing and design etc weren’t part of my studies and it took me about a year to figure out what I wanted to do and how to do it. It wasn’t until we found out there was something called Social Entrepreneurship that we really got started and found a direction. In the other startup communities we didn’t find our space as we had an impact driven company. But when we discovered Impact Hub we learned more about social businesses, that it is actually a thing – and that we were not completely off. We started connecting with other people and getting to know the community. I remember we even went to Stockholm to the Social Innovation Camp with Microsoft and we talked about an old idea, an app to organize social activities. I was in the panel talking about entrepreneurship on stage, when I had only been in this field for 6 months. But it was wonderful!
In 2013 we got our first customer, Bergen Kommune, and from then on the business has been growing steady. Today we have many projects, recently won a tender from the Norwegian directorate of health, collaborating with the norwegian WHO healthy cities network, and scaling our biggest project called Smaksverkstedet, where we teach kids about food after school. We’ve established it in many municipalities now, as part of a national initiative from Gjensidigestiftelsen. We’ve also just recently got into the school budget in Bergen, where we will educate more kids about food and sustainability this fall. I’m so happy to have my co-worker Ann Helen and many other people working with me on this, and we’ll soon increase the team. We have way too much to do :).
Contact Kathrine Marthinsen:
Photo Credits: Øyvind Toft