Illuminating trailblazing women entrepreneurs in Norway

On Centre-stage: Some Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs from Norway

The global landscape is witnessing a remarkable surge in women entrepreneurship, and the Nordic region stands at the forefront of this transformative movement. A fresh generation of women entrepreneurs is reshaping conventional industries, rewriting the rules of business ownership and inspiring a wave of innovation.

The future of women’s entrepreneurship in the Nordic countries, including Norway, gleams with promise. The steady ascent of women recognizing their entrepreneurial potential and embarking on the journey of establishing their enterprises heralds a horizon adorned with thriving women-led ventures. Beyond its economic implications, this surge promises to catalyze societal transformation, granting women not only financial independence but also greater control over their destinies.

In Norway, a comprehensive national action plan is in motion, fueled by a commitment to promote women’s entrepreneurship as a catalyst for equality and growth. This strategic blueprint, the result of collaboration among seven distinct ministries, weaves a web of twelve impactful measures seamlessly into existing initiatives and programs within entrepreneurship and innovation domains. This multidimensional approach amalgamates entrepreneurship with the crucial domain of “work-life balance,” prompting changes in parental leave regulations and fostering an environment where women’s entrepreneurial spirit can truly flourish.

Here’s presenting some inspiring women entrepreneurs who are changing the rules of the game in Norway.

> Anita KrohnTraaseth, CEO, Innovation Norway

Anita KrohnTraaseth is currently Chief Executive for Innovation Norway, the Norwegian state business innovation and development agency. She has built up an impressive professional pedigree over the years. Her most recent assignments include positions as – managing director of Hewlett Packard, board member and managing director of Intelligent Quality AS and managing director of Simula Innovation AS. Her impressive track record and extensive business network have created an impressive profile on the Norwegian business scene.

Already voted one of the Top 25 Young Business Talents in 2005, she was also ranked among the top 40 potential leaders in business, politics and science in 2009.

Further recognition came in 2012 with the award of the Od@ prize for best female leader in ICT and in 2013 with the Social Media Personality award.

> Kristin Skogen Lund, Director General, Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises

Often described as a rising star in the business circle in Norway, Kristin Skogen Lund was ranked Norway’s most influential woman in business by the local business magazine Kapital in 2011 and 2012. Fortune magazine listed her as one of the 50 most powerful women in business in 2011 and she also featured among the “10 Global Women on the Rise”.

She is currently in the influential arena as the Director General of NHO, the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises. Her track record is very impressive – she was a former Executive Vice President of the Norwegian mobile operator Telenor, and has previously held top positions at the leading daily Aftenposten, Scanpix, and Scandinavia Online; and she also involved with brands such as Coca Cola and Unilever also. She is also a board member of Ericsson.

She also served in the diplomatic service at the Norwegian Embassy in Madrid, and was president of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise and a board member of Orkla ASA, among other companies.

> Berit Svendsen, Executive Vice President – Telenor Group & CEO of Telenor Norway

Berit Svendsen’s professional training in electronics, technology and technology management in Norway and US, dovetail perfectly with her career at the Norwegian company Telenor, one of the world’s largest mobile operators. She joined the company in 1988 as a research scientist, before becoming executive vice president and chief technical officer as well as working chair of the company’s R&D unit. As vice president and head of Telenor Nordic Fixed, she assumed responsibility for the fixed network business in Norway.

In 2008, she joined the secure content company Conax as CEO; and since September 2011, she has been the Executive Vice President in Telenor and CEO of Telenor Norway. Svendsen is also a board member of the financial services company DNB and market data provider Bisnode. Between 2002 and 2007 she served as a member of the European Commission’s Information Society Technology Advisory Group.

Having tried her hand at writing, she has contributed to the non-fiction publication “SHEconomy”, which explores the business potential of female leadership.

> Hilde Midthjell, Founder, Dale of Norway

Hilde Midthjell is a serial Norwegian entrepreneur. With a background in medicine and a distinct flair for business, she is currently Founder and board chair of Dale of Norway – a clothing company that produces outdoor lifestyle gear. The company is perhaps best known for its trademark lusekofte sweater – which features traditional Norwegian design and weaving methods. Incidentally, it has also been the officialsupplier of sweaters for the Norwegian ski team and winter Olympics since 1956.

Prior to taking the reins at Dale, she set up and ran a successful cosmetics company, Dermanor, part of the Dermagruppen group for 20+ years; and, later she sold the company for NOK 500 million. Plus, she is also owner and chief executive of a series of companies – one of which is an investment firm through which she owns a controlling share of Dale of Norway and a minority stake in the sustainable tourism company Basecamp Explorer.

> Virginia Vegas, Program Director & Investment Manager, Start-up Norway

Virginia Vegas is a community builder, engaged in the development of ecosystem, new technologies and the next generation of businesses and entrepreneurs. She has a broad tech investor competence after having educated more than 300 business angels and over 30 fund managers in the Nordics and has experience in both direct investments and funds of funds investments. She is currently focused in developing the VC Challenge, the first pan-Nordic program that prepares emerging fund managers to raise their first fund.

She hopes that more initiatives would emerge that help women to start up and grow their businesses. In terms of access to capital, she believes funds, especially public ones, should make sure that they have enough representation of female investor managers and have a ‘Gender Equality strategy’ in place, as much as they have an ESG strategy in place.

> Agnes Dyvik, Co-Founder & CEO, Vio Media

Agnes Dyvik is the Co-Founder and CEO of Vio Media, a platform that gives you access to more than 50 quality magazines just with one simple subscription. It is significant that she is referred to as he one who created ‘Netflix for magazines’. With her company growing, she dreams of scaling Vio Media on a global level, so that top-notch journalism is easily accessible to everyone.



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