The winner of the first ever Nordic Brave Founder Beginnings Award became Olivier Mukuta from Norway.
Olivier is a founder of Vipicash, a company that aims to create a world
with equal opportunities. They build transparent and traceable
digital payment system for remittance and aid sent to Africa and Asia.
Startup Migrants created this award fall 2018 in partnership with the Nordic Startup Awards.
The goal is to award a migrant or refugee startup founder(s) in the technology field who has shown notable achievements over the last year in the Nordic region and acts as a role model for their own community.
Olivier received the award at the main event, Nordic Startup Awards, in Copenhagen. Over 500 founders, investors and key players in the Nordic ecosystem joined the event and celebrated achievements in the region.
IN OLIVIERS OWN WORDS
“I always say I’ve lived three lives. I was born in Congo. And then grew up in Malawi in a refugee camp, and then my family moved to Norway when I was 18. In Norway, both my father and I were working and getting good paychecks, and sending money back to help our friends in the refugee camp. But we were finding that the money was not being used as intended. I’d tell my friends the money was for school, but then find out it was wasted on fees and on other things on its way to them. It was frustrating.
I am proud of being able to get to the point where I can create a work place for myself and others members of my community.
Despite our fast success, we’ve faced challenges getting access to networks with the right people who can help grow the idea. We also spend a lot of time overcoming unconscious biases.”
Watch here his acceptance speech
How did we start the Brave Founder Beginnings Award?
Two months ago we in Startup Migrants had an idea. Why not create a prize that would celebrate and put on the map inspiring Nordic founders with migrant background?
We made a quick call to Kim Balle, the founder of the Nordic&Global Startup Awards and his team. They loved the idea and said yes to partner up with us!
In a few weeks we identified many migrant founders from outside of EU living and building tech companies in the Nordics. Some of them we had interviewed for our upcoming book and some of them were new names to us. We were very happy to discover them and hear their stories.
Here are the finalists for 2018:
Samer Al Moubayed — Co-Founder & CEO at Furhat Robotics — a Conversational AI and Social Robotics startup that is building the world’s first social robotics and conversational system platform.
Olivier Mukuta — CEO of Vipicash — Oslo, Norway based startup who has developed a transparent and trackable digital payment system for remittance and aid sent to Africa and Asia.
Gulnaz Khusainova — CEO & Founder of Easysize which helps online shops to reduce over-consumption and over-stocking items that will not sell or will be returned.
Fida Abu Libdeh — CEO of geoSilica Iceland which produces high — quality silica health products from Iceland’s geothermal plants’ geothermal water, in order to improve people’s health.
Here is the jury:
Of course we couldn’t decide ourselves who was the winner of the Nordic finale. It was too hard! Instead we asked experienced jury to help us.
- Gautam Chandna — the CEO & Co-Founder of TikkTalk, a platform that helps interpreters connect with customers.
- Maia Bix — the Research, Grants, and Administration Specialist at the Tent Partnership for Refugees
- Ingi Rafn Sigurdsson — CEO and co-founder at Karolina Fund, a full-stack crowdfunding business solution for platforms, governments and companies.
- Mathilde Byskov — Humanitarian Sales and Programme Manager at BRIGHT Products.
- Silvija Seres — a mathematician and a technology investor, Oxford alumni and acknowledged public speaker in the Nordics.
- Valentina Primo — CEO and founder of Startups without borders
We look forward to doing this again next year!
Reach out to us if you want to partner up with us!