Our vision

Startup Migrants was founded in January 2018 by Nicolai Strøm-Olsen and Maria Amelie. 

Our goal is to disrupt the narrative on immigration by showing the effect migrant founders have on wealth creation in Europe and the Middle East, specifically mapping the innovation output of migration in Europe.



A book mapping the innovation output of migration in Europe

Europe is facing considerable challenges in regard to immigration. There is no clear-cut answer as to how to achieve good integration, but more jobs must necessarily be part of the solution. It is through work that a person becomes integrated into society, and it is work that provides hope of a future. In the book …

Our Team

Maria Amelie
Founder Startup Migrants

Maria Amelie is an award-winning writer of four books on immigration, freedom of speech and entrepreneurship.  At 24, her first book Illegally Norwegian  became a bestseller and boosted a huge debate and a movement on refugees and contributed to a law change on immigration in Norway. At 29, after working as tech-journalist for four years, she was awarded Best Startup Journalist for her articles on growing ecosystem in the Nordics. In 2017 she took a leap of faith, crowdfunded and published her 4th book on successful Norwegian founders, or as many call it the Startup Bible.

In 2017-2018 she was representing Norwegian entrepreneurs as a fellow of Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative, a program of the U.S.Department of State in partnership with the German Marshall Fund of the United States. She is also a sought after public speaker and have spoken at TedX, Google, Circle of Top European Communicators, Heroes Conference, BI Business School etc.

Nicolai Strøm-Olsen
Founder Startup Migrants

As a young man Nicolai Strøm-Olsen tried to change the world through politics – at 20 he became the leader of the young conservatives (Akershus Unge Høyre) in Akershus the county surrounding Oslo. It sparked interest in art in society and he wrote a biography about the artist Hans Gude. In 2009 he co-founded the leading Nordic art magazine: KUNSTforum and the art conference Kunstweekend.no

While reporting about culture and city development, he was struck by how startups and artists revive cities in Europe and around the world. He has written three books on business, culture and city development, among Bykamp (2014), Startup Europe, The Entrepreneurs transforming Europe (2016) and Startup Israel – argument breeds innovation (2017). In the process Nicolai has evolved as an inspired public speaker touring medium sized cities with his book Bykanp and presenting at Peter Drücker Forum (Vienna), Arabnet digital summit (Dubai) and Oslo Innovation Week. 

Esther Hayes Grossman

After a serendipitous meeting with Nicolai and Maria in Amman, Jordan, Esther joined our team to help keep everything running smoothly. She has over nine years of experience in humanitarian aid at the local and global level, having worked on international advocacy for girl refugees at Malala Fund, engaged with rural-urban migrants through English and education workshops in Nepal, Mexico and India. She has also conducted international research on migrant social organizing in Morocco and lead after-school programs for resettled refugees in the U.S.

She is currently based in Amman, Jordan where she spends her time supporting a small but mighty local newsroom called Syria:direct and keeping up with her arabic language studies.


Europe is facing considerable challenges in regard to immigration and integration. NGOs, civil society, tech sectors and domestic startup ecosystems wish to solve this problem, but struggle because of an expanding knowledge gap and fragmented communities.

At the same time, many migrants start new businesses and contribute extensively to Europe’s economy. Their potential is untapped. Their contribution is barely visible. Our book Startup Migrants aims to change this. 

Thus far we have interviewed more than 100 policy makers, entrepreneurs, NGOs and migrants in Europe and the Middle East. Our expert analytical skills and depth of experience in the global startup scene perfectly positions us to analyze and act on our results. The estimated book delivery is February 2019.





Today we are three people involved in Startup Migrants, plus great partners and mentors. However, we are always on the lookout for new voices who would like to contribute to our project. If you are a writer, a social media wiz or interested in introducing us to amazing entrepreneurs changing Europe and the Middle East – we want to hear from you!

Maria and Nicolai are available for speaking engagements upon request. Please feel free to reach out!

We are based in Oslo, Berlin and Amman. You can reach us by email: