Autumn 2018 we created a Brave Founder Beginning Award together with Kim Balle and the team behind Nordic&Global Startup Awards. Our main goal is to celebrate 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.
Here are the finalists
Denmark – Gulnaz Khusainova
Gulnaz is the founder of Easysize, a startup that changes the fashion industry and makes it more sustainable by using data and algorithms. From the age of 19 Gulnaz work has been deeply connected with technology – from founding 2 startups to working in banking and the corporate sphere.
Gulnaz started her entrepreneurial journey at the age of 19 in Moscow, Russia, when I founded my first tech startup. After several career moves towards different industries and at one point in the banking world – EasySize came to fruition. Gulnaz and her team are aiming to change the fashion industry for good.
Sweden – Samer Al Moubayed
Growing up in Syria, Samer Al Moubayed often felt stuck. Like his many of his peers in the Middle East he did not identify with the culture and the mindset. Long before the war in Syria started, Samer moved to Belgium to study for a year to and finish his master’s degree. This was only the beginning.
Ten years later Samer is the founder of Furhat Robotics. Furhat’s vision is to build the world’s most expressive, customizable, and socially intelligent robotics platform to enable applications of human-robot interaction in the real-world. Furhat has now gained traction across the globe with spotlights by BBC, Forbes, and growing corporate partnerships with companies like Disney Research. Furhat recently launched a cohort of “Champions” who will work alongside them to refine and support the creation of this ground breaking AI system.
Iceland – Fida Abu Libdeh
Fida found her way in entrepreneurship through her studies in energy engineering. She pioneered an understanding of what sustainability of the geothermal power plants must look like. After extensive research with a colleague and peer, GeoSilica was established in 2012. GeoSilica has developed a unique production method to extract, concentrate and purify silica minerals from the geothermal water. GeoSilica aims to increase the utilization of geothermal energy.
Today GeoSilica products are sold in Iceland, Amazon.com, all German-speaking countries, Hong Kong and we are finalizing our agreements with Canada. Geosilica has been evaluated for 700 million USD.
Norway – Olivier Mukuta
Olivier and his team were among the winners at the first “blockchain hackathon” co-organized by UN Women and Innovation Norway in July 2017. Mukuta’s team developed ‘VipiCash’, an app that uses blockchain technology to enable secure money transfer among women, so that they can have access and control over their own money, independent of the male members of their family.
Olivier’s journey as an entrepreneur began in a refugee camp in Malawi at the age of 13. Emboldened by the needs refugees voiced in his community, Olivier and a friend began selling an email service to fellow refugees enabling them to reach out and contact their families who may be outside the camp.