Our Story

It all started many years ago, in 2002, when Maria Amelie fled to Norway and became asylum seeker. After years in uncertainty, 25 years old, she wrote her first book telling her refugee story. That led to a change in the immigration law and a debate on migrants rights in the Northern Europe earning her title as Norwegian of the Year. Right after she went into entrepreneurship and technology journalism and wrote 3 more books.

In 2002 Nicolai Strøm-Olsen was changing the world through politics as a young conservative in Norway. He then continued with his passion – art. He wrote a book on Norway`s foremost artist Hans Gude, co-founded a new Nordic art magazine KUNSTforum and the art conference Kunstweekend.no, and started Frekk Forlag, a publishing company where he explored entrepreneurship, city development and policy.

In the fall 2017, they met at Oslo Innovation Week by Skaperkraft think tank introduction. Both wanted to learn more on the topic of migration and entrepreneurship. Something was in the works on this in Europe, and there were no books or proper information exploring this two subjects in interdisciplinary way.

First it was going to be just a book, but it was just too exciting field to leave. Startup Migrants was founded in January 2018 by Maria Amelie and Nicolai Strøm-Olsen. Serendipitous meeting with Esther Hayes Grossman in Amman led to her joining the team right after and become co-founder in our digital platform SUM. With her experience from UNDP, UN-projects and Malala Fund she took an operational role in our newly founded team.

In 2018 we wrote the book, created a Brave Founder Beginnings award together with Nordic Startup Awards, done talks in Germany and Norway and started a digital platform. We are excited about how we will evolve in 2019!



Maria and Nicolai write books and explore the topic of entrepreneurship and development of cities and ecosystems.


Maria and Nicolai begin scheming a joint book project with a working title: "Startup Migrants"


They co-found Startup Migrants, write the book and meet the 3rd musketeer Esther Hayes Grossman. So many new ideas and projects!


An exciting European book launch tour spring 2019! Big plans in the making!

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