Diversity as an asset in entrepreneurship

Our world is facing massive challenges. Global diversity is an important tool in order to succeed solving them. The Stavanger-region has 181 different nationalities and can offer human capital creating a better future for all of us.

We need people with different mindset and knowledge about other cultures to solve various business challenges. Two of our resources are Noor-Ebtihag Abuzeid and Rodrigo Figueroa Reyes.

Multicultural assets
Geographical understanding of foreign markets is a major benefit to entrepreneurs wanting to venture into global markets. Having an understanding of the variables of culture, language, and legal factors can open up a foreign market. Access to 181 different nationalities in this region brings the world and it´s opportunities much closer.
- I think a society with multicultural environment is better prepared for solving problems. The benefits of different cultures in entrepreneurship is of great importance. Every person has the possibility to make an impact, says Noor.

Know-how important
Noor-Ebtihag Abuzeid was born in Gaza, Palestine. She finished her studies as an industrial engineer in 1996, and in 2009 she left her native country to start from scratch in Norway. This meant: learn the language, internships, finding different jobs and since 2015, finally working professionally as an industrial engineer specifically as a Lean Coach.
- I wake up at 4 am to start my daily routines which among others include early meditation and book reading. I think that it is important to build a routine, a habit, but these routines are built strong from long practice, says Noor.
Rodrigo Figueroa Reyes was born in Chile, and his wife is Norwegian. He speaks several foreign languages, an important skill regarding integration. Rodrigo has a 5-years degree in Business and Economics at the Universidad Católica of Chile. He also got a minor in Sociology from the same university. Since 2008 he became entrepreneur and he has founded two companies. He has also been a founder member in many other non-for-profit projects.
- Currently I run a personal podcast on entrepreneurship called Lologre.club in my free time. I like to read non-fiction books, write articles and spend time with my family, says Rodrigo.

Key skills to succeed
Noor is a passionate self-taught entrepreneur.
- In a world of information excess, I have learnt to focus on picking up key skills that I can make use of to succeed. For example, I admit that at the beginning I did not feel comfortable giving public presentations. However, YouTube offers practical advice on how to get over this fear. It´s all about learning.
Noor quotes a lean mantra that makes a lot of sense to many of them having failed at least once in business life: It´s not about failing, it´s about learning.
- What is the main motivation to become self-employed instead of looking for a job?
- I looked for a job for seven years, but I haven´t been to any interviews, Noor replies.
She admits smilingly that this has been very challenging for her, but she decided to go ahead starting her own business.

Business assistance
- Noor, you will start your business in December. How do you feel now, close to startup?
- Sometimes I feel scared, but most of the time I´m excited about it. One reason for this contentment is that the government is very supportive towards entrepreneurs.
She mentions some of many good resources for business startups in the region, like Grunder Arena, Skape, Creator Makerspace, Innovation Dock, Startup Weekend, Innovasjon Norge.
- I had a good experience with them, and the network they offer. We learn from Lean thinking that it´s not about failing, but about learning. Using this mindset, you will become more confident, and you can change what doesn`t work to something that does work. You begin with an idea, and you develop it. You have to realize your ideas. Just do it!

Defining goals
- What are the most important aspects that you are bringing from your culture?
- I don´t just believe in myself. I believe that if you have a good vision, and a value to help others, you will be supported by others, replies Noor.
- How?
- I don´t know, but I will tell you a story: I wrote my vision statement in April and my mentor asked me why I wrote this vision. I told him I want to help people, because Lean is all about supporting people, respecting people, developing people. My mentor told me not to think too big. He said that: You´re in Norway, and a business plan has to be specific. So I made it specific.
- When we define the goals, the results are more powerful, adds Rodrigo.

Useful advice
- What would your advice be for others wanting to start a business?
- Be open, speak to other people from different cultures, involve yourself in society and get access to useful networks. You have to travel in order to experience “real life”, to look, listen and learn. It´s all about observation techniques. What can we see, and what can we pick up by listening, ultimately beneficial to our ideas, Noor-Ebtihag Abuzeid says smilingly.
- What characteristics from Norwegian society would you pick up and export?
- Norwegian society is fair! The values of honesty and trust. Every person taking responsibility for themselves, end Noor-Ebtihag Abuzeid and Rodrigo Figueroa Reyes.
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