The participants of Building Brides took their first virtual trip to Silicon Valley and Berkley.
Listening to inspiring speakers, they interacted with twent other participants.
Not bad for a school night, wouldn’t you say?
Wednesday evening, we had the first virtual course of Building Bridges initiated by Jen Lee Koss, a virtual mini conference by SHE Invests. Building Bridges is aimed at creating
connections and expanding the participant’s network across borders. In a virtual reality, anything is possible. For three hours, we all took a virtual trip to the business mecca of innovation and entrepreneurship. With live speakers from Silicon Valley and Berkley, the participants engaged in lively discussion and debates over cultural differences between Norway and the US, as well as fruitful insight on investments and innovation.
A Virtual Voyage of Inspiration
During the five nights of the course, we will “visit” Toronto, New York and Silicon Valley.
Three cities that are very different, yet booming with innovation and investments
each in their particular way. When visiting these cities, the participants will hear from renowned investors, professors and leaders sharing their expertise and experience.
This mini-conference is a part of SHE Invests which is aimed at inspiring women to invest, by offering courses and seminars to educate women on how to invest wisely.
Jen Koss particularly mentioned the need for women to become more active in regards to investments considering the devastating consequences that Covid-19 has had on the situation for women. In the US especially, women are falling out of the work force, and we must acknowledge this crucial tipping point where we need to be innovative and create new solutions.
Live from Silicon Valley
The first speaker of the night was Gro Dyrnes, Regional Director Americas & Director of Innovation Norway San Francisco & Silicon Valley.
With all of us sitting at our homes in Norway while listening to Dyrnes sitting in Silicon Valley, it became clear how the new digital reality in a Covid world makes it possible for investors from one side of the ocean to interact with founders and companies on the other. Dyrnes urged Norwegian companies to build bridges and to evolve from their good intentions to actual action by leveraging their advantages.
When asked about the Norwegian companies that received funding in Silicon Valley, Dyrnes first emphasized that very few actually do receive funding. It is a difficult market, and those who actually make it, are word class founders, with an extreme focus within a niche market.
The second speaker of the night was Professor Robert Strand from Berkley University. Strand is an expert on the Nordic countries and the Director for the Center of Responsible Business. Remembering the inspiration I experienced from listening to an engaged professor when I was at university, it was an absolute pleasure to listen to such enthusiasm about the Norwegian society and sustainability.
Now, when the US has endured such difficult times, Strand addressed the need for the American society to be inspired by the social responsibility that the Nordic countries rely on. He especially focused on kindness, saying that while Nordic people are not kinder people in general, they have included kindness on a public level in regards to for example health care. He talked about how a society that is entirely driven by the market, eventually will lose it’s efficiency, because people will not feel secure and safe, and thus perhaps not perform as well as they would have done, given a different situation.
He wishes to further develop partnerships between the Nordic countries and the US—especially regarding business and innovation—by inviting Nordic companies to come to Berkley to exchange resources and recruit talent.