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21: Entrepreneurship in Rural Norway

Torill Bye Wilhelmsen Founder of Fjellfylt
Photo: Kristoffer Thuestad

Life in Norway Show Episode 21: Entrepreneur Torill Wilhelmsen joins us to discuss Norwegian entrepreneurship and the advantages of starting a business in rural Norway.

After many years of lagging behind its Nordic neighbours Sweden and Finland, Norway is finally catching up supporting new business and entrepreneurship. Today’s guest Torill Wilhelmsen talks about the challenges and benefits of working for yourself in rural Norway.

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Making a living outside the cities

One issue is that support programs and startup ecosystems tend to be concentrated in and around the cities. So what does a budding entrepreneur who just happens to live in rural Norway do?

Torill believes ordinary people can achieve remarkable things. She started her business Fjellflyt to make it easier to make a living from your passion no matter where in the country you live.

Centre of Vågå in Norway

In addition to her work as a business strategist, she founded the BETA coworking space, pictured above, in the centre of Vågå in the Gudbrandsdal region.

On her business Fjellflyt, Torill says: “The name reflects the experience I want entrepreneurs to have when they are out walking their way to success by thinking creatively while they walk.”

Torill studied International Economy & Resource Development before moving to Lom in central Norway to work for the local municipality. “I came into contact with a lot of driven entrepreneurs who were struggling to take care of themselves while starting their own business”.

Doing ‘slow business' in Norway

Once Torill also began to feel the burnout of juggling her career with travelling, being a new mum and other commitments, the idea for Fjellflyt was born. “The mission I am on now is to create community for both rural and urban entrepreneurs who are like-minded in there way they approach their business”, says Torill.

She calls this philosophy where the best of work and best of the outdoors meet, slow business.

A stunning stave church in Lom, Norway
Lom in central Norway

“It'a a reaction to what we see in the technology startup world with the emphasis on hustle and growth. I am working with entrepreneurs that value sustainability on both a personal and environmental level. You can replace your computer when it breaks, but can't just order a new body”.

We delve into all these topics and more on today's show:

  • Choosing to live in rural Norway
  • Everyday life in the national park region
  • The kind of businesses that thrive in rural areas
  • The benefits of starting a business outside the cities
  • The challenges of starting a business outside the cities

Links from the show

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Life in Norway Show Episode 21: Entrepreneurship in rural Norway with Torill Bye Wilhelmsen from Fjellfylt

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a freelance writer for technology companies in Scandinavia.

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