On a path to achieve gender equality in the entrepreneurial world

The Journey of «Kvinneprosjektet» becoming «Boost henne»

«Boost henne» formerly known as “Kvinneprosjektet” was founded as a result of the overwhelming gender difference in the entrepreneurial world both inside and outside of NTNU. 

By Hedvig Skjelbred Svabø

Their goal is similar to ours at Engage center, as it is described as to motivate and encourage women to choose entrepreneurship, present the tools needed to succeed and to raise awareness at NTNU regarding the gender differences. Their vision is to achieve gender balance in entrepreneurship both off and on campus.Studies show that a lot of women are not taking steps towards becoming entrepreneurs even though research show an equal amount of men and women wanting to explore entrepreneurship.

“It is not about women not wanting to explore entrepreneurship, but a mix of different factors. First of all there are still systematic differences that play into less women in the entrepreneurial world for example the lack of tradition as well as marketing directed towards women in the field”

Nadia leader of “Boost henne”

Boost helps with this process and their feedback concludes that their presence and community help through them relating to other women. Seeing other women succeed, as well as networking and speaking with each other contribute to more women embarking on an entrepreneurial adventure.

”Women are less willing to take risk and may need to feel more secure and achieve perfection before embarking on the journey of becoming an entrepreneur.”

Nadia leader of “Boost henne”.

The rebrand

Now four years after the founding of “Kvinneprosjektet” (the woman project), they have undergone a change of identity and on September 14th 2021 “kvinneprosjektet” relaunched to “Boost henne”(boost her). Team leader Nadia said the following about the rebrand;

“The need for a rebrand is first a result of the name “Kvinne prosjektet” being frequently confused with “Jenteprosjektet ADA” (The girlproject ADA), which made it difficult for us to communicate with and recruit women to participate in our organization.”

Nadia leader of “Boost henne”

Along with the rebrand, a new infrastructure also got established. This included setting permanent guidelines for what boost as an organization is today, as well as what they stride to be in the future. Alongside the changes they made internally through different work processes in Spark, they also breached out externally through consulting with the University I NORD, us at Engage center as well as different professional fields to create their guidelines. This concluded to their decision to stride to be a including community, approachable and open for both genders, even though the primary audience are women.

“The word woman and the term project also contributed to the rebrand by not being in line with our brand. We are no longer considered a project but have earned the title organization.  Following the word woman can exclude male audience and support which led to the decision of a more including and sustainable name for the future” –

Nadia leader of “Boost henne”

They also wanted their name to embody the entrepreneurial spirit, playfulness and creative joy which are core terms in affiliation to the organization.  After considering different names they finally settled with “Boost henne” which they felt truly embraced what the organization stands for through communicating their wish to strengthen or carry out female entrepreneurs and therefore being aligned with their core values. The name boost also carries well with the other entrepreneurial organizations Start and Spark. Start is the organization meant to inspire, whereas Spark will provide counseling and help in the first steps of building a business. Boost fall in between the two, by their wish to both engage and motivate women, to not only feel inspired, but boost them to taking actual steps towards entrepreneurship.

“Boost henne” work through three main parameters; To engage more women to become entrepreneurs through arranging events such as “Bedriftssimulatoren”. Such events are meant to inspire and motivate as well as distribute professional input. In addition, they are in the midst of creating a female entrepreneurial network where all women in contact with boost are gathered in a mutual portal as a way to network across the community. They stride to eventually use the platform for distributing dynamic content such as tips, befriending, debate and feedback. This process has just begun and will be centered in future work.

The final parameter is counseling and aid to women wanting to start up businesses, which they work through a cooperation with Spark. Girls approaching “Boost henne” can get help being guided through facilitating to the appropriate bodies and that they are taken cared of at spark by given an counselor to guide them in the right direction.

All photo: Aurora Kolstad

Current projects and changes

Going forward “Boost henne” will put their efforts towards one big upcoming event; “Bedriftssimulatoren” (business simulation). As the name conveys the event will give female students the opportunity to simulate how building a startup actually is, or at least how it is to develop a business idea. All female students at NTNU are welcome to enter and there is no need for any previous knowledge about entrepreneurship or any business ideas. They welcome all studies and embrace the diversity in both fields and years. Through the event the contestants will learn how to go from generating ideas to market testing to pitching a final product or service to potential business developers.

With the rebrand, boost has also seen a need for expansion from three to four member. 

To having a larger impact on campus, they need to become more visible, so they reach all of their potential audience. As a result, they have hired a marketing and PR team member which will optimize social media presence and market such events as “Bedriftssimulatoren”. They hope this will help with gaining new visibility throughout NTNU, so they can interest women in different studies and fields to explore entrepreneurship and as a result erase the gender difference in the entrepreneurial world.