Sri Lanka – are all clients of a microbank entrepreneurs?

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time in Sri Lanka with practitioners with Strømme Foundation and other leading microfinance researchers from around the world. The photo below is from University of Ruhuna.

Microfinance Research Team

We spent several days discussing various research problems, in addition to making a field visit to a microbank providing group loans to women.


When approaching the microbank the women greeted us with some leaves. I did not know what I was expected to do with these leaves so I took one, and continued into the room. A colleague then told me I was not supposed to take the leaf… Ok… I should have made a short worship and passed the leaf back….oh well..then I was told one could actually eat the leaf, so me and a colleague tried that. Then I was told that the leaf can make you feel a little “tipsy”…but don´t swallow it…because it is hot like cayenne…too late….cough…very spicy….

The microbank we visited work differently from the one I have previously met in Ecuador. They worked only with women – typically the poorest of the poor, with little entrepreneurial skills, in comparison with the people I met in Ecuador who we may call the entrepreneurial poor and were both men and women. The husbands of these women were often doing other labor work, and if this microbank had not provided a loan and help with their business, these women would likely also be doing poorly paid labour work, providing a fraction of what these businesses made. So for these women, taking a loan to do these businesses provides more income to them. However, when asked who came up with these business ideas, it was obvious that these opportunities were not discovered by these women, but rather suggested by the microbank´s credit officer. In fact, taking on this business project entailed very little risk to the women, as the resale of the bricks was guaranteed. Hence, are these women entrepreneurs, or self-employed?


This form of microfinance helps women make slightly more money than they would have earned given the availability of other jobs. They are still among the poor, but not at the lowest level. It improves their standard of living, but in some cases they built a new brick house, but continued to use their old houses which they were more used to. Obviously, we had too little time to really understand all that is going on here, and many have actually already studied this form of microfinance. This form of microfinance does reduce poverty and improves social security, but it is questionable whether it eradicates poverty and whether it has any major effects on economic development. It does offer a higher likelihood for poverty eradication to happen. It is important as there is no distribution of wealth in Sri Lanka, as it is in for instance Sweden. It is a reminder of how important it is with a social safety net, providing basic education and health care, but also some form of wealth distribution to allow people a certain basic standard of living.

Schumpeterian entrepreneurs are typically those people who make dramatic innovations, by combining resources, and create something new. One such entrepreneur can create 1000s of copy-cat entrepreneurs and 10.000s of employment opportunities. In economic development, we don´t want a large population of entrepreneurs, below 10% is roughly a good sign, not 40-50%.

Asking the microbank, we are told that there are a few clients who had been able to grow and employ more people, up to 20 employees, but this is very uncommon. However, the majority of small businesses stay small, and the form of support they receive thus become more as a form of social security. Other businesses could include small scale agriculture. The question is how these small, essentially self-employed, businesses, can become entrepreneurial ventures propelling these groups out of poverty.

Below is a short video, giving a flavor of the visit to Sri Lanka. Can highly recommend a visit.


Saltstraumen and Foundations of entrepreneurship in Bodø, Norway

5 days in Bodø, beautiful scenery, great colleagues and fun subject made for a great week. Check out video below of our visit to Saltstraumen (the world´s longest tidal current). Have just spent 5 days in northern Norway together with several other PhD students focused on many fundamental aspects of Entrepreneurship. Fun meeting a lot of smart people from all over Norway. Fun discussion with leading scholars such as Professors Johan Wiklund (Syracuse University and Stockholm School of Economics), Hans Landström (Lund University), Sara Carter (Strathclyde), Paul Westhead (Durham) and Åsa Lindholm Dahlström (Lund University). In addition, other faculty included Gry Agnete Alsos (Bodø), Espen Isaksen (Bodø) and Tommy Clausen (Bodø).

PhD course - DR430E Foundations and Future Perspectives in Entrepreneurship Research

We learnt about publishing entrepreneurship research, the roots of entrepreneurship literature, dynamic capabilities, effectuation, entrepreneurial intentions, academic entrepreneurship, financing of entrepreneurship, contextualization and possible future directions of entrepreneurship research. In addition, we received feedback on our papers and gave feedback and discussed other student´s papers. But a PhD course in the very northern part is not just Powerpoint and interesting discussions, but also enjoyable time to get to know some of the others and see the amazing fjords, mountains and the so-called “Saltstraumen” – the longest tidal current in the world, with many so-called whirlpools or maelstroms. First the water flows into the large Skerstadfjord at a high pace, and then when the fjord is filled, it starts to retrace at an equally high-speed. This particular place in Bodø has also attracted a lot of fish, and diving in this area is a very popular attraction.

Music: Gotländsk Eka, Lars Sonde on synthesizers and Pontus Engström on sopranosax

Jambo (hello)! A field trip to Tanzania

Just ended an interesting two-week field trip to Tanzania. Me and the one eyed professor Trond, named so after a lost battle with his contact lens in the flight over, have been travelling around the Tanzanian country side, together with our Tanzanian colleague Dr. Neema Moori.

Bumpy road
Bumpy road

Like three explorers we have travelled on bumpy “roads” in a 4wd jeep meeting many small businesses around Tanzania and also presented and discussed research at the University of Dar Business School, the leading business school in Tanzania, on micro entrepreneurship and microfinance.

University of Dar es Salam Business School
University of Dar es Salaam Business School

Driving on the left hand side was an experience. When we changed from driving on the left hand side to the right during a weekend in the 1960s, the Swedes allegedly first started with busses and trucks on day one, and on day two allowed cars to switch side (a Norwegian joke..…)..  In Dar es Salam we experienced some of this when driving in the “mixed lane” in the middle…

Stockholm 1967 or Dar es Salaam mixed lane 2014?
Stockholm 1967 or Dar es Salaam mixed lane 2014?

We have met many innovative entrepreneurs, discussing gold mining operations and suggested alternative methods instead of their dangerous usage of mercury and cyanide, seen farming, visited a dairy production, a security business, a honey business, a power plant in Burundi, solar-power companies, coffee and fruit juice operations, construction companies and much more.

Young men seeking gold in the small Tanzanian mines.
Young men seeking gold in the small Tanzanian mines.
500 chicken
500 chicken

We also met Statoil and learnt about the current status and plans for the country. They have found gas 100 km out in the sea outside the Tanzania coastline. Drilling for gas in depths of 2000 meters is new to Statoil and the transportation of the gas once recovered is not the easiest thing. One of the biggest obstacles to Statoil is getting the bureaucratic permits and reaping any revenues from the drilling lies years ahead, but the government of Tanzania is already busy setting up a “welfare fund”.

In terms of the small businesses, there is no shortage of ideas and opportunities and the future of Tanzania is promising, although some major challenges and risks are ahead, such as road infrastructure, schooling, health and housing, and of course access to finance and an efficient government. A day at a pig and poultry farm was encouraging with environmentally friendly production methods, and good treatment of the animals, but we smelled like pigs back at the hotel afterwards….

Small baby pigs at a farm start-up
Small baby pigs at a farm start-up

Over the weekend we took a small, Indiana Jones inspired, plane to Stone Town, Zanzibar, see blog. When sitting just behind the pilots we noticed how the co-pilot fell asleep and awoke when we landed…. The other pilot was a short fellow who had to stand up while landing the plane, quite the scene, but we landed safely. Tanzania and not the least Zanzibar is blessed with some amazing shorelines and beautiful scenery. Islam is the dominant religion at Zanzibar, whereas Tanzania is more mixed between Islam and Christianity.

Beach at Zanzibar
Beach at Zanzibar

While travelling we were pulled over 4 times by different cops for various reasons, such as crossing the double-lines in the middle of the road, which of course we had not done. All this was part of the daily revenue generation strategy by the police force. The revenues from the first 150 pulled over go to the government, while the rest go to the police force… If they stopped you, it was better to pay the 20 dollars than to spend 30 minutes discussing with them, which they knew. But they were very nice, typically dressed in white.

Victoria lake, stone structures, near Mwanza
Victoria lake, stone structures, near Mwanza

Today, coming home to celebrate my “insanely great” first born and oldest daughter Ella, turning 13 years old. <3<3<3<3

Asante sana (thank you)!

The world´s unsettled debt to Africa?

(English follows)

Relaterat till min PhD har jag nu befunnit mig en tid i Tanzania. Kanske låter det lyxigt, men det har inneburit ett ganska hårt arbete och många långa och dryga resor på dåliga vägar. Så efter en tuff vecka, har jag tagit mig ut till Stone Town på Zanzibar, ett persiskt uttryck för “The black coast”. Lite kuriosa är att Freddie Mercury bodde här under sina första 12 år, innan hans familj fick fly pga revolutionen i Zanzibar, då över 20.000 indier och araber dödades. Ett stort folkmord i sig, men vid ett besök på platsen där den tidigare slavmarknaden i Zanzibar var blir man efter ett tag varskodd om en av världens troligen största mänskliga övergrepp.


Många är säkert välbekanta med den mycket omfattande slavhandel som gick från västra Afrika vidare till Brasilien till USA och tillbaka till Afrika (se bild nedan.Triangular_trade 

Till skillnad från den västra slavhandeln, där många människor dog men där det trots allt finns spår kvar, finns det få liknande spår kvar av de uppskattningsvis cirka 12 miljoner människor som förts bort österut från centrala och östra afrika via Zanzibar (se bild nedan).


Den exakta siffran tvistas det om – mellan 8 miljoner och 25 miljoner människor. Men under cirka 200 års tid berättas det för oss på plats så fördes årligen 60.000 människor via östra Afrika vidare ut till Saudiarabien och mellanöstern. Den lokala Sultanen var i högsta grad involverad i detta.  Handeln började på 600-talet och räknar man från den tiden är siffran högre. Lägg därtill den effekt på framtida generationer som ett sådant bortfall innebär. Många av dessa slaver (män, kvinnor och barn) dog. Det betyder att detta kan vara en av historiens största folkmord. Inom det engelska riket avskaffades slavhandel 1833 formellt, mycket tack vare William Wilberforce enträgna arbete i det engelska parlamentet (se filmen Amazing Grace). Men handeln fortsatte i Zanzibar och dess Sultan var inte intresserad av att avsluta detta. Att slavhandeln i Zanzibar avskaffades kan till viss del tillskrivas Dr. David Livingstones krav på detta i det engelska parlamentet 1857, som “några år” senare följdes av att Sultanen av Zanzibar avskaffade detta totalt 1873 efter starka engelska påtryckningar. Zanzibar blev 1890 ett brittiskt protektorat och senare sammanslaget med det som idag heter Tanzania, men man är fortsatt till viss del självstyrande.Detta är så pass nyligen att många av de sköldpaddor som lever i vattnen utanför Zanzibar och som kan bli över 200 år gamla, levde vid den här tidpunkten.


På den plats där man tidigare hade en slavmarknad finns idag en stor katedral och den plats som användes för att piska slavarna består av ett altare. I marken finns dock den sk slavpålen markerad. Slavpålen var i själva verket ett stort träd. De slavar som piskades och inte grät, ansågs vara starka och såldes till ett högt pris, medan de som grät såldes till ett lägre pris. Kvinnor och barn gavs som bonus till de som köpte många slavar. Kvinnorna separerades från sina män, och barnen från deras mödrar.Utanför finns ett monument gjort av den svenska konstnären Clara Sörnäs.


Kvar finns två stycken slavkammare– en för män och en för kvinnor och barn. Tidigare fanns 15 stycken sådana kamrar. I dessa kamrar förvarades slavarna i två dagar innan man hade en auktion.

slavechamber 2slavechamber

Många dog under denna tid. Kamrarna låg nära vattnet och när det var högvatten kom vattnet in i kammaren och förde då med sig bort avfall (man gjorde sina behov i mitten av kamrarna), men samtidigt dog många i den förfärliga miljön.   Stora befolkningsgrupper är med andra ord helt utplånade och detta märks fortsatt än idag i Tanzania och flera andra afrikanska länder. Övergreppet är så stort så att idag, cirka 150 år efter det att slavhandeln formellt avskaffades är följderna fortsatt märkbara. Idag fortsätter slavhandeln under andra former, och det är inte bara i andra länder, såsom arabländerna, utan även i Sverige har vi slavarbete inom t.ex. bärplockningen.  Årligen görs en rapport av US Department of State kring Human Trafficking. I den rapporten rankas länder kring om man följer internationella konventioner eller visar steg på att göra det. Bland de 19 länder som inte följer dessa konventioner eller gör tillräckligt för att göra det finner vi länder som t.ex. Eritrea, Congo (DRC), Iran, Nordkorea, Kuwait, Ryssland och Saudi Arabien.

En fråga man ställer sig: Hur och när ska den här skulden regleras?

In English

During my studies I have spent some time in Tanzania. This could be seen as luxurious, but it is quite hard work and many long trips on rough roads. So after a tough week , I am spending a couple of days in Stone Town on Zanzibar. This is where Freddie Mercury lived during his first 12 years, before his family had to flee because of the revolution in Zanzibar, where over 20,000 Indians and Arabs were killed. A genocide in itself, but Zanzibar is known to have been the site of one of the largest slave markets in the world and during a visit to the site of the former slave market in Zanzibar, one  become aware of one of the world ‘s worst human abuse.

(see photo above)

Many in Sweden and West are probably familiar with the massive slave trade between West Africa,  Brazil, the US and back to Africa.

(see image above)

But unlike the Western slave trade, where some people today can trace their family’s history back to the slave trade, there are few similar traces remaining of the estimated 12 million people who were brutally “removed” from central and eastern Africa via Zanzibar. For 200 years, there were, I am told here, annually 60,000 people abducted via Zanzibar to Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

(see image above)

Trading began in the 7th century  and counting from this time the figure is higher. Unlike the slave trade that took place from West Africa there are few traces or relatives of these populations today. Many of these slaves (men , women and children) hence died. It means that this may be one of the largest forms of genocide, especially when including the westward trade. Within the British Empire, slavery was formally abolished in 1833, to a great degree thanks to William Wilberforce persistent work in the English Parliament ( see the movie Amazing Grace). But the trade continued in Zanzibar and the Sultan was not interested to put an end to this. The final end to slave trade in Zanzibar can however be partially attributed to Dr . David Livingstone’s requirements on this in the English Parliament in 1857. After “a few years”, after strong pressure from the British, the  Sultan of Zanzibar later stopped this practice and was richly compensated for this. This is so recent that many of the turtles that live in the waters around the coast of Zanzibar and can be over 200 years old , lived at this time.

(see image above)

At the place where there previously was a slave market there is currently a great cathedral and the place that was used to whip the slaves is replaced with an altar. In the ground , there is a mark where the slave pole was. The slave pool was in fact a large tree. The slaves were whipped and those who did not cry were considered to be strong and therefore sold at a high price , while those who wept were sold at a lower price. Women and children were given as a bonus to those who bought many slaves. The women were separated from their men, and children from their mothers. Just outside is a monument made ​​by Swedish artist Clara Sörnäs.

(see photo above)

Two slave chambers of an original 15 still remain – one for men and one for women and children. In these chambers slaves were kept for two days before an auction was held. Many died during this time. The chambers were close to the water and when there was high tide the water came into the chamber and then “cleaned” the chambers which had the toilet as the floor in the middle.

Large populations are in other words completely wiped out. Still today, some 150 years after the slave trade was formally abolished, the effects can be seen .

Today, the slave trade continues in new forms, and it is not only in other countries, including Arab countries, but also Sweden is effect, such as in the areas of berry picking. Every year, a report is issued by the U.S. Department of State, on Human Trafficking. The report ranks other nations to what degree they follow international conventions or show step to do so. Among the 19 countries that do not follow these conventions or doing enough we find countries such as Eritrea, Congo (DRC), Iran, North Korea, Kuwait, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

One question one need to ask: How and when should this debt with Africa be settled?

Micro entrepreneurship and microfinance in Ecuador

(english follows)

Pontus med kamera

Hög brottslighet

I över två veckor har jag nu varit i Guayaquil som ligger i Södra Ecuador. Det första som möter en på flygplatsen är en varningsskylt om att vara försiktig när man tar en taxi så att man inte blir rånad. Just Guayaquil ligger i en del av Ecuador där den organiserade brottsligheten är väldigt hög. Ja, brottsligheten är hög i hela Ecuador, vilket också ett resultat av den extrema fattigdom och klasskillnad som finns här. Brottsligheten är extra hög i Guayaquil och backpackers undviker gärna den här delen. På löpturen häromdagen med Hans Martin (en volontär från Norge som jag samarbetar med ) sprang jag t.ex. förbi en restaurang där det står en vakt utanför i skyddsväst och med ett rejält automatvapen i handen. För mer information om brottsligheten, se  OSAC, Det finns kvarter där man inte bör gå in i, och vid ett annat tillfälle när vi tog en löptur blev vi tillsagda att vara försiktiga av några på gatan. När jag och några volontärer var på stan häromdagen blev vi förföljda av två män, och när en annan av oss som jobbar i det här projektet rörande mikrofinans var ute med en av lånehandläggarna så blev man också nära inpå rånade men lyckades snabbt komma bort från de efterföljande männen. Så faran att man ska råka illa ut ligger där på lur hela tiden. Det har skett att andra volontärer har blivit påhoppade och rånade, i något fall även försök till våldtäkt, så det är helt klart en annan värld. Men hela Ecuador är inte så här. I många andra delar känner man sig mera trygg, berättas det för mig, och vid ett besök vid kusten känns farorna i Guayaquil som bortblåsta.


Mikrofinans handlar om att nå ut med finansiella tjänster till områden där traditionella banker inte når ut. Ett exempel på detta är den ecuadorianska mikrobanken D-MIRO som startats upp av den norska Alliansmissionen, motsvarande Diakonia i Sverige. De har förlagt sin huvudfilial i det allra fattigaste området, La Isla.D-MIRO Dit kör inte alla taxibilar, så vi har ett avtal med en speciell taxifirma som tar oss dit. D-MIRO har vuxit kraftigt och finns nu i flera zoner runt omkring Guayaquil och utmed den ecuadorianska kusten. Nedan några miljöbilder.DSC_3261   Miljö Förhållandena är ganska odrägliga och det krävs oftast en bil med fyrhulsdrift för att ta sig runt till mikroentreprenörerna. Vissa människor bor i hus av cement och tegel, medan väldigt många bor i enkla bambuhus, där även det lilla egna företaget finns. Hus dessa hus klarar vind och vatten förstår jag inte.

Genomför en studie (del av PhD)

Jag har till min hjälp i projektet volontärerna Caroline och Hans Martin Espegren som tagit ett års paus i sina studier i Trondheim. Ja, vi hjälper varandra, då deras uppdrag är en rapport till banken och mitt relaterar till min avhandling. Vi har lärt känna varandra väl och jag har även lärt känna många andra volontärer som är här liksom anställda vid D-MIRO och norska Misjonalliansen. Genom D-MIRO genomför vi en stor undersökning där vi hoppas på svar från minst 750 mikroentreprenörer som jag hoppas kommer att kunna belysa olika egenskaper och karaktärer hos mikroentreprenörerna. Nedan några bilder från olika besök med mikroentreprenörer i de fattigare områdena runt omkring Guayaquil. SAM_0002SAM_0003DSC_3234

Mobile banking 🙂Mobilbank

Den gröna lastbilen ovan tycker jag är lite fiffig. Det är ett mobilt bankkontor som når ut till alla kunder. Här kan vi tala om “mobile banking“.

Många möten och upplevelser utanför min “komfortzon”

Självklart finns det mycket att reflektera kring och jag känner mig väldigt glad som fått chansen att se allt detta. Ett par historier som jag tycker gjort extra stark intryck är följande två möten: 1. Kvinna med 7 barn, skild och utan arbetslös Första intrycket är en vacker kvinna, men hon saknar sina framtänder av någon anledning. Hon söker lån för att kunna starta upp en verksamhet för att sälja kläder. Hon har idag inget arbete, men hur hon lyckas få sitt liv att gå ihop nu är imponerande. Visar på människans förmåga att överleva, och att det kanske är en grundinställning hos oss alla och som gör alla människor till entreprenörer. 2. Kvinna med två barn, där några tjuvar stulit hennes bil För hennes verksamhet var detta en katastrof. Med bilen kunde hon hämta bröd och annat som hon sålde i sin verksamhet, men utan bil har hon fått problem att betala tillbaka sin skulder. Trots detta upplevde jag att hon skulle klara av att återkomma, och igen visa på människans starka överlevnadsinstik.

Misión Alianza de Noruega Ecuador 

Den norska organisationen Misjonsalliansen bedriver diakonalt utvecklingsarbete i Ecuador och många andra länder. För mig framstår den som väldigt lik svenska Diakonia. Till skillnad från Diakonia har även Misjonsalliansen etablerad mikrobanker i ett flertal länder. Här i Ecuador heter banken D-MIRO och det är genom den som jag når ut till alla mikroentreprenörer. SAM_0063 SAM_0065 Man jobbar i de allra fattigaste områdena. Man jobbar med allt från kyrkor, ledarskapsutbildning, utbildning, mikrofinans, hälsa och även utvecklingsfrågor. Nu har Ecuador börjat få en högre tillväxt så med tiden kommer förhoppningsvis inte Mission Allianza att behövas, om framgångarna även kommer de fattigaste till godo. Men det ligger en bra bit fram i tiden. Idag gör man stor skillnad i folks liv Mikrobanken D-MIRO däremot har en möjlighet att växa betydligt och nå ut till en betydligt större del av befolkningen, med tiden. Nedan en bild på ett center för barn med olika typer av handikapp, ofta med en utvecklingsstörning och andra former av handikapp.

  • Creer - till NinaFotbollsspelareMikrobanken D-MIRO sponsrar en fotbollsskola med tröjor. Precis som Gothiacup i Sverige anordnas en motsvarande tävling i Norge — PlussbankCup dit barn från Ecuador kan komma cirka vartannat år.

(in english)

High crime rate

Over two weeks  I have now been in Guayaquil , located in Southern Ecuador. The first thing that greets one at the airport is a warning sign to be cautious when taking a taxi so as not to get robbed. Guayaquil is located in a part of Ecuador where organized crime is very high. Yes, crime is high throughout Ecuador, as a result of the extreme poverty and wealth & income differences difference here. The crime rate is particularly high in Guayaquil and backpackers avoid gladly this part . On a run the other day with Hans Martin ( a volunteer from Norway I work with ), we ran past a restaurant where there was a guard outside with a safety vest and a big automatic weapon of some kind. For more information on crime , see OSAC. There are neighborhoods where you should not go into, and on another occasion, when we took a run , we were told to be very careful. When me and some volunteers were in town the other day, we were followed by two men, and when one of us was out with one of the loan officers they were also close to be robbed but managed to quickly get away from the succeeding men. So the danger of getting in trouble is there the whole time. There have been other volunteers mugged and robbed, in some cases even attempted rape, so it ‘s clearly a different world to at least Scandinavia. But throughout Ecuador it is not the same as here. In many other parts, you feel more secure I am told and during a visit to the coast the dangers of Guayaquil vanished .


Microfinance is about reaching out to financial services to areas where traditional banks do not reach out . An example of this is the Ecuadorian micro bank D MIRO started up by the Mission Alliance, corresponding Diakonia in Sweden . They have established their main bank branch in the poorest areas. Here not all taxis drive. D- MIRO has grown substantially and is now available in multiple zones around Guayaquil and along the Ecuadorian coast. The roads are in bad shape and it requires a four-wheel drive to get around to the microentrepreneurs. Some people live in houses made of cement and brick, while many live in simple Bamboo houses, where usually also the small business is found.

Performing a large study

I am working together with two volunteers, Caroline and Hans Martin Espegren, who have taken a year’s break from their studies in Trondheim. We have gotten to know each other well and I’ve also gotten to know many other Norwegian volunteersas well as employees of D-MIRO and Mission Alliance. Through D-MIRO we conduct a survey in which we expect answers from at least 750 micro-entrepreneurs that I hope will be able to highlight different features and characteristics of the micro-entrepreneurs . Above are some pictures from different visit with micro-entrepreneurs in the poorer areas around Guayaquil. Th picture above of a green truck is a form of “Mobile Banking.”

Many meetings and experiences outside my comfort zone

Obviously there is much to reflect on, and I feel very happy to have had the chance to see all this . A couple of stories that I think made extra strong impression are the following two meetings :

1. Woman with seven children, divorced and unemployed. First impression is a beautiful woman, but she’s missing her front teeth for some reason. She’s looking for loans to start up a business of selling clothes . She currently has no work, but how she manages to make ends meet and feed her kids is impressive, showing the human instinct to survive , which makes all people entrepreneurs, to quote Muahmmad Yunus .

2. Woman with two children, where some thieves stole her car For her business, this was a disaster. With the car, she could get bread and other things that she sold in her business, but without a car (they don´t have insurance), she has had problems paying back the debts. Despite this, I felt that she would be able to come back , and again demonstrate a strong surival instict, a drive of entrepreneurship.

Yes, the stories are many, and I can only hope that over time we see a reduction in disparities in not only Ecuador but throughout the world. Huge income and wealth differences are simply not fair and are a sign of an imperfect market. But amidst all the misery we are reminded of our ability to survive, the instinct that makes us all entrepreneurs.

Misión Alianza de Noruega Ecuador

The Norwegian organization Mission Alliance is engaged in diaconal work in Ecuador and many other countries. To me it appears as a lot like Swedish Diakonia. Unlike Diakonia, Mission Alliance has also established micro banks in several countries. Here in Ecuador the bank is known as D-MIRO and it is through this bank that I reach out to all micro-entrepreneurs. Mission Alliance work in the poorest areas that require cars with four-wheel drive to get around. It works with churches, leadership training , education, microfinance , health, and also development issues. Now, Ecuador has begun to have a higher economic development in the last year so over time  hopefully Mission Alliance will not be needed, if some of the benefits of the economic development also trickles down to the poorest. But it is probably some years into the future. The Microbank D-MIRO however, has an opportunity to grow significantly and reach out to a much larger segment of the population with time. Above is a picture of a center for children, started by the Norwegian Mission Alliance with different types of disabilities, often mental retardation , but also other forms of disability.

Organic food at Universities

(english follows)

Mat kanske inte har så mycket med en PhD att göra, men jag har just pratat 45 minuter med kökschefen här på Universitetet i Agder om betydelsen av att servera ekologisk mat, inte minst på ett Universitet. Upprinnelsen var en överkokt pasta och en förfärlig korvgryta som fick mig att börja fundera på vad det var i maten. Idag är ingen av ingredienserna ekologiska. Vi får väl se om jag lyckades göra en liten skillnad här. Kanske blir det den största förändringen som min PhD leder till….;-) Överlämnade i alla fall 11 starka argument för varför hon borde göra det, samt även hur hon kunde göra den här förändringen. Vi hade ett bra samtal, och kökschefen tog emot mina idéer positivt. To be continued…nu back to work 🙂

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En magnifik kantin på UiA istället för en medioker

Perhaps food has little to do with a PhD, but I’ve just had a 45 minute nice talk with the head chef here at the University of Agder on the importance of serving organic food, especially at a University. The reason I spoke to her was an overcooked pasta with an awful sausage stew which made me start thinking about the ingredients. Today, none of the ingredients are organic. We’ll see if I managed to make a small difference here. Maybe it will be the biggest impact from my PhD over time…;-) Provided at least 11 strong reasons for why it is important, and also how we can make this change. We had a good talk, and the manager was very receptive to my ideas. To be continued … now back to work 🙂

Status – One year into the program

Efter nästan ett år känner jag att det är dags att återkoppla till er hur det gått och hur jag ligger till. Det känns rätt hoppfullt, även om tiden är knapp.

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(english follows below)

För att ta en PhD krävs att man kan skriva 4 stycken välskrivna akademiska artiklar som ska vara publicerbara, och helst publicerade, i en högt rankad sk “journal”, och självfallet ska artiklarna vävas ihop i en enhetlig avhandling som ska godkännas av en oberoende internationell grupp. Jag har påbörjat cirka 7 artiklar, men enbart 1 av dessa bedömer jag vara i ett skick som på sikt kan bli en publicerbar artikel. Den handlar omEntrepreneurship and Microfinance: Do poor microentrepreneurs need microfinance?” Här är en kopia på artikeln i nuvarande form (citera ej):

Do poor entrepreneurs need microfinance – draft do not cite!



Som nästa artikel jobbar jag med data från Ecuador där jag ser på vad som leder till entrepreneurial success hos olika mikroentreprenörer. Hur spelar utbildning och erfarenhet in, finansiellt kapital, nätverk, kön, handikapp, personlighet etc. Den artikeln är än så länge i ett mycket tidigt skede men jag ska om en månad presentera ett utkast (draft) till mina handledare.



Jag har avverkat en rad kurser (courses completed so far):

1 Qualitative Research Methods (Professor Arent Greve) — PASS

2 Quantitative Research Methods (Professor Dale Duhan) — PASS

3 Theory of Science (Professor Otto Anderson) — PASS

4 International Marketing (Professor Andreas Falkenberg and Dr. Rotem Sneor) — PASS

5 International Management (Professor Harald Knutsen and Dr. Bjørn Tore Flåten) — PASS

6 International Strategy and Structure (Professor Joyce Falkenberg) — PASS

7 Publication Course (Dr. Roy Mersland) — PASS

8 M&A Course (Professor Jakob Weber) — paper due end of this semester

(in english)

After almost a year, I feel it is time to reconnect to all of you were I stand. I feel quite hopeful, even though being pressed for time.

To obtain a PhD I am required to write four well written academic articles which can be published (are publishable), in preferably a high ranked journal. In the dissertation the four articles will obviously be combined in a coherent format, and approved by an independent international jury. I have started about 7 articles, but only one of these I consider to be in a condition which may eventually become a publishable article. It is about “Entrepreneurship and Microfinance: Do poor microentrepreneurs need microfinance?” Here is a copy of the article in the present form:

Do poor entrepreneurs need microfinance – draft do not cite

In the next article I’m working with data from Ecuador where I look at what leads to entrepreneurial success in various micro-enterprises. How do education and experience in, financial capital, networks, gender, disability, personality, etc affect profitability? This article is still in a very early stage but I will next month introduce a draft (draft) to my supervisor.

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Source: Jorge Cham


Lyssnade precis på en oklippt intervju med Steve Jobs från 1990 där han beskriver lite om varför han startade ett företag. Han berättar där att han och en kollega gick till Atari och HP för att skapa det nya datorkoncept man kommit på. Man fick avslag båda av Atari och HP.

“We started a company because it was the only alternative left, not because we wanted to” (10 minuter in i sändningen)

“We were out to build computers for our friends, no idea of starting a company” (19 minuter in)

Sen diskuterar han en del kring personlighet och entreprenörskap:

“The doers are the major thinkers. The people that really create the things that change this industry, are both the thinker doer in one person.” (37 minutes)