On 11 October of this year, six young enterprise alumni who have now excelled as adults were awarded places on Ferd’s List of Inspiring Entrepreneurs and Leaders, marking the launch of a new long-term initiative designed to inspire participants in young enterprise programs and their supporters across Europe.


The six individuals included on the list were selected from candidates nominated from most European countries, and a ceremony was held in Norway House in Brussels to celebrate their inclusion on the list. The event was attended by a range of representatives from EU bodies and Norwegian authorities, as well as by representatives from JA Europe, the umbrella organisation for organisations active in the young enterprise area across Europe. 

“It has long been documented that the experience of a young enterprise or student business makes you significantly more likely to be an entrepreneur during your career. JA Europe wanted, however, to know more about what happens to young enterprise alumni once they have been professionally active for a number of years, and to use this to create a list that celebrates those who have been unusually successful in an entrepreneurial role”, explains Johan H. Andresen in an interview with Ferd Magazine. Johan H. Andresen is the Chair of Ferd’s Board of Directors and its principal owner, and is a long-term supporter of young enterprise in Norway and on a Europe-wide basis. 

Broader perspective

When the idea was first raised, it struck Johan H. Andresen that it would be beneficial to expand the criteria for inclusion on the list.

“I wanted to demonstrate that having experience of entrepreneurship in schools is also of significance to people who choose entirely different career paths. And that it helps give school children strong values that they go on to use by giving something back for those who come after them, and to society as a whole. My proposal was therefore that JA Europe should look into how involvement in a youth enterprise program affects participants and their values in adult life, as well as finding former participants who are now giving something back and who could serve as models for new cohorts of young people. These are often useful arguments when trying to get sceptical schools and teachers on board in relation to teaching entrepreneurship”, explains Johan H. Andresen.

JA Europe saw Johan H. Andresen’s point, and it became the basis for creating Ferd’s List. Johan himself played an active role – in part by having Ferd finance the work for the first three years, and in part by becoming personally involved, including by serving as a member of the jury and by opening the meeting in Brussels.

Impressive candidate

“JA Europe’s member organisations were asked to nominate candidates from their own country. And they came up with an impressive range of people who had distinguished themselves either as entrepreneurs or social entrepreneurs, or who had made a significant contribution to business and industry, politics, the public sector, or other areas of society”, explains Kristina Jacobsen, Head of Ferd’s External Managers business area, who was the other person to represent Norway on the jury.

Norway House, where the event to celebrate the first six people on the list was held, is home to Norway’s embassy, the Norwegian delegation to the EU, and a range of Norwegian businesses and organisations who use it as their Brussels office. The fact that the event and associated talks and panel debates took place in Norway House was, however, primarily because Ferd is a central contributor and is a Norwegian company. More broadly, the event was held in Europe because the EU greatly values the ability of people to create new jobs both for themselves and others. The EU is accordingly both important to and a supporter of JA Europe.

The whole article is available in the Ferd Magazine (only available in Norwegian)

Ferd’s List homepage

The first six honourees


A number of those included on Ferd’s List have attracted attention at a local level, as illustrated by the following:

Article about Boris Kolev and Ferd’s List

Donation from Boris Kolev

Donation from David Darmanin

Christian Erfurt’s ”Be MyEyes” nominated for Google Play Best Apps of 2017

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