Jonas Tesfu is a strong voice in the Norwegian startup scene and travels the world consulting, speaking at conferences and teaching workshops on various topics related to innovation. He has spoken at many high-profile events including Oslo Innovation Week, Vested Summit Egypt, Startup Safari Berlin and Nairobi Innovation Week.
This EGC Ambassador is a lifelong entrepreneur with 15+ years of experience building startups in the tech sector, food industry and fashion business. During this time he has worked with clients including P&G, The Norwegian Patent Office, Kongsberg Innovation, Ericsson and NAV amongst others.
Tesfu has been involved in 500 Startups Accelerator, The Fintech Factory Accelerator, Angel Challange, GreenTech Accelerator, SmartOslo Accelerator and many more. He currently works with 40+ African tech companies based out of Pangea Accelerator in Nairobi.
What motivates you to engage in making Oslo more environmentally sustainable?
Oslo has an opportunity to be a role model and lead the world to becoming a more sustainable place to live. I want to be a part of that journey!
How are you contributing to making Oslo a greener city?
I’m a co-founder of Byspire, one of Norway’s leading green tech startups and a climate partner to Oslo. I also worked with the Oslo municipality on “Sinsen salaten”- where we installed a vertical farming system and trained newly arrived refugees how to grow food in a sustainable way. Additionally, I was one of the collaborators of Oslo Greenhouse, a co-working space for sustainable solutions. It’s 6000 sqm and hosts a community of green startups and organisations!
What obstacles do you face while working for a greener Oslo?
Bureaucracy is probably the biggest obstacle in that it’s difficult to partner with Oslo municipality as a startup. Things take a long time.
What are your personal climate goals for 2019?
To start a Pan-African Smartcity conference with UN-Habitat. We plan to host it the 14th and 15th of November 2019. Also, to connect Oslo and Nairobi so that amazing innovations in Norway can have a trickle-down effect on developing countries (such as Kenya).
Name a role model that inspires you, locally and globally:
About Green Stories: Oslo Business Region is leading the business program during Oslo European Green Capital (EGC). The European Commission awarded Oslo the prestigious European Green Capital title for 2019. Being the European Green Capital in 2019 is a great recognition and an opportunity to showcase Oslo as a truly Green City linked to innovation, both in the international context and to Oslo’s population. In 2019 we will invite the world to Oslo – to share and to learn. Read more about EGC here and about the Industry Challenges here.