In this episode Petra talks to Ronny Eriksson, a 25-year-old serial entrepreneur and storyteller based in Helsinki, co-founder of the Norders, a creative agency and community, host of the “New Nordic Wave of Change” podcast, as well as part of the Reform Migri team. Ronny’s academic background gave him the opportunity to bloom in his career right from the start, being engaged in a number of projects, and now he’s shareholder of five companies and two organizations. One of these organizations is Ambitious Africa, a project that helps to inspire and empower young people. In general, nowadays he focuses on helping companies and individuals, like international students, find their own pathways, expand their network, and experience happiness within themselves. Work-life aside, Ronny mentions that he loves nature and taking care of it. Coming to the realization that we, as human beings, are part of nature, has made him more open-minded and able to appreciate the beauty around us.
One of the core values that have led him to pursue this kind of “mentoring” career is the idea of empowering young people, something related to his own background as an ex-basketball player. For Ronny, being surrounded by like-minded people that build support networks and help each other is of great importance. This is how he first came up with the idea of creating the Ambitious Africa community together with Peter Vesterbacka, believing that young people can do amazing things with the help of others who have more experience and resources. Despite the financial insecurities plaguing many communities in Africa and depriving them of what we perceive as “safety” in terms of monetary stability, the social bonds and happiness within these communities is extremely remarkable, according to Ronny. Looking at these aspects specifically, it was possible to create a strong support network in cooperation with peers from Africa and to generate a fundamental link between the characteristics found in these African communities and Nordic values.
Asked about the mental health services of Finland, Ronny believes that they are good, but that they focus too much on short-term solutions and easy options. He speculates that talking about mental health issues is probably still a taboo among Finnish people, even today, and that it is of great importance to raise more awareness in this area.
As for his participation in the Reform Migri team, Ronny believes that Finland needs a larger workforce, especially since the Finnish population is on the decrease, something that could in future lead to a decreased flow of money in the market, and by extension, result in major cut-backs in the fields of healthcare and education.
“We are all built on a shared value base and a shared mindset that we want to grow and we want to be open-minded, compassionate, respect the people and ourselves and we want to do innovations that are sustainable for the world.”
He also highlights that everyone with the same mindset can be a “Norder”.
Lastly, as a Finnish nature enthusiast, Ronny recommends visiting Europe’s largest crater lake, Läppäjärvi, in Vaasa, which is the deepest lake in Finland that was created when one of the biggest meteorites hit Earth. He also recommends the northern parts of Finland at the borders with Russia (e.g. Salla, Savukoski municipalities), especially during summertime, when ski resorts have no snow and offer great opportunities for hiking, picking up berries - especially the cloudberries – and enjoying the amazing views!