Celebrating International Women’s Day: Meet The B-School Female Founders

Kathrine Molvik, who studied at BI Norwegian Business School, founded FeC

Meet Kathrine Molvik, BI Norwegian Business School, FeC

Hometown: Alver, outside Bergen, Norway

Business Course: Module from Executive Master of Management

Why did you choose to study your course at BI Norwegian Business School?: 

It was recommended to me by a friend. After a course onboard management, I took a year at BI to study a course on the foundations of leadership. I liked it so much that I wanted to go for the Master of Management as well. It was the best education ever. I am planning to do two more years at BI (Executive Master of Management) because I think BI has so many relevant and interesting programmes. I did all my education while working, and I was a founder already at that point: I founded my company in 2014, and started at BI in 2015.

Tell us more about the company/organisation you founded what you do: 

I founded an expertise centre in welding and materials. We help the industry with all regulations related to production and guide them on materials. We do training and courses for engineers, inspections, and quality audits. Welding and materials are a niche and I compare us with law firms when I explain what we do: lawyers help businesses with rules and regulations, they work together in their own company with colleagues with the same education who can help each other with questions related to rules, etc. The customer will get the updated service they need to maintain control over what they do, and also help them if anything goes wrong. My company FeC does much of the same, within the welding industry and materials. Our customers range from high schools to oil & gas, construction, marine, shipyards, and R&D.

Was it always your goal to found a company?: 

I had never dreamed of starting my own company; it came to me one day I was on a course. I suddenly felt a need for making a change and doing something in a different way, to be more effective and productive in what we do in our niche. When I see things that do not work very well, I feel a need to fix it and to challenge the established.

What advice would you have for other entrepreneurial women that want to found a company?: 

JUST DO IT! It is better to have tried and failed than never try. Whatever happens, you will learn something and that will make you grow. I have had a lot of struggles during my period as a female entrepreneur, but looking back I am glad that I did it, because it made me stronger and wiser. After I started my first company in 2014, I have founded three more companies. I have also become more interested in shares and followed the stock market in general.

How did your experience at business school help you found/grow your business?: 

I started my business before I started my education at BI. When I started, I didn’t know anything about business at all. I just had a dream and a gut feeling, that this was something I really wanted to do. So, I quit my job without even telling my family (I do not necessarily recommend others do exactly that). At the time I had four kids from three to 10 years old, a big loan, and suddenly my future was really unstable. I did not have any money or anything that would keep me safe If I did not make it through. 

So, what I learned from BI some years after, was that big leaders had done just that to succeed, they cut all their chances of going back. And when you do that, you only have one way to go, and that is forward and you have to make it. When things get rough, you can’t give up when you do not have anything to go back to. This forces you to go through it, and I promise you that it will make you stronger! At BI I also learned a lot about myself. During my studies, I got a stronger belief in myself and my self-confidence grew. For me, this was important. Education can teach you a lot of things, but in the end, it is the things you learn about yourself that make a difference. You can always have people helping you out with different tasks when you are doing your business, but at the end of the day, you are your own worst enemy. By learning about myself, I also got to learn a lot about others. And as a woman in business, we have other challenges than men do not. You need to believe in yourself, not everyone wants us to succeed!

What are your hopes for the future of women in business?:

I hope that I can inspire other women to take some chances and follow their dreams. I also hope that we can make a difference for each other and take a bigger role in having shares in companies. I am starting to get some connections around Norway where we can discuss leadership, shareholding and stock markets, but in general, women are not that well represented in these groups. I often end up asking my male friend about these subjects if I have any questions. I hope that more women will go into business and that we someday will have the same environment that men do now. I believe we have to start from kindergarten and at home with our own children. Make them realize that gender does not matter, but your personality does.

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