New ideas.

The top of the hill in Ekebergparken is so dense with trees that, from that vantage, you can hardly see Oslo. Locals of the Norwegian capital will advise you that nature hasn’t found its place in the city, but that the city has found its place in nature. 

Babou Olengha-Aaby’s story also starts with trees. Only, these trees aren’t on the hillsides of the Oslofjord. They’re on a website the 38-year-old discovered after giving birth to her third child, when she was on a pilgrimage for new ideas. The website is called Ecosia and is the only one of its kind in the world: using Ecosia results directly in trees being planted. The company takes every penny of advertising revenue the site generates and invests it in reforestation. That comes to about one million euros. Every month. 

Green outlook: Oslo is the European Green Capital 2019.    

Olengha-Aaby invented the Globally Spotted search engine.

“That inspired me.”

When Olengha-Aaby pauses between “one million euros” and “every month”, it is clear what an enormous number this is. “That inspired me and gave me courage,” says the entrepreneur. “Knowing that there are plenty of people out there who really are concerned by the destruction of our forests and are getting active – with no more than a simple click on a banner ad!”

Rain batters the panes of glass in the new offices of The Next Billion, the company behind Globally Spotted. That’s the platform Olengha-Aaby founded three years ago with Ecosia in mind. Visitors to her site are instantly whisked away on a journey: Globally Spotted is a discovery platform which finds and features inspiring women yet undiscovered by the masses and mainstream media. Olengha-Aaby is steadfastly committed to sifting out these women’s ideas from the sea of information already online.

The journey begins.

“The idea of expanding the platform into a search engine came to me two years ago,” says Olengha-Aaby. “With the new version of Globally Spotted you will be able to search for your new favourite shoe designer or find a dentist right around the corner. All the results you get are companies owned by women. It’s a way of supporting companies founded and led by women with your purchasing power as a consumer.” 

Idyllic Oslo: the EQC among the lilacs.

Babou ­Olengha-Aaby is fighting for a just economy.

The wave rippling around the world.

Babou Olengha-Aaby was born in the Congo, grew up in London and speaks French as her first language. But Oslo has become her home. She didn’t end up here by simple coincidence. These days, lots of young women and families are moving to Oslo. The Norwegian capital has hit a growth spurt, and in typical Scandinavian fashion, the city is simultaneously fresh, green and urban as can be. You sense that what’s happening here can be felt in varying degrees around the world. It also comes as no surprise that Oslo was named European Green Capital 2019: e-scooters, bikes and cars share the roads. Two of every three cars purchased in 2018 were electric like the EQC. The year 2019 will see the introduction of 70 electric buses, and three electric ferries will be put into operation to replace diesel ones. In the city of Oslo, living sustainably goes without saying and is deeply engrained into daily routines.

The business world.

Yet when asked about it, Olengha-Aaby stops to think. Because alongside the world in which we live, she says, there exists a second world that – unlike the trees and charging stations that line the roads – remains obscure to us: the business world. And for this world to be more sustainable, it needs more women. More diversity. Olengha-Aaby calls this “social sustainability”. How do we achieve it? Through transparency and visibility, she says. An old saying reminds us “you cannot be if you are not seen.”

In the Digital Age, this can be adapted to “you cannot be if you are not searched for.” She points to black-and-white photographs in her office. “These are women in our network. They’re all brilliant, creative entrepreneurs, but most of them didn’t even have decent pictures of themselves. So we empower them to take control of their image and visibility by also offering a mini portrait photography service called Profile.” 

Networking in the EQC: Olengha-Aaby with entrepreneur Jenifer Clausell-Tormos.

International and involved.

One of the portraits is of Jenifer Clausell-Tormos. It takes around 10 minutes for black-and-white to become living colour: Olengha-Aaby is picking her up in the EQC. Clausell-Tormos’s business idea is called Develop Diverse. The principle: providing companies with the technology they need to make their recruiting activities gender-neutral. Clausell-Tormos originally comes from Spain, but lived in Copenhagen until recently, when she also moved to Oslo because of the favourable conditions for women-run startups. 

The two entrepreneurs decide to move the second part of this meeting to a casual café. They park the EQC at a charging station in the young, hip ­Grünerløkka ­district. The café serves porridge in a glass and fresh rye bread with brunost (literally: brown cheese) – a ­Norwegian speciality. The owner recognises Olengha-Aaby instantly and comes out from behind the counter to give her a hug and start a friendly conversation. That’s Olengha-Aaby’s community at work.

EQC: Electric now has a Mercedes-Benz.

The EQC radiates ease and modernity where SUV practicality meets sports car sleekness. With an impressive range at the ­highest safety level, the new, electrically powered Mercedes-Benz offers a fascinating new driving sensation. One without engine noise and with unparalleled acceleration – one that leaves us amazed time and time again. 

All this, of course, with zero local emissions. Equipped with the unique service concept of the new product and technology brand EQ, the EQC lets you enter a new era of driving. For more information look here:

More information.

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