On the surface, Anne Dubrau is quiet and unassuming. Yet beneath that veneer of collective calm and patience is a force to be reckoned with. She’s an angel investor, serial entrepreneur, co-founder, CEO, and director. She speaks five languages to boot. These are awe-inspiring feats alone, but she’s checked each one off her list while having four children in her twenties. You can see where the trained calm and patience comes from. Her story is one of perseverance, as well as being a shining example of disproving the fallacy that women cannot balance motherhood with success. Anne has proved the naysayers wrong – and then some.
Supercharged supermom qualities aside, Anne is a humanitarian and champion of social causes at heart, which is what makes her so special. All of her entrepreneurial pursuits have involved social mobilization in some way or another. Currently, she’s the Managing Director for Vollebekk Fabrikker, a not-for-profit organisation that operates as a multifunctional space for the local and national community in Oslo, Norway. The intended use of the space is for the development of solutions that focus on the principles of reusing, repair, and green production. The aim is to increase the sharing of knowledge, education, and sustainable growth in Norwegian business life. The location also operates as a centre for work training and inclusion, where the business community and other organisations can collaborate to create opportunities for the community and its residents. Schools, kindergartens, voluntary organisations, and other community organisations can make use of the space to have workshops and time to repair items.
Anne is also the founder and former CEO of Epleslang, of which she stepped down from last year. Epleslang is a company that sells apple juice from locally sourced apples, but they go above and beyond just juice. Social and environmental responsibility makes up the brand’s ethos, with the apples being local and handpicked, having been taken from private gardens and saved from being thrown away. They are then hand-pressed, pasteurised and bottled on a small farm. If this isn’t selling it to you yet, they also endeavour to hire homeless people and people with disabilities – two groups who are often looked over in the workforce – giving them autonomy and independence. Social mobility has never tasted so good.
In addition to Vollebekk and Epleslang, Anne has also co-founded ByBi – an NGO that focuses on urban beekeeping in Norway, again striving to hire people with disabilities and the homeless. Alongside her current projects, Anne is also a private investor for Bykuba AS – a green and social investment partnership. A do-gooder at heart, she seamlessly blends entrepreneurship with social responsibility. Unlike many in her field, Anne’s compassion and understanding outweigh the desire to advance and conquer.
Anne received a prestigious, multinational education which has come a long way in shaping her career. She received her B.Sc. and Master’s in Political Science from the University of Oslo, graduating in 2012. Political Science is mistakenly considered to be “just politics”, but it’s an interdisciplinary course that consists of philosophy, literature, economics, business, sociology, and international relations. What we’re trying to say is that it’s an often overlooked and undervalued asset in the realm of entrepreneurship and business. Alongside her primary education, Anne studied a variety of courses at the University of Gothenburg, Charles University in Prague, and Boston University in the states. At Boston, in particular, she studied Entrepreneurship and Innovation subjects that have come in handy throughout her career.
We like Anne because she lets absolutely nothing slow her down or get in her way. If she has an idea, she sees it through. If she wants to do something, she does it. At no point has Anne ever considered she couldn’t or shouldn’t do something. Having a small army of children by her mid-twenties hasn’t stopped her from excelling and smashing glass ceilings and in turn, she hasn’t let her work stop her from being a parent. She’s ventured into the world of investment where few women walk without a second thought. She hosts an open house on holidays for anyone who might be interested or in need. She’s empathetic and understanding, which is what has driven her to do good in her community from the get-go.
The best way to measure success is by impact. While her endeavours haven’t placed her on the Fortune 500 List, her achievements have impacted communities around her, improving the lives of people, and inspired others. We think that’s a damn good impact.