The story of a young project manager - Oliwer Bäcklund in RIBS

By Ester Laurell, Contact Point Åland
Published on 24.3.2020
Type of content: Interview

In English

A young project manager - Oliwer

This interview was made in 2018.

- Who are you?

My name is Oliwer Bäcklund and I’m a 22-year-old media and communications entrepreneur and the project leader for RIBS in Finland.

- Why did you want to work for RIBS?

When I founded my first company with my partners, the stakes were high: succeed or fail. There were no safety nets, no mentors nor other young people with the same interest as we had, that we could lean against or look to for motivation and support.
When I first heard about RIBS in it’s early stages of planning, I got really excited: finally a safe place for youth to develop their creative and business skills and encourage each other! I started supporting the project as best as I could, and later on I started working with the project as an consultant. When the change to become the new project leader for RIBS in Finland opened up in the fall of 2016, I applied for the job, the best decision of my life so far.  

- What have you done so far?

We have done a lot! Everything from managing and developing one of the only entrepreneurship programs in a upper secondary school in Finland to creating new methods for learning, youth work, workshops, creating summer jobs and developing real businesses. You name it!

- How many participants have you reached in Finland?

We have, with great pride, reached about 500 participants in Finland!  

- Can you give me an example of a “joint student company”? 

We have had a lot of great examples of Joint student companies during the project period. The ones that comes to mind are the results of the entrepreneurship competition “Get the deal”. During the competition each team of students get a real task from a renowned company in the Central Baltic region related to their area of expertise, often related to their age and knowledge about new methods and ways of communication.
These competitions are also the fondest memories I have of RIBS. The last three years I’ve had the great pleasure to watch the companies respect and listen to the youth and to see how the youth grow in to their roles as consultants and come up with innovative and smart solutions to the companies cases.  

- Has this project changed you/your life in some way? 

I’ve never had a lack of confidence in future generations of artists, politicians and entrepreneurs, but if anything this project have cemented my beliefs and showed me that the adults of tomorrow can surpass my expectations by light years. The only thing we - you and me - have to do is give them the tools to succeed and the space needed to do so.

- What do you think will remain when the project is over?

Right now we are working on finding new financing and leadership for the big projects and methods that we have been developing. Our hope is that RIBS is just the beginning for these methods and that the local institutions recognise the massive opportunities these methods offer.
One thing is for sure though. The youth won’t go anywhere, and hopefully we have given them the confidence and tools to keep on working on their dreams!
We owe all of the projects success to them!

Oliwer Bäcklund 2018