Runar Reistrup is a member of the Vakstrarforum — the Growth Forum, a new government initiative in the Faroe Islands. As a successful entrepreneur with Faroese background he is bringing in his extensive experience from building companies and creating new context through digital services to the Forum group. Runar was CEO of UK/US based start-up Depop that sold for $1.6bn last week and is now leading YunoJuno.
Runar splits his professional life between London and Faroe Islands, coming back home to the Faroe Islands regularly for remote working and to spend the weekends with his family. He is a blueprint of a contemporary entrepreneur successfully mixing lifestyles and professional demands that we can look at to better understand the future of work and the opportunities we will showcase here below.
And he kindly shares his views how to shape the future growth sectors in the Faroe Islands. Which is as true for any other destinations looking to develop sustainable growth in key sectors for the better of society and business.
Being the CEO of YunoJuno, a UK talent freelancer platform, we want to particularly explore with him the talent aspect of developing the Faroe Islands as a destination. The need for (and the lack of) talent seems to be the single most challenge for companies and destinations to broadly strategize and grow.
And it certainly is a key area for the Vakstrarforum to grow Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Faroe Islands. According to Runar, there is an obvious Megatrend for the Future of Work, which is to pick freelancing as a career path and work remotely from anywhere for some of the most innovative companies in the world.
Particularly the younger talents in the creative and tech sectors are excited to explore new forms of lifestyle and to take advantage of given opportunities around the world. Through the blessings of the internet and digitalization many new options for working remotely are now possible.
When looking at the ICT industry in the Faroe Islands — what could possibly keep the small nation back from being a leader in the international Telecommunication based industry? As said Jan Ziskasen, the CEO of Faroese Telecom company once in an interview: “Why limit ourselves? We are small, remote but among the best — and there is more to come! Our target is it to be the best in the world of telecommunication in near future!”
The preconditions to reach the ambitious target in the Faroe Islands are all there, start-up programs, fast internet, strong infrastructure, education, good health system plus the thrill of living in a wild and unique natural environment. Talent travels to where attractive opportunities are leading them and the new forms of working together can bridge existing gaps and create synergies.
Any new brains moving to or back to the Faroe Islands, bring in their expertise and knowledge and transfer this knowledge to help develop new skills.
Runar tells about his flight last Friday where he noticed many new faces – Faroese entrepreneurs and managers from the international tech and green energy sectors — were travelling with him on the plane back home for the weekend. Compared to earlier years the back-home-for-the-weekend crowd has changed a lot — then it was mainly people from the oil and fisheries industries travelling back home.
The big shift now in generations, skills and visibility of international knowledge sectors seems obvious. Trends for freelancing and flourishing of new skills will help to sourcing talent — Faroese living and working abroad could freelance for companies in the Faroe Islands, or could bring their job back home and continue to working remotely for foreign employers and companies. Likewise, companies established in the Faroe Islands can work with international freelancers and that lets us realize that really each individual can find their best path — many successful online platforms, the likes of Airbnb, have widely demonstrated that new ways are enabled easily. Freelancers these days are available across all job levels and can also generate the income necessary to support the lifestyle.
Growing up in the Faroe Islands usually means to have strong roots in a community of only 53,000 inhabitants (where it is said that everyone knows everyone). Predictable travel options and international relations opened the mind to look at more opportunities.
Many who had lived abroad also come back to the Faroe Islands to live there again.
Here is Runar’s advice for decision makers in destinations who are challenged to develop truly sustainable growth strategies:
“It is good to step back and honestly look at the traits that can make the destination attractive and are supportive to the goals we need and want most – and the ones that possibly aren’t.
Defining all the trails and scoring them along missions, core values and growth needs is the best basis for balancing existing and new assets. Any community needs to be open-minded but also assertive of what it means to be grounded in their local DNA.”
A steady stream of global nomads coming to and living in the destination can provide a very refreshing input to business and society, and the same happens when working with foreign team members!
YunoJuno is the UK’s largest marketplace for premium creative and tech freelancers and powers “The Future of Work”, changing how the creative and tech industry resource their business and manage their workforce.
Interview and Text: Johanna Fischer, tmf knowledge destinations for Visit Faroe Islands Meetings