Being an intern in Norfund – Elida’s story

Hi! My name is Elida and in 2021 I was an intern in the Agribusiness and Manufacturing department (under Scalable Enterprises) in Norfund. Before joining Norfund I took my bachelor’s degree in International Business at Copenhagen Business School. I was highly motivated by Norfund’s mandate and diverse investment areas and viewed an internship as a perfect opportunity to get more insight into the field of impact investing. Hopefully this text can shed some light on my experience as an intern in Norfund!

Elida Unneberg

Driving economic growth

Large businesses are central to driving economic growth – they are on average more productive, recruit more staff and pay higher wages. In Sub Saharan Africa, however, there are very few large companies. The aim of Scalable Enterprises (SE) is therefore to find, invest in and support the companies which can grow to become future market leaders in Sub Saharan Africa.

During my time in the SE department I worked on various projects, including a strategy analysis of Norfund’s role as an owner, a country deep dive of Cote d’Ivoire as well as working on prospective investments. All five interns also got together for an internship project, which was a great chance to get to know each other better and conduct an organization-wide project, beyond our work in our individual departments. While the topic for the internship project changes every year, our project revolved around analyzing how Norfund could become a greener organization, focusing on our internal operations, as opposed to our investments. We calculated our internal CO2 footprint, analyzed waste management and employee attitudes, and concluded with recommendations for improvements Norfund could make.

Working on investment deals

On investment deals I worked together with a set project team to analyze prospective investments for Norfund. This was an exciting opportunity to get insights into various sectors in Sub Saharan Africa, as well as to participate in important company analyses, draft investment papers and participate in dialogues with companies and other stakeholders. It was also an opportunity for me to get exposure to some of the challenges of doing business in developing countries and the ways Norfund works to overcome these challenges. Beyond this, I personally valued being able to practically apply some of the things I had learned through my academic studies, working hands-on on tasks such as performing valuations, financial forecasts, and strategy analyses. This was made even more engaging by working with investments that differed greatly from the types of companies I had studied/worked with before.

From our team gathering in Cape Town, South Africa.

The Norfund Team

Without a doubt, one of the best aspects of my internship was working together with incredibly smart, experienced, and motivated colleagues. Being a part of a team with a common goal, clear vision and a drive to deliver results was a very enriching experience. Through numerous social events in Norfund, as well as a team gathering in South Africa, I was also able to get to know my colleagues better and develop stronger relationships with them. Turns out strenuously hiking up Table Mountain in 30 degrees and a baking sun is an excellent bonding activity! I also personally organized an indoor climbing session as well as a padel tournament with some of my Oslo colleagues, a great way to uncover everyone’s true competitive spirit 😄