Waffle entrepreneur awarded prize
Norwegian student aims to bring Norwegian waffles to the United States
Norway Waffles won the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship Award last year. Elise Christophersen was awarded the honor at the eighth annual NFTE Central Valley Regional Business Plan competition, sponsored by the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Her winning business plan was for Norway Waffles, a company that sells containers of pre-made, dry waffle mix that make up to 18 servings. The heart-shaped waffles are fluffy with a soft center.
Waffles are eaten in all of the Scandinavian countries, but they have a special place in Norway. They represent a sense of belonging, the taste of home. Not a week goes by in a Norwegian home without a waffle being eaten. They are large, soft, and fluffy, and perfectly folded in your hand. The toppings are simply slices of brown cheese, sour cream, or jam. We serve them as a type of snack with coffee. Friends serve waffles when we visit them in their cabin at the South Coast or their holiday home in Southern Spain. Our local golf club brands themselves as having the best and most crispy waffles. Myself, I prefer them warm and just out of the iron with butter.
Volunteers coming together (dugnad) make waffles to raise money for their kid’s leisure activities like skiing and soccer. Even outside Norway, groups like the Norwegian Church abroad continue the practice. Myself, I have visited some just to read Norwegian newspapers with a cup of coffee and a waffle.
Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship provides entrepreneurial education programs to young people from low-income communities to enhance their economic productivity by improving their business, academic, and life skills. So far they have worked with 450,000 young people across the U.S. and around the world.
Christophersen was born and raised in Norway. She grew up with a great-grandmother who always made waffles whenever she came over to visit her. By living a year in the U.S. as an exchange student, she realized that Americans need a healthier breakfast and snack alternative. According to Norway Waffle’s home page, Christophersen hopes to bring the Norwegian way of eating waffles to the U.S. She says, “The moment I heard Norway Waffles was the winner I couldn’t believe it. There were so many good business plans. However, I felt honored and very excited. I’m pretty sure my face said the same because I couldn’t stop smiling. Winning the accolade has given me even more motivation to keep going with my product.”
Christophersen spent her senior year as an exchange student at McLane High School in Fresno, and is now a college student in Oslo. She will be back!
This article originally appeared in the Aug. 21, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.