The Kristiansand region has an entrepreneurial culture that few in the country can match.
One of Norway’s foremost communities for entrepreneurs is found in the Kristiansand region.
“We have great ambitions and organise those who want to start up. The close collaboration between the entrepreneurs, trade and industry, academies , public sector activities, and cultural life strengthen the entrepreneurs within all sectors,” says Geir Askvik Haugum, manager of Business Region Kristiansand.
The region and southern Norway’s capital city has a broad eco system that lays the groundwork for trade and industry and innovative contributors.
“We want to have a world-class entrepreneur and development environment and are well on the way,” says Haugum.
The Kristiansand region has a long tradition of industry and international trade with strong centres of expertise within offshore, drilling, ICT, the process industry and artificial intelligence. The region is amongst the national leaders within energy and technology, and has trade and industry clusters and businesses that develop world-class, high-tech solutions.
“Large, natural hydroelectric power resources, a leading energy company and pioneering solar power industry provides opportunities for innovation and sustainable economic growth for the future” says the business manager.
A number of options
In the region there are many arenas where entrepreneurs can present, develop and test out their ideas. Haugum mentions, among other things, the innovation company and incubator Innoventus Sør. which helps entrepreneurs with commercialising sustainable creative ideas. Etablerersenter Vest-Agder offers courses and advice to anyone that wants to establish their own company, and many of the city’s entrepreneurs are assembled in the entrepreneur building CoWorx.. The latter organises Gründerhub, a free start up programme where entrepreneurs, independent of sector, have a golden opportunity to develop their ideas.
At Norway’s largest makerspace, Makerspace Norway, young growth companies have access to machines and equipment to develop prototypes and start small scale production. The catapult centre FutureMat has equipment and expertise for companies that want to test new materials technology. In addition the region has a world-class centre for innovation, pilot testing and technology qualification within mechatronics and other similar subject areas at the Mechatronics Innovation Lab.
“Financing is always a challenge for entrepreneurs or young entrepreneurs, but the region has several investors who provide opportunities for access to capital. Connect helps to connect entrepreneurs with private investors, and Innoventus Sør and Skagerak Maturo have different seed funding. In addition there is one of the Nordic regions foremost communities for crowdfunding at the University of Agder,” says Haugum.
A lot of exciting things happening
Through innovation efforts at the university, students and employees have had better equipment to work with on their ideas. This gives results. Drop Tech is a company that will contribute to a more accurate injection of chemicals through pipes, to start with within the oil and gas industry. Ripple Aerospace will plan logistics for space, and is edging closer to test launching its prototype rocket. Anzys Technologies is adopting artificial intelligence in order that computers will be able to read, interpret and understand words.
“It is exciting that with new technology and pioneering ideas this may lead to new companies and future trade and industry,” says Haugum, and gives several examples.
One of them is Foamrox. They have developed a new combination of materials that in an environmentally friendly way, replaces concrete in tunnels. The company Morild of Norway combines design and function and develops reflective clothing, whilst Picture IT is successful within furnishings and design. The business manager points out that several conditions have to be favourable for innovation, renewal and entrepreneurs.
“When we, in addition, have rich cultural facilities, a pulsating urban life with ocean and moor nearby, it provides space for recreation, but also for creativity and innovation, concludes Haugum.