When it comes to world-leading research I am in no doubt: there are few better places to work than Trondheim. Led by NTNU and SINTEF, so much groundbreaking work has taken place in this relatively tiny town.
Th.most well-known is the Nobel-Prize winning research from the May-Britt and Edvard Moser, but thanks to the Technology Transfer Offices at both NTNU and SINTEF, a whole host of research is being spun-off and commercialised too. Outside the academic bubble initatives like DIGS and the soon-to-open Work Work are attracting more people into entrepreneurship.
But Trondheim can't do it alone.
In fact, Norway can't do it alone either.
When competing against the might of Silicon Valley for talent and investment, the Nordic region must stand together as one.
At this year's Technoport conference, we tried our best to attract more people from around the region. Bala Kamallakharan from Startup Iceland joined us to help judge the pitching competition alongside Tarmo Virki from the brand new CoFounder magazine, a venture born between Tallinn and Helsinki. Obtaining unbiased feedback from an external perspective was an important step for many local startup founders.
I caught up with Yngvar Pettersen from Home Control AS at Arctic15 in Helsinki, and we discussed why there were so few Norwegians at the event.
“if you go the US they don't look at Norway or Sweden or Finland, they look at the Nordics. If we are to ever compete with Silicon Valley, it would be better to be together. In Norway companies like Viva Labd, Future Home and ourselves are doing really great things with IoT, but so are a couple in Sweden and three or four in Finland. Acting as a regional hub of 10-12 comapanies we can be a much stronger voice."
"We will not be able to build big international companies without travelling to these events. If you get 300k from Innovation Norway you can work for a year, but good times don't last forever. I think we are too used to Government funding."
Back at Technoport 2015, Sirpa Kuusela led a delegation from the Finnish city of Tampere to explore business development links with Trondheim. The two cities share many similarities, not least the academic collaboration between research company VTT and the Tampere University of Technology.
The visit was such a success that she has arranged a charter flight for Trondheim companies looking to find out more about the potential business opportunities and collaborations with Finnish companies. The trip to Tampere coincides with the Subcontracting Trade Fair, where 1,000 exhibitors and 20,000 visitors will discuss industries such as Cleantech & Energy, Creative, ICT, Intelligent machines, IoT, Life Science, Health Care, Manufacturing and Nanotechnology.
The team will proactively matchmake so you can get the most out of the visit. Find out more here.
Let us continue developing Trondheim's innovation community (initiatives such as the Community Builder of the Year are an important step in the process) by playing to our strengths, but not forget our size. Building bridges with more established communities and fostering better relationships with other centres of excellence around the Nordics will only benefit the development of Trondheim.
My vision of the future places Trondheim as an "R&D campus" of choice at the heart of a thriving Nordic innovation cluster.
Now, let's make it happen!