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Annual report '06

Increased internationalisation within business

Innovation Norway aims to contribute to increased internationalisation by mediating knowledge about and exploiting opportunities in international markets. Innovation Norway also aims to contribute to the exchange of technology and knowledge with other countries. The results from 2006 indicate that Norwegian companies have a stronger international focus than previously.

Innovation Norway’s work to increase internationalisation focuses on three areas:

1. Spreading knowledge concerning international markets

Innovation Norway aims to contribute to increased knowledge within business concerning international markets and opportunities.
In total, Innovation Norway’s overseas network and head office processed 24,600 general enquiries concerning internationalisation in 2006, an increase of over 10 percent compared with 2005.

Amongst the initiatives to increase companies' knowledge of international market opportunities are courses and human resource development programmes through Innovation Norway’s Export School. During 2006, the International Trade Regulations department replied to approximately 2600 questions concerning customs charges and duties, documentation, delivery terms and international contracts. The newsletter Eksportaktuelt (“Export News”) is free, published every other week and has 4800 subscribers. The Euro Info Centre (EIC) department has specialist expertise relating to the EU and EEA and a remit which includes the provision of information concerning existing and new financing schemes. During 2006, EIC responded to 9600 enquiries and had 8704 unique hits on its website during the period July to December 2006. EIC is mostly used by small businesses, particularly production companies.

2. Exploit international market opportunities

Innovation Norway aims to contribute to increased international activity within industry.

The customer effect survey that was carried out in 2006 shows that Norwegian companies who received services from Innovation Norway in 2002 recorded a growth in turnover as a result of participating in Innovation Norway's projects of 44 percent in regional Norwegian markets. This is unchanged from 2005. The growth in the national market was 36 percent in 2005 and 42 percent last year, an increase of 6 percent. The growth in turnover in the international markets was 18 percent in 2005 and an even more impressive 28 percent in 2006. The fact that the companies had the largest increase in turnover in percentage terms in the international markets could indicate a more international focus amongst the companies.

Among the schemes to increase international activity within business are the INT programme (the Internationalisation of Newly Established Technology Companies), FastTrack (a cutting-edge initiative aimed at technology-driven companies and so-called “born globals”) and the Springboard initiative (which helps Norwegian companies to exploit the offer of access to foreign research and industrial parks, networks, financial tools and other assistance for companies that are looking to succeed in international markets).

The SMB-I scheme, Research and development contracts, also known as ‘OFU/IFU’, and defence procurement and buyback are other schemes. Within business development and aid, the most pivotal initiatives are the contingency system NOREPS, or Norwegian Emergency Preparedness System, the Matchmaking programme for South Africa and India, and Industry's aid conference, the annual national meeting arena for industry and aid.

3. Exchange international technology and knowledge

Innovation Norway aims to help Norwegian companies to exploit technology and knowledge developed abroad and to export Norwegian technology. We will achieve this by establishing and developing networks with Norwegian and overseas companies. In 2006, almost 2300 Norwegian and 2600 foreign companies took part in networks and alliances, on study trips and seminars organised by Innovation Norway.

The scheme Innovation Norway Business Development Projects (INBDP) will help to ensure that Norwegian companies are given relevant information concerning technology and market opportunities in other countries. Innovation Norway also has technology envoys who collect information concerning technology and expertise internationally, mediate it and assist Norwegian innovation and research environments.

Focus in 2007

In spring 2006, Innovation Norway, with the Euro Info Centre as project leader, began a complete review of the EU work within the organisation. The final report has been published and will be used as a basis for potential improvements to the future work with the EU in Innovation Norway. Another change in 2007 is that the Springboard initiative will become part of the International growth programme.

Innovation Norway is also working on new routines and organisation for INBDP in order to make the scheme more targeted and effective. This change will result in new criteria for which projects will receive support, and knowledge concerning technology and market opportunities will be made available to everyone on the internet. The change will also enable the regional and overseas offices to work even more closely.