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Annual report '06

Regional business development

Innovation Norway will contribute to industrial development based on regional conditions by exploiting regional advantages and opportunities. Innovation Norway will also contribute to greater interaction and more targeted work relating to restructuring regionally, particularly in areas with a vulnerable industrial structure or failure of the industrial base.

Innovation Norway's work relating to regional business development is concentrated on three working areas:

1. Development and exploitation of regional advantages and opportunities

Innovation Norway will contribute to local and regional business and industrial development.

Innovation Norway’s regional offices work closely with the county councils and county governors. Reports from the regional offices indicate that the counties’ guidelines for the allocation of funds for business and industrial development correspond with the national guidelines and Innovation Norway’s priorities. There is also a high degree of correspondence between our offices’ input in the planning process and that which comes back as guidelines for the funds that Innovation Norway is allocated.

2. Regional interaction

Innovation Norway will help to strengthen regional interaction through joint projects with regional partners and participation in regional networks and at other meeting places. The results for each region are presented in the annual reports from the individual regional offices.

The regions organise the work relating to regional interaction in different ways. Innovation Norway is working closely with the county councils and county governors and is a prime-mover in many joint projects, networks and meeting places. The results for 2006 show greater proactivity on the part of the regional offices and ever closer regional cooperation in many counties. The level of activity within the initiative area “Network-based innovation” also increased in 2006.

3. Regional restructuring

Innovation Norway will contribute to professional and targeted restructuring work in areas with a vulnerable industrial structure or failure of the industrial base. Regional restructuring is an extraordinary initiative in areas where a cornerstone industry is being run down with extensive job losses or in regions which are facing major long-term challenges linked to the restructuring of industry, e.g. defence-dependent municipalities.

The work will among other things contribute to the establishment of profitable jobs and a more robust industrial structure and lead to the municipality having a clearer role in the restructuring work. The programme status assessment in 2006 showed that the municipalities are consistently driving the restructuring forward in a satisfactory way and that the work is having an effect. Åmot, Lødingen, Hald, Innherred, Årdal and Flora are municipalities and areas which can point to particularly good results.

The most important services that Innovation Norway provides in connection with the restructuring work regionally is Strategic Development Analysis, the Leader Development Programme for the Restructuring Board, the Idea Developer, the Founder Mentor, PLP expertise, SMB development, Young Entrepreneurs in Focus, Women in Focus, Programme Status Assessment and Service orientation of the municipal organisation with respect to industry.

Focus in 2007

Innovation Norway will continue its work relating to regional restructuring. In 2007, nine new municipalities will be given restructuring status and come under Innovation Norway’s programme.