When the world’s demand for oil and gas decreases, Norway will need more alternatives regarding trade with other countries. That is why Innovation Norway is purposefully working to develop the export adventures of the future.
The years ahead will be crucial for Norwegian trade and industry. The Government wants Norway to increase non-oil and gas exports by 50 percent by 2030. According to Per Niederbach, Division Director, Export and Invest in Norway at Innovation Norway, this is an ambitious goal. At the same time, he is pleased that the Government clearly prioritises exports and green Norwegian business development.
“If we are to build new export industries, we must utilise the entire toolbox and see to an even greater extent the connection between investments in research and innovation. In addition, we must attract foreign capital and expertise when promoting exports”, says Niederbach.
Driven by demand
Demand-driven, focused and close to the companies are key words regarding the strategic export work taking place at Innovation Norway.
“To an even greater extent, we will adapt our efforts to the needs of the business sector. When market opportunities arise, we should be able to quickly strengthen that market with resources and the right expertise”, says Niederbach.
Innovation Norway’s new export strategy has three main elements:
A focused part with some major strategic initiatives that will position Norway and Norwegian trade and industry with large, specific and demand-driven market opportunities where Norway has comparative advantages. Examples include offshore wind, green shipping, hydrogen and aquaculture. This includes close collaboration with Team Norway, i.e. the network of various public and private actors working to promote Norwegian business interests abroad.
Secondly, Innovation Norway will to a greater extent focus its efforts through a wide range of instruments for selected companies that have high export potential. This will take place through a new programme called Global Gateways.
One final element is to mobilise and ensure that more companies are equipped for export activities. This takes place via a digital centre of expertise, where the breadth of Norwegian trade and industry quickly and efficiently gains access to export knowledge. In addition, Innovation Norway has its own Export Centre that provides advisory services and guidance on export technical advice and intellectual property rights (IPR).
“Innovation Norway plays an important role in assisting Norwegian companies with exports and international growth”, says Niederbach.
He makes reference to the impact analysis from Economic Norway that shows that companies that receive export advice from Innovation Norway do better in the form of additional growth in important areas. The analysis shows that these companies have an annual increase of 9.3 percentage points in sales revenues and an increase of 7.1 percentage points in value creation compared to similar companies that do not receive support from Innovation Norway.
“This is also confirmed in a survey conducted by Oxford Research in 2021, where close to one in three companies said that support from Innovation Norway contributed to increased exports”, says Niederbach.
“Innovation Norway will use the entire contents of its toolbox to contribute in strengthening Norwegian exports”, says Per Niderbach, Division Director, Export and Invest in Norway at Innovation Norway. Photo: Agnete Brun
New export industry
For more than 50 years, Norway has lived well on oil and gas revenues. With a power crisis in Europe and record high prices, our two largest natural resources have recently generated huge export revenues. This is positive for Norwegian trade balance, but it cannot last forever.
If we do not restructure in time, Norway risks large trade deficits with other countries.
“Our goal is to achieve the green shift here in Norway, while at the same time increasing exports”, says Niederbach.
In the years ahead, Innovation Norway will systematically develop new green sectors where Norway has important expertise and advantages.
“The work ahead is about prioritising certain major strategic export initiatives in new areas where we can build a new export industry”, says Niederbach.
As examples, he mentions offshore wind, hydrogen, circular economy, green shipping and maritime industry.
Approximately 30 percent of the companies that have received support from Innovation Norway have experienced increased exports.
One in three companies that have increased exports states that support from Innovation Norway contributed to their internationalisation process to a large extent.
One in ten companies surveyed said that support and advisory services from Innovation Norway contributed to the company implementing its first export project.
38 percent state that to a large extent they have received assistance from Innovation Norway when encountering various obstacles in their export work.