More companies with growth potential - a driving force behind increased growth and exports

Norwegian economic restructuring depends on more companies growing and scaling successfully. Exports are also a key word in the development of the business sector we want in the future. 

In Innovation Norway’s customer surveys, companies point to certain export challenges and barriers that are more important to overcome than others, such as financing international growth initiatives, finding strategic partners locally in international markets and the company’s own expertise and capacity in the internationalisation process.

Our contribution to growth companies is financing, expertise and networks that will help them succeed with sustainable growth and exports. With a presence in 23 countries, we assist with market insight and positioning so that Norwegian companies are able to win contracts in international markets.

Two thirds of the funding provided by Innovation Norway in 2021 was allocated to enterprises with growth potential, enterprises that are more that three years old. Companies in this category received grants and loans worth NOK 6 billion in 2021. In addition, these companies received advisory services, expertise, networks and profiling worth NOK 269 million. In 2020, the amounts were higher because Innovation Norway received increased frameworks through the Storting’s crisis packages during the pandemic.

Contributing to increased exports

Almost one in three companies that have received funding and advisory services from Innovation Norway are of the opinion that this has contributed to increased exports. This is according to the latest customer impact surveys conducted by Oxford Research four years after the companies received support from us.

In 2021, 55 percent of the companies that received advisory services from our international offices also said that the service they received played a crucial role during the initial phases of their internationalisation process. This is an increase of six percentage points compared to the previous year.

The survey also shows that 85 percent of the companies that have started exports will make use of our services on international projects in the future.

The effect analysis carried out by Economics Norway also shows that companies that receive export advice from us do better in terms of additional growth in important areas. Compared to similar companies that haven’t received such services, the survey shows an annual increase of 9.3 percentage points in sales revenues, an increase of 7.1 percentage points in value creation, 4.5 percentage points in productivity and an increase of 3.2 percentage points in the number of man-years.

Positioning themselves for major contracts

In 2021, Innovation Norway has focused its efforts on exports and launched a major strategic export project initiative. Seven projects were launched based on specific demand in other countries, where commercial contracts were established amounting to more than NOK 500 million. The projects include green and sustainable areas such as offshore wind, hydrogen, circular economy and green shipping. Innovation Norway coordinates the efforts of the actors in Team Norway, and is the business sector’s partner for strategic initiatives both at home and abroad. Through targeted and long-term positioning work, Norwegian companies will be in a position to land the major contracts.

We also contribute to the green shift through project financing. In 2021, 61 percent of all funding from us went to projects that had the potential of creating positive environmental impacts. 89 percent of the innovation grants went to green restructuring, including areas such as renewable energy and new energy solutions for application in the maritime sector.

We also facilitate international investments in Norway, and position Norway as an attractive country for investors and talent. In 2021, Invest in Norway secured 17 investments. These projects contribute more than 240 jobs and NOK 700 million in invested capital. There is a lot of activity taking place within the battery value chain.

Succeeding in the European arena

EU programmes provide growth financing and expertise to Norwegian companies, in addition to being a door opener to international markets. In 2021, Norwegian companies received a total of NOK 501 million in grants and equity from the European Innovation Council Accelerator. This is slightly below the average in the previous programme period and a decrease from 2020, when the figure was around 725 million.

Many of the companies have received assistance from Innovation Norway’s EU advisers regionally, nationally and in Brussels. Assisting companies in utilising funding opportunities in the EU is an increasingly important part of Innovation Norway’s mission.

Targeted and differentiated export services

In 2021, we launched a new export development programme for companies that are both mature and robust enough to increase exports and succeed in international markets. More than 50 companies joined the programme in 2021, where they will be allocated a dedicated advisor who will help the company achieve its international goals and ambitions over time.

The digital and self-service expertise programme, which aims to better equip companies for growth and export, was also significantly expanded in 2021. More than 7000 unique users took advantage of the expertise centre which provides access to relevant market insights, analyses and expertise services from the entire Norwegian business support system.

With expertise both at home and abroad, Innovation Norway has a wide range of services that will contribute to increased sustainable growth and exports, whether it be companies that are already in the market, or companies exporting for the first time.

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