Welcoming the breadth of Norwegian trade and Industry
Innovation Norway’s Growth and Entrepreneurship Centre in Førde is the first point of contact for Norwegian companies when they are looking for information about where and how they can best get help to restructure and develop.
On assignment from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Innovation Norway has been given the task of being ‘a door-opener’ by simplifying the journey companies have to take when attempting to navigate the business support system.
“This is incredibly exciting, and it is really great that the Minister of Trade and Industry and the Ministry itself have placed their trust in Innovation Norway.”
Hjørdis Vik, Head of Department at Innovation Norway’s Growth and Entrepreneurship Centre.
In 2021, the centre in Førde handled approximately 14,000 inquiries. This involved over 5500 incoming telephone calls, 4000 inquiries via online contact forms and 4000 questions from customers about technical support. In addition, the centre processed approximately 900 applications for market clarification grants.
Now that the role of ‘door-opener’ has been launched, the centre is expecting a significant increase in traffic.
“We are well equipped to fulfil the mission. We are already conducting a lot of this work and have a good foundation on which to scale the volume we already have”, says Vik optimistically.
Guaranteed response within eight hours
Among other things, the ‘door-opener’ project involves further developing the digital solution for ‘Rapid Clarification’, where the breadth of Norwegian trade and industry can fill in information about the project they are working on. Initial sorting and any sparring will take place at the Growth and Entrepreneurship Centre, and Innovation Norway guarantees feedback within eight hours for those who have made inquiries.
The business support system can sometimes be perceived as complicated, with many actors and various ways in.
“Our most important task is to recommend the way forward, together with Innovation Norway or other actors in the business support system. We are a party that listens and provides direction and inspiration to those who engage in dialogue with us”, says Vik.
The team in Førde consists of ten employees, and is described as a skilled and forward-thinking group of professionals.
“Our expertise is in early-stage business development, in addition to having solid financial and referral expertise. We are flexible and are taking this new challenge in our stride”, says Vik.
We will conduct ongoing data capture and further develop the solutions, with the aim of achieving as much automation and flexibility as possible.
In order to ensure that customers experience a smooth journey, the project will require good interaction, both internally and externally.
“Many customers report that they are satisfied with the journey. They usually get in touch for a first sparring session, are advised to start the application process through Project Help, and then they submit an application after receiving good guidance from Innovation Norway’s various advisors”, says Vik.
Internally, we must ensure good implementation and a common understanding of what is to be delivered to different customers. Externally, close dialogue is important.
“We have regular meetings with the other actors, and a great amount of focus must be placed on skills development.”
The head of department is in no doubt that being ‘a door-opener’ for the breadth of Norwegian trade and industry will provide long-term benefits, both for the ecosystem and for the customers.
“I believe that this is the right way to think. We may need to orient ourselves towards the market in a new way, and we need to test out what works for the customer in a start-up phase, both for us and for the others in the business support system. We will conduct ongoing data capture and further develop the solutions, with the aim of achieving as much automation and flexibility as possible.”