Grønn Gjødsel uses residual waste from poultry production and fish sludge to produce natural fertiliser. The company is expanding internationally but is almost facing challenges in new markets. We were almost caught out in China but got help from Innovation Norway’s Beijing office.
Married couple Lars Riiser Evju and Janet Narvestad Evju established green fertiliser producer Grønn Gjødsel in 2010. It started with organic fertiliser pellets designed to utilise all of the raw materials from poultry production. Since then, it has developed products and its portfolio and continued the work of turning an environmental problem into an important resource. The Østfold company has become an important premise setter for the development of organic farming in Norway.
Chicken fertiliser is pelleted in a dedicated factory in Rakkestad, and it supplies customers all over the country, within both organic and conventional agriculture, fruit and berries, greenhouses, golf courses, gardeners, and others. The company has well-functioning production and distribution processes for its core markets in Norway, but is also looking at Sweden, Denmark, and Ireland.
Almost caught out in China
“We received invaluable help from Innovation Norway’s Beijing office when we tried to enter the Chinese market. We had no experience of this market and the technical trading rules that apply. We were almost caught out by a company that wanted to buy the rights to our products,” says Lars Riiser Evju, the CEO at Grønn Gjødsel.
The company received an order from a customer in China. After the container had shipped and the consignment had been paid for, the Chinese company asked for more information and sent over a contract proposal. They really wanted to sell the product in China.
Since Grønn Gjødsel was not familiar with the Chinese market, it contacted Innovation Norway’s Oslo Viken office, which put it in touch with the Beijing office. Funding adviser Song Lin, who has long experience with the fertiliser market in China, investigated the company. It turned out that the Chinese company wanted to produce products itself and just use Grønn Gjødsel’s trademark.
Financial support and advice
“If it hadn’t been for Innovation Norway, we would not have been able to grow as quickly as we have. We have received financial support and advice from the start, and this has ensured that we have made some correct choices underway,” says Evju, adding:
“Thanks to the last allocation from Innovation Norway, which was a combined grant and loan, we have been able to develop pellets that provide more stable and rational fertilisation.”
Grønn Gjødsel has received support from Innovation Norway and the Research Council of Norway over many years. In 2009, it received a grant to scale and streamline production of fertiliser, and it has now has an opportunity to build a new production line. It has always focused on development in order to reach a larger group of customers and enter more markets.
Awards and distinctions
The company was honoured with an Entrepreneur Award from Sparebankene Indre Østfold in 2013. In 2015, was named Gazelle of the Year in Østfold by the newspaper Dagens Næringsliv. In autumn 2019, it won the local Business Development Award in Østfold from Innovation Norway, and in January 2020 it won the national Business Development Award, worth NOK 250,000, in Berlin.
“Grønn Gjødsel has demonstrated a willingness and ability to constantly develop new and sustainable fertiliser products based on biological waste. It is leading the way towards the circular utilisation of resources, at the same time as it can point to impressive growth and profitability for the company. It has managed to create an exciting business with great international potential,” said Kristin Willoch Haugen, director at Innovation Norway Oslo Viken in connection with the presentation of the regional Business Development Award in 2019.
In 2022, Grønn Gjødsel was assessing joining Innovation Norway’s strategy programme for international market development. Participating in it will enable it to share experience with other international companies and gain access to tools and methods that will allow it to make better market choices.
It would gain more insight into the market, learn about rigging its own organisation and designing its export offering to ensure that the solution meets the needs and market conditions in a new market. This could contribute to more efficient and profitable international growth.