- Our ability to export products and services is crucial for the development of a competitive and sustainable Norwegian business community. Innovation, business development and exports are closely linked. We are now making changes that will strengthen efforts towards export and give us the necessary flexibility to assist companies in the work of seizing market opportunities abroad, says CEO Håkon Haugli of Innovation Norway.
The change means that the number of permanent Innovation Norway offices abroad will be reduced from 30 to 24. At the same time, Innovation Norway’s presence will be strengthened in some of the most important markets for Norwegian business and industry: Germany, the USA, the United Kingdom and Singapore.
- In sum, this means that we sharpen our efforts. We are strengthening our presence in the markets with the greatest interest and potential for Norwegian business and industry. At the same time, we are reducing our efforts in markets where our support is not as much in demand. The goal of the changes we are now making is to strengthen the overall export effort, increase our ability to be more flexible, and in collaboration with Team Norway be able to assist Norwegian companies both where we are present and in markets where we are not present today. In addition, we provide assistance to companies that export or want to export also from our regional offices around Norway, says Haugli.
Every four years, the Ministry of Trade and Industry gives Innovation Norway the task of assessing the company's international presence. With Norway's export challenge and the business community's clear feedback on the need for targeted efforts as a backdrop, Innovation Norway has this year carried out a comprehensive strategic process, with input from the business community and actors related to Norwegian exports. The company's new export strategy envisages a shift in export work, with a general export service to all exporting companies, a structured course for export companies with high potential and greater strategic investments due to opportunities in international markets.
On 23 September, the Board of Innovation Norway gave its approval to the changes that are now being implemented. The changes are based on three criteria: There must be sufficient interest in the market in the Norwegian business sector, the market must have sufficient potential for Norwegian business and Innovation Norway must through its presence contribute to making a difference for business players who export or want to export to the relevant market .
Overall, this means the following changes in Innovation Norway's international presence:
- Strengthening of offices in Singapore, the United Kingdom (London), Germany (Hamburg and Munich) and the United States (New York and San Francisco).
- Closure of the offices in Denmark (Copenhagen), Finland (Helsinki), Indonesia (Jakarta), Poland (Warsaw) and South Africa (Cape Town), and closure of one of two offices in India (Mumbai).
Minor reallocations are also being made at some of the other offices.
The changes will be implemented in 2021, and will affect approx. 25 man-years at Innovation Norway. Subsequently, Innovation Norway will be present with 24 permanent international offices in 19 markets. In addition, there are four minor project offices for the EEA assignment in Europe.
More flexible services
- Norway is a small country that cannot be present in all markets. The goal of the changes we are now making is a more targeted and flexible effort, which in total provides a better offer to an international Norwegian business community where there is demand and opportunities, says Per Niederbach, director of the Entrepreneurship, Growth and Export Division in Innovation Norway.
- We will also strive for a more flexible organization so that we are equipped to adapt to changes and opportunities in new markets and new sectors. The changes furthermore includes digital services, through which we will improve our general advisory service to the Norwegian business sector on export opportunities. We need to have export in mind when developing a strong Norwegian business sector for the future. This applies both regionally and nationally, says Per Niederbach.
Read Innovation Norway's report Rigged for export - stronger, more strategic and closer to the enterprises.