- To succeed in supporting existing, and building new export industries, we must see the work with business development at home in connection with exports, says Håkon Haugli, CEO of Innovation Norway.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Iselin Nybø, presented the Government's action plan for exports together with Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide. The future work with export promotion will be based on the current apparatus, and will be designed so that public and private actors will identify common strategic focus areas.
The work of promoting Norwegian exports must take place on the premises of the business community. In the new export strategy, Innovation Norway has called for a closer involvement of the business community, where strategic initiatives are implemented on the basis of market opportunities abroad and on the basis of agreed decisions.
Read Innovation Norway's report Rigged for export - stronger, more strategic and close to companies.
Succeeding in international competition is demanding in a normal situation, and the corona crisis has created new challenges for Norwegian export companies.
- Going forward, we are both dependent on strengthening exports from established export industries and building new ones. Business development and exports are closely linked. In new areas, such as hydrogen, offshore wind and batteries, within circular and bio economy, food and agricultural technology or the health industry, work on business development and exports are interwoven. We cannot export something we do not have, or develop solutions that are not needed, says Håkon Haugli.
Coordinated export efforts
In the work on the new export strategy, Innovation Norway has been in close contact with companies, business organizations, clusters, the county municipalities and other parts of the policy instruments. Throughout, there is a need for increased efforts to promote Norwegian exports, more coordinated strategic initiatives and increased flexibility and cutting-edge expertise in our presence abroad. This is reflected in Innovation Norway's export strategy, which is discussed in the export action plan.
- The export work must be strengthened, arranged more strategically and carried out on the companies' terms, Haugli says.
Innovation Norway is in the process of implementing the new export strategy, which involves a sharpened focus and a more flexible set-up, in order to utilize great market opportunities where Norwegian environments and companies can take new global positions.
There is a clear expectation in the business community about simplification of the business support system. In Deloitte and Menon's review of the business support system, the need for simplification for the business community was pointed out. A prerequisite for success in providing relevant assistance – also for export – is that the instruments are easy to find and easy to use.
- As a sparring partner for companies throughout the country, our experience is that companies in different phases have different needs. Scaling, growth and exports – and the instruments to achieve this – are closely linked, says Haugli.
More central role for the business clusters
In the export action plan, the government proposes that the clusters be given a more central role in the export work. The clusters are owned by the companies and are arenas for collaboration between regional and national knowledge and business actors.
- The clusters have all the prerequisites to promote exports and to attract foreign investment to Norway. Through the cluster program, Innovation Norway contributes to the operation of the clusters, and we have worked closely together in several international markets and seen results from the clusters' export work, for example in health technology in Singapore or offshore wind in Japan and Denmark, says Haugli.
Foreign investments to Norway
The Export Action Plan points out that building up new export industries is also about attracting foreign investment to Norway. Innovation Norway is currently working to attract foreign investment to Norway. The county municipalities are important clients and partners in this work as well.
EU research and innovation programs
Norwegian participation in the EU's research and innovation programs is also an important tool for internationalization and exports. Through Norwegian participation in Horizon Europe, Norwegian companies will have access to networks, expertise and capital that lay the foundation for further growth. Innovation Norway, together with the Research Council and others, will contribute to these instruments interacting with national instruments to strengthen Norwegian business and industry's opportunities for internationalization and exports.