The event gathered 200 representatives of businesses, clusters, researchers and policymakers from 11 countries in Europe. More than 50 speakers led discussions on how to create business in blue growth, including thematic sessions on green shipping, blue bioeconomy, smart ports and offshore wind. The participants were eager to meet and discuss cooperation.
The event was hybrid and 300-400 followed online. More have seen the recordings since. You can see recordings, pictures and results here!
The event aimed to create business in the marine/maritime sector, within the EEA and Norway Grants and beyond. It was organised by Innovation Norway in cooperation with long-time partners from Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Romania. These countries cooperate in 10 programmes that support business development, innovation and SMEs as part of the EEA and Norway Grants.
All the photos are available here!
The EEA and Norway Grants are the contribution from Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein to reducing disparities and strengthening cooperation in Europe. In total, the EEA and Norway Grants provide 340 million euro to 10 countries for projects that strengthen competitiveness and value creation through the business programmes including on blue growth. All programmes encourage cooperation with partners in Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. You can read more here: EEA Norway Grants (innovasjonnorge.no).
The event also aimed to present the funding, prepare the ground for the future and connect partners for cooperation on blue growth, within and beyond the ongoing period of the EEA and Norway Grants.
The event spanned over two days and included five main sessions. It started with a plenary and followed up with four thematic sessions on
The entire programme is available here or in the videos below.
All sessions focussed on how to create business on blue growth. Participants discussed the latest expertise, opportunities and ideas for business innovation, green solutions, new technology and alternative energy sources for blue growth.
There was a sense of urgency in the need to combine growth with the sustainability of our oceans, seas, coasts, rivers and lakes. There was also an agreement that action relies on cooperation between companies, innovation clusters, research institutes, industry associations and others.
The programme included an ambitious number of speakers, more than 50 in total, representing the various countries and sectors which are important for a sustainable blue economy.
The plenary kicked off the event with welcoming words from the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in Greece, HE Mr Kostas Frokogiannis, and Norway's Ambassador to Greece, Mr Frode Overland. The European Commission contributed with a presentation of the strategy Sustainable Ocean Economy by Ms Andrea Strachinescu, who is Head of Unit for Maritime Innovation, Marine Knowledge and Investment at the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in the European Commission. This was followed by brief presentations of the EEA and Norway Grants and how they contribute to the aim of blue growth in Europe.
The 11 countries involved - Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Romania - all gave national presentations at the plenary. They shared national priorities on blue growth, their potential for business innovation, opportunities in their markets and ambitions for European cooperation. The national presentations were held by a representative from each country, and they all gave excellent introductions to their blue markets in a quick and dynamic way. The event showcased both differences and similarities between the countries which bodes well for successful business cooperation across borders.
See the recording of the plenary here:
Thematic session 1 on green shipping gave insight into the maritime industries, with new technology, solutions and alternative energy sources including electrification, batteries and hydrogen. It outlined great potential in the aim to reduce CO2 as well as business opportunities within and across the countries involved - many of which are among the largest maritime nations in Europe.
The session showcased how blue bioeconomy is a growing area for business and cooperation in Europe. Blue bioeconomy relies on marine and aquatic innovation, and the session presented excellent examples from many of the countries in Europe - Iceland, Portugal, Croatia, Latvia, Greece, Romania and Norway. The business cases proved the value of bringing bio-based products - such as algae, seaweed and microorganisms - to the markets.
What makes a port "smart"? The session discussed the automation, technologies, systems and mindsets which make our ports smart, connected and green. Ports are adapting to pre-pandemic trade levels, developing infrastructure, re-establish supply chains for the future, digitalising their systems and greening their operations.
Speakers include specialists from major ports in Europe, including Gdynia Port in Poland, Igoumenitsa Port in Greece and Bergen Port in Norway. Others were experts or academics in port development, major municipalities or founders and CEOs of innovative companies providing solutions which help make ports smart.
In the words of Mr Morten Albriktsen, COO of Bergen Port: "The most important thing is to get started".
The session presented the offshore wind markets, policies and cooperation across all of Europe's sea basins - the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Atlantic Coast of Portugal, the Adriatic, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean
The countries represented were Norway, Poland, Portugal, Croatia, Romania, Estonia and Greece.
The discussions explored business opportunities, how to build supply chains and transfer competence from other industries such as oil and gas, balancing local need with international cooperation and how best to accelerate development with speed and scale.
The aim was to create business opportunities and cooperation on blue growth, and the event included a matchmaking both online and at the venue. A total of 340 participants had registered and 153 meetings took place in the session. If you joined the matchmaking online, you can still access your profile, see the other profiles and contact your potential partners here!
At the venue, the room was buzzing with physical meetings between participants at the event.
The participants were eager to meet and discuss, both on and off stage as well as online, and the matchmaking seems to have borne results!
The EEA and Norway Grants on Blue Growth supports projects on business innovation, value creation and competitiveness in the marine/maritime sectors. It also encourages cooperation with partners in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein in all projects. You can read more about the EEA and Norway Grants here: EEA Norway Grants (innovasjonnorge.no).
The Grants are the contribution from Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein to reducing social and economic disparities and strengthening cooperation in Europe. Innovation Norway is involved in all the programmes on business development, innovation and SMEs. You can read more about the funding on our website. Follow the EEA and Norway Grants by Innovation Norway on Facebook or LinkedIn.
The EEA Programme on Business Development and Innovation in Greece launched an open call for project proposals on blue growth. The call was open for Greek companies who could apply for funding together with a partner from Norway and/or Iceland.
There is also funding available across the 11 countries for initiatives that prepare the grounds for future cooperation, including feasibility studies, matchmaking and meetings with partners from other countries. This website presents the calls available for businesses: Calls for proposals (innovasjonnorge.no).