Outside the office building in Kristiansand that will house smart people with good ideas. From left: Sven Eidjord (Lumber AS), Kamilla Sharma (Innoventus Sør), Fabian Aaberg (Innoventus Sør), Aud Skeie (Skeie Group), Christian Strat (Innoventus Sør), Dag Nordbø (National Oilwell Varco Norway), Anne-Grete Ellingsen (GCE NODE), Bjarne Skeie (Skeie Group), Tore Askildsen (Vest-Agder County), Kenneth Andresen (Vest-Agder County), Carl Dversnes (Sparebanken Sør), Tom Fidjeland (Cameron), Andreas Eriksen (DNB) and Per Ivar Moen (Skeie Property). Photo: Kjell Inge Søreide

Oil entrepreneur Bjarne Skeie and GCE NODE are behind a new initiative for supporting smart people with great ideas.

“This will be a house for innovation! Some of those who move in here may have just lost their jobs in the oil sector, but this is a house for anyone with a good idea”, says Kamilla Sharma.

She is the managing director of the innovation company Innoventus Sør, which is responsible for the greenhouse, formally defined as a pre-incubator.

The initiative for the greenhouse, with approximately 1,200 square meters of office space, comes from oil entrepreneur Bjarne Skeie and technology cluster GCE NODE. The idea is backed by the largest industrial companies and banks in southern Norway, in addition to Vest-Agder County and Kristiansand Municipality.

“We cannot sit idly by and watch as companies let talented people go. We must try to keep the expertise in the region. Some of those who are now laid off have ideas we should help develop and grow. This is a house for competent people with great ideas. We will provide them with professional and practical support and connect them to funding sources that will help them create new jobs in our region”, says Bjarne Skeie, serial entrepreneur in the oil & gas industry.

SUPPORT FROM PUBLIC SECTOR
Both Vest-Agder County and Kristiansand Municipality support the initiative.

“Many businesses in our region are facing great challenges. The county will do whatever it can to help create new opportunities for those who lose their jobs. We welcome this initiative and look forward to seeing what can come out of it”, says County Mayor Terje Damman in Vest-Agder.

“Restructuring creates new opportunities. Many existing NODE companies were born in similar times. I welcome any initiative that creates favorable conditions for innovation, says Harald Furre, Mayor of Kristiansand.

SUPPORT FROM BANKS AND INDUSTRY
Industrial and financial partners have embraced the idea of ​​a greenhouse and contributed financially to its realization. DNB, Nordea and Sparebanken Sør support the greenhouse, as does National Oilwell Varco Norway, Skeie Technology, MHWirth and Cameron.

“We are truly sorry to say goodbye to many very talented people. If we can help and inspire some of them to invent something new, it will be good for them and good for our region. Ultimately, we’ll all benefit from it, says Managing Director Tor Henning Ramfjord at National Oilwell Varco Norway.

CEO Anne-Grete Ellingsen at GCE NODE praises both public and private partners for their contributions in a difficult time.

“I am glad to find broad support for this initiative. I look forward to seeing this house filled with innovative people who can create new products, services and jobs”, says Ellingsen.

CONTACT INNOVENTUS SØR
Proposals for new business ideas will be received online, via telephone or in meetings. It is not necessary to present a comprehensive description of the technology and market potential. Contact: innoventussor.no.

November 27th 2020

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