From left: Rolf-Mork Knudsen (Annerledeslandet), Björgolfur Hávardsson (NCE Seafood Innovation) and Helge Bjordal (Nagelld) have collaborated on the contest.

Aquaculture start-up contests merge

Revamped Norway programme offers more prize money and is open to entrepreneurs from abroad


Two Norwegian-run competitions designed to help innovative start-ups in the aquaculture and seafood sectors have merged into a new event open to international actors.

The Gründerjulepresangen (Entrepreneur’s Christmas Present) and the Seafood Innovation Award have joined forces to run a contest that offers more benefits to the winners. It will retain the Seafood Innovation Award name and offers a NOK 100,000 (£7,515 / US $9,538 at today’s exchange rates) prize for the winner, sponsored by banks DNB and Pareto.

There are also benefits in kind. The competition, sponsored by DNB, Pareto, and the NCE Seafood Innovation cluster, has several partner companies that offers services as prizes.

Bigger pot

“Although there may be more on the line this year, the pot will also be bigger now that the presents combine the amounts. The significant cash contribution from DNB and Pareto is reinforced by the fact that you get market advice from Annerledeslandet, 3D visualisation from Nagelld, patent advice from Acapo and design from Artgarden,” said Rolf Mork-Knudsen, who runs Annerledeslandet and is on the award jury.

“These services have a value that more than matches the cash part of the prize and is a good help on the way to what the winners actually want to do, namely sell and produce.”

The competition has a broad remit. Environmental impact, business idea, team and growth potential are factors on which the companies will be assessed.

Focused ambition

“As long as the idea has something to do with the aquaculture industry, we are interested,” said Björgólfur Hávardsson in NCE Seafood Innovation. “It is also the case that many people often have good ideas, but that it is a bit too early to accept their package.

“It is important for us to see that the final product is focused and that you know your customer group. These are start-ups we know will get the most out of the package. At the same time, it is also important that these companies have the capacity to accept what we offer.”

The committee from the Gründerjulepresangen has experienced this point before when they investigated why certain winners may not have utilised the potential of the gift package further. The answer has been that it has been too time-consuming in contrast to how much labour the winners have had available.

The application deadline for the Seafood Innovation Award is January 31 and the finalists will be invited to pitch their ideas, in English, to the jury at the North Atlantic Seafood Forum in Bergen on March 5. The prize will be awarded on March 6.

More information on the award can be found here, and companies can apply here.