Look to Bergen!

- Out of Norway’s five biggest university cities, Bergen is the only one missing a clearly defined profile. Should this make us worried? We do not think so. However, it is definitely a challenge we should deal with.

This is what Tor W. Andreassen (Professor at NHH), Nina Mevold (Municipal Executive of Bergen), Marit Warncke (Managing Director of Bergen Chamber of Commerce and Industry) and Anders Haugland (Managing Director of BTO) write in a chronicle in Bergens Tidende the 7th of May.

– In Tromsø they have specialized in dealing with arctic challenges, Trondheim has become the capital of technology, Stavanger is known for oil and Oslo is the capital. Bergen is more diverse, being great at shipping, culture, seafood and tourism.

The authors of the chronicle highlight that Bergen needs to choose one niche. As representatives of four great organizations in Bergen, the authors have observed that there exists a need for research-based innovation to solve future demographic challenges. Strong academic environments attract great scientists, which in turn attract excellent students. With classes and study programmes focusing on innovation, students will be encouraged to start their own companies based on their research. BTO will play an important role in helping these companies enter the market. If new jobs are created to make the competent students stay in Bergen, the saying “look to Bergen” will be made viable in academia, politics and Norwegian industry.

Bergen faces great challenges in the years to come. Luckily, the foundation for dealing with them has already been laid. With more than 30 000 students, important industries like shipping, oil and aquaculture present, and being the base of internationally known companies, Bergen has what it takes to make people think “Look to Bergen”. Bergen’s advantage is being big enough to house a conglomerate of industries and academic areas and small enough to ensure a short distance between people and environments. According to the authors, the potential for commercialization of innovation is greater than Bergen has managed to take advantage of this far. This is where BTO will play an important role in the exciting times to come.

Read the chronicle in Bergens Tidende here.