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#0443: Entrepreneur to Public Servant

Gjest: Pål T. Næss

Director of Entrepreneurs and Startups of Innovation Norway

Med Vert Silvija Seres

Director of Entrepreneurs and Startups in Innovation Norway, Pål T. Næss, is our guest on this episode of #LØRN and he is elaborating on how we build entrepreneurship in Norway to succeed. Innovasjon Norge seeks to make Norwegian business and industry better. Pål was the co-founder and COO of one of Norway’s most successful startups, Optimalprint—now called Gelato. Today he is responsible for all products and services available for startups and early growth companies including financing (grants, loans, seed funds), competence programs and networks and is also in charge of the IPR services and work with the Creative Industry at Innovation Norway.

Full transcript (Available soon)

What is the most important thing you do in your job?
I have the privilege of being able to influence the ecosystem, about how the Norwegian government cooperates with entrepreneurs. I also work with competence programs and financial tools.

What are the key concepts in your technology?
The chance to influence and the opportunity to turn entrepreneurship into bureaucracy, and vice versa.

Why is this exciting?
Because I meet exciting people and companies, and I get a word in the game that is important for Norway now.

What do you think are the important controversies?
The roles of the state.

Your own favorite project?
To follow companies over time. I was the first IN advisor for Unacast, Colonial, Memory and more. And of course to follow Gelato.

Other favorite projects, nationally and internationally?
I am fascinated by the rapid changes everywhere and the skills that I am allowed to face. I am proud of the “impact” focus of Norwegian entrepreneurs, we do not have to be entrepreneurs, but we do it to change the world.

Who is your customer?
All Norwegian companies. They come to us for financing, but just as importantly, they come to us for our expertise.

What do we do especially well in Norway?
We should be proud of the shift in culture vs. startups in recent years. The ecosystem has grown dramatically across the country.

A favorite quote or life motto?
If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough by Mario Andretti.

What is the most important thought in our conversation?
That Innovation Norway is involved in so much is more than just financing.


Samle deg med en venn eller en kollega for å se om du klarer å svare på spørsmålet nedenfor.

Spørsmål:Det kan være trådt å innovere som gründer. Vil det være umotiverende og skremmende for andre nytenkere der ute med å være åpen om utfordringer, eller vil en slik kunnskap i stedet styrke til innovativ vekst i Norge?


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This is what you will learn:

Innovasjon Norge Gründerskap Skalering 
Til folk som lurer på om de skal bli gründere, pleier jeg å si: «Ta og forsøk, det verste som skje er at du får en enda bedre CV».

- Pål T. Næss

Recommended literature:
Driving Digital Strategy: A Guide to Reimagining Your Business

This is Innovation Norway

Innovation Norway is a state-owned company and a national development bank. The organization is the Norwegian Government's most important instrument for innovation and development of Norwegian enterprises and industry. They support companies in developing their competitive advantage and to enhance innovation. By financing projects and raising the competence of small and medium-sized companies with growth ambitions, Innovation Norway is helping to create the jobs of the future. They offer services within financing, consulting, expertise, networking and profiling. On a daily basis, they work with a number of different tasks, initiatives, programs and events. It is about making Norwegian business and industry better.