Eirik Gjelsvik Medbø

Eirik Medbø is one of the mentor entrepreneurs at Spark NTNU, co-founder of the assistive device company AssiStep and a recent graduate from NTNU. Eirik also works part-time for Technoport.

NTNU Success Stories
3Eirik Gjelsvik Medbø

Eirik Gjelsvik MedbøFebruary 7, 2014

From NTNU to the World – Entrepreneurs Reveal All

Last month Technoport kicked off the semester for the cooperating villages in Experts in Teamwork, with inspirational talks from three young entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs shared how they have built up companies or organisations, starting as students or recent graduates, and what they have learned from that experience. The feedback from the audience after the talks was really good, so we thought we would share two of the talks with you.

Dynamic Rock Support

Gisle Østereng started and headed one of the most successful companies from NTNU to date, Dynamic Rock Support. He began the work having only a few years of experience after he finished his NTNU studies, when he met a professor at NTNU who had developed a new, more solid rock bolt for the mining industry.

Gisle shares how he and his colleagues, after a few difficult years, “cracked the code” and became the fastest­growing company in Mid­Norway in 2012. He talks about how they got investors, how they initially tried to sell the bolt, and the fact that “you don’t have to be smart to become an entrepreneur”, as he puts it. He also surprises by emphasizing that it was their least experienced salesmen who got the best results.

Engineers Without Borders

When Line Magnussen did a field trip to Bangladesh during her Developing studies at the University of Oslo, she discovered the need for small technical solutions to simplify the lives in developing countries. She then decided to study mechanical engineering at NTNU, with the long­term goal to develop a stove to be used in developing countries, and then start a Norwegian department of Engineers Without Borders. Along with several others, she managed to start Engineers Without Borders in Norway in 2011, but somewhat ironically, she still hasn’t developed the stove!

In this talk, Line tells the story of how this plan played out, and what she has learned from starting a national humanitarian organization for engineers. She explains how her passion for the cause more than compensated for her lack of experience as a student, and the importance of talking about your goals and dreams when you try to get attention and help from others.

Do you have any feedback or questions? Don’t hesitate to comment below!

Photo credit: NTNU Engineering

Photo: Lillian Eidem, from “Eksperter i team”, NTNU 2013.
3Eirik Gjelsvik Medbø

Eirik Gjelsvik MedbøOctober 24, 2013

Experts in Teamwork – the melting pot of NTNU

The key to make even better solutions for the future, is to make people with different skillsets join forces. The course “Experts in Teamwork” lets master students from all disciplines at NTNU learn about interdisciplinary teamwork and collaborate to create innovative solutions to the big questions of our time.

As Annette wrote in an earlier blog post, sourcing ideas from people with different backgrounds is seen as an important way to make better solutions for the future. With more points of view in problem-solving, solutions can emerge that are more well-adapted to all stakeholders, and good solutions can spread across traditional disciplines.

NTNU has since 2001 let master-level students from all disciplines cooperate to find new solutions in the mandatory course Experts in Teamwork (EiT). Groups of around 5 students from different areas work with a self-defined group project from real-life problems within different areas. After half a year, each groups delivers both their proposed solution within the area, as well as a report of reflections on the dynamics of the teamwork.

The benefits for the students are two-fold; firstly, it gives experience in collaborating with others with widely different perspectives, opinions and skillsets. Secondly, it gives the opportunity to work with real-life problems, and see how their skills can be successfully employed in practice. Experts in Teamwork acts as the “melting pot” of the university, both giving good proposals for new solutions, as well as preparing the students for the increasing use of collaboration and teamwork in the industry.

For the third year in a row, Technoport collaborates with a set of EiT villages (classes) to add another dimension to the cours. Technoport will work to help groups focus even more on innovation, and inspire to put in the extra effort to make truly great solutions come to life. If you’re a student planning to do the EiT course in the spring of 2014 and want to work with the big questions of our time, consider applying for one of these villages, all collaborating with Technoport;

  • CO2 capture
  • Sustainable affordable housing for all
  • Rent drikkevann
  • Folkehelsa
  • Smart Grid
  • Havenergi
  • Smart energibruk
  • Waterworld
  • Forvaltning og bevaring av økosystemtjenester og biomangfold
  • Miljøpåvirkning og helse
  • Verdiskaping og samfunnsansvar

And finally, check out the video we made from last year’s Technoport Students campaign, in collaboration with EiT

3Eirik Gjelsvik Medbø

Eirik Gjelsvik MedbøOctober 1, 2013

Sparking student innovation

“A little less conversation, a little more action please”. Elvis Presley probably didn’t write the song intending to describe innovation, but he actually sums it up quite well; innovation needs action! Spark is a new initiative at NTNU aiming to help students take action and be innovators and entrepreneurs themselves.

What do you do when you think you have a good idea? How do you begin? What should you say, or can you say anything at all? How can you develop your idea? These are questions that often remain unanswered, stopping creative students from exploring their ideas and being obstacles toward innovation. Employees at NTNU can get help answering them using the Technology Transfer Office (TTO), whereas students haven’t had that opportunity. Until now.

Spark was created in cooperation between NTNU and TrønderEnergi, and has one main goal: to nurture and help students who think they have a good idea, to actually do something about it. Spark employs students having started companies themselves, as mentors for students with an idea, to help sort out where to begin and what path to take. Also, the initiative can help by providing that small amount of cash that is often needed in the nascent stage, to make the first prototype or get meetings with potential customers. All mentors are hired by NTNU and have signed a confidentiality agreement with NTNU, so they cannot say anything about the idea to anyone unless the student wants them to.

Spark was soft-launched this September, and it has already gotten a massive feedback from students with ideas. The number of students contacting Spark every week since the softlaunch has shown that the initiative, being unique in Norway, actually answers to a real problem. We have people coming to us wanting to make various types of initiatives, from board games, via apps, to new organisations for different purposes.


Photo by: Start NTNU


So, why should you become an entrepreneur already before you graduate? There are many possible answers to that question, but some of them are:
● It’s some of the best experience you can have applying for a job later on, or you could actually create your own job.
● If you ever want to do it, now is the time where almost no-one else depends on you, and you even get a student loan and scholarship so you don’t have to work. When you have a mortgage, family, spouse and a paid job, you will find it much harder to try. Do it now.
● The university is an unlimited source of good knowledge in a wide range of areas, and as an interested student, you can harvest it for free. Scientific employees are less “threatened”, or afraid to seem stupid, when speaking to young students, and will more
easily share both what they know and what they think they know.
● The younger you are, the more innovative you are. A study from the University of Texas and the University of Massachusetts shows that freshmen are more innovative than graduates, as they think more “outside the box”.
● You are tired with school and want to use your abilities to something that actually creates value, rather than writing reports or exercises trying to find predetermined answers.

So if you have a halfway good idea, you can now come to us in Spark and talk about it, and we will help you find the next steps to maybe make it happen. Maybe you will make the next Fun Run, Fast, Chipcon or Atmel? Or, do you want to help us make Spark even better? Contact us at kontakt@sparkntnu.no

Photo by: Anne-Lise Aakervik