It’s that time of the year the snow falls, temperature drops and we all try to look graceful as we slip over on the ice. Yes, winter has arrived at Technoport Towers here in Trondheim, which means the end of the year is nigh.
We’ll be looking forward to 2015 in future posts (including one helping you to make entrepreneurial resolutions for the New Year!) but for now, here’s a recap on all the amazing stuff that’s happened in 2014, not just for Technoport but for the whole of Trondheim’s innovation community.
Of course, none of this would be possible without our seven wonderful members: NTNU, SINTEF, Statoil, the Municipality of Trondheim, the county authority of Sør-Trøndelag, Innovation Norway, and Sparebank 1 SMN. Thanks also to our partners: Transnova, Enova, The county authority of Nord-Trøndelag, and Kjeldsberg Eiendom.
With preparations for our Live Crowdfunding Experiment in full swing, we went crowdfunding crazy on the blog, with articles on the tax implications, frequently asked questions, and a look at success stories such as 3Doodler.
“Whether crowdfunding income is taxable to the recipient depends not on the type of financing, but on the purpose of financing,” explained Ståle Lorås, Partner at BDO.
We tested out our new Share the Problem crowdsourcing concept with a pilot project involving Statoil.
“There is definitely is a business opportunity here, just waiting for the right solvers. If someone can provide Statoil with a simple device with wireless transmission of a few essential metrics, which transform the huge amount of data in a user friendly way into a environmental desition tool for operators, they could sell a lot of devices” – Gøril Forbord, Technoport CEO
Meanwhile down in Oslo, Trondheim startups took home the honours from the high-profile pitching competition at By:larm Interactive.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak visited our friends at Spark NTNU and Start NTNU, speaking to 500 students about Apple’s beginnings and giving advice to the next generation of innovators. The event attracted the attention of the national media.
The main event! Technoport 2014 gathered hundreds of entrepreneurs, innovators, researchers and investors together to meet and share best practices and ideas. David Rowan, editor of WIRED UK, revealed some of the “future” technologies that are already with us, such as OMsignal’s biometric-tracking technology and the DNA-hackers of BioCurious.
We were privileged to be joined by Keri Damen, all the way from Toronto, Canada. She is Director of Entrepreneurship Programs at the MaRS Discovery District and spoke about the similarities between Norway and Canada. Skype’s Jonas Kjellberg talked about focusing on your millions of potential customers, not marketing strategies, with this simple yet powerful statement: “There are many marketing professors, but very few sales professors.”
Pär Almqvist, Chief Marketing Officer at OMC Power, described how his company builds small-scale power plants with renewable sources where there is no reliable power grid today, mainly in one district of India where some of the country’s poorest people live. Evocative images and hard-hitting stats showed the positive impact of OMC’s work, but also the sheer amount of people out there who need solutions like this. Leila Janah told the story of her company Samasource. It’s outsourcing with a twist – as Samasource create thousands of “micro-work” tasks from major corporate projects, and assign them to individuals in places like Uganda, Ghana and Haiti that are trained to do those jobs.
And of course, last but not least, the headline-grabbing Live Crowdfunding Experiment, where local startup Assistep raised almost 600,000kr.
We said goodbye to our wonderful trio of Brits: Farah, Megan and Rob. They did a terrific job preparing for the conference aswell as giving us an international perspective on many issues here on the blog. Rob published a post about his lessons learned working on the Share the Problem concept.
We also said goodbye to Aurora and Andreas, our student leaders who worked tirelessly to spread the Technoport message throughout the year, and welcomed Jonas and Thomas on board.
Down in Oslo, people and startups from Trondheim won four prizes at the Nordic Startup Awards.
With the conference done and dusted, attention turned to reflection and looking at how we can do more to build Trondheim’s entrepreneurial scene. Representatives from Leiv Eiriksson Nyskaping, the NTNU Technology Transfer Office, Entreprenørskolen, DIGS and other interested parties gathered for a Technoport workshop on the high seas!
“It’s about not only lowering the barriers for the currently employed, but lowering the barriers for anyone who wants to become an entrepreneur. We mean psychological barriers as well as money. We can’t have too many people working on lowering these barriers.” – Gøril Forbord, Technoport CEO
Trondheim’s fledgling maker scene took off in the biggest possible way with a featured Maker Faire on the city’s main square. During the Maker Faire, Technoport helped to organise a breakfast meeting with Hugh Forrest, director of SXSWi, who described how the festival has put Austin, Texas, on the innovation map.
Elsewhere, news curation website TrondheimTech was launched, while we welcomed new students to Trondheim by introducing them to the must-have apps for living in Trondheim.
Innovation Norway supported and helped to organise Emax Norge in Lillehammer, an initiative designed to inspire young people into entrepreneurship. Technoport was invited to check out the event, where the winning team of the business simulation game won a trip to the Innovation Norway environment in China.
Our Share the Problem concept continued with Transnova asking how we can reduce the number of cars on the roads and increase public transport usage in Norwegian cities by 2040.
Trondheim hit the headlines as NTNU researchers May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser shared the 2014 Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine with John O’Keefe. The prize was awarded for work identifying the cells that make up the positioning system in the brain.
Thoughts turned to next year as we announced the first three speakers for Technoport 2015: Samantha Quist, Martin Kupp and Tobias Stone.
A new technology to drive better online discussions won Startup Weekend Trondheim, an event made possible by Technoport through our sponsorship, while we also helped our friends at NxtMedia to manage the NxtMedia Conference exploring innovative future media models.
As a follow-up from the summer workshop, Technoport helped to organise Tech, Hugs & Rock n Roll – a party at DIGS for Trondheim’s entrepreneurial community, intended to facilitate networking, and also fun!
Anita Krohn Traaseth, the new CEO of Innovation Norway, spoke openly and honestly to us about the challenges and opportunities for Norway in the future.
The full program for Technoport 2015 was released and Early Bird tickets were snapped up by those keen to secure their seat at Trondheim’s innovation meeting place in March. Early Bird tickets are still available, but be sure to buy your ticket before the end of the year to save 1,000kr.
Instead of giving gifts to their employees, NTNU spent the money to record this terrific Christmas video here in Trondheim’s Nidaros Cathedral:
It’s been quite a year. Thanks to you – our members, partners, supporters and readers of the Technoport Playground – for helping to achieve all of the above.
What’s in store for 2015? Watch this space and find out. Better still, make it happen!