NEW PRODUCTS AND SERVICES: Director Asbjørn Lilletun and Marketing Manager Therese Lein at Norinnova have specially designed office space at the Siva Innovation Center in Breivika. The space is designed to enable many companies and entrepreneurs to meet and to facilitate networking.  

NEW PRODUCTS AND SERVICES: Director Asbjørn Lilletun and Marketing Manager Therese Lein at Norinnova have specially designed office space at the Siva Innovation Center in Breivika. Here, many companies and entrepreneurs will meet and it will be easy to create a larger network.  

They help northern Norwegian research become big business: “We create a lot of jobs here

They walk in the door of Norinnova as entrepreneurs or researchers. There, they receive crucial help to successfully develop a growth company and turn their idea into reality. Cancer medicine, a super microscope and mobile platform games have been created from the Tromsø premises – and Norinnova is helping the companies towards global success.

The premises of the Siva Innovation Center – formerly known as the Research Park – are home to large office spaces where important knowledge is developed into new, and sometimes vital, products.

Siva Innovation Center is operated by Norinnova. It is an innovation company in Northern Norway that works with business development and helps researchers and entrepreneurs to develop their ideas into products with international potential.  

 – We exist to refine research and be a tool for developing growth companies that create jobs in the region,” says Asbjørn Lilletun, Director of Norinnova.

From the premises of the Siva Innovation Center, Norinnova has helped around 300 companies, which in turn have created around 1,000 jobs. Companies in everything from medicine to satellite communications have been started in Tromsø.

– Some of the 1,000 jobs have probably disappeared, but we have helped create jobs in more places than just Tromsø. For example, the company Ayanda has had up to 200 employees with factories in Andenes and elsewhere in the world, so what we do has ripple effects in several places,” says Lilletun.

Norinnova is one of a total of 33 Siva incubators in Norway, which means that the companies affiliated with the incubator also have access to Siva’s large national network.

Siva Innovation Center in Breivika now has office space available for rent for all types of businesses.

Medicine that saves lives

Norinnova closely monitors research from the university and whether there is anything that can be further developed into new products. One of the companies that they are proud to have helped develop is Prohylix Pharma, which was started from the research of Bjørn Skogen and UiT rector Anne Husebekk, among others.

– They have developed a method to prevent the rare and life-threatening bleeding disorder FNAIT, which affects newborns. Now, the commercial rights to the treatment developed by the Tromsø company have just been sold to a US company and it is expected that in a few years’ time they will be able to offer prevention of this disease, which affects the lives of families all over the world. It’s an example of how our work to help companies grow is very rewarding and meaningful work,” says Lilletun.

Has raised 1 billion

The companies that come to Norinnova get help with everything they need to grow as a business. Researchers often have a lot of knowledge about a specific field, while Norinnova has extensive experience of the decisive factors related to the start-up and development of companies.

– We are a carefully assembled team of 20 people and we need to be able to help in many different phases. We need to be able to understand a researcher and the detailed work they do. We have companies that work with molecules or enzymes and we need to understand how we can take this knowledge further. Our goal is to bring it to the market, and to do that we need to understand the market and what it takes to get there,” Lilletun explains and continues:

GOOD HELP: From the premises at Siva Innovation Center, Norinnova has helped around 300 companies.  

GOOD HELP: From the premises at Siva Innovation Center, Norinnova has helped around 300 companies.  

–  We also need to raise money to develop both the product and the company. We have extensive experience in obtaining public funding, but we have also built up a network of private investors. In total, more than NOK 1 billion has been invested in companies originating from Norinnova. Our ability to raise money is one of the main reasons why our customers want to work with us,” says Lilletun.

From one man to a global company

Among the 300 companies that have been started up at the Siva Innovation Center, Norinnova has helped some to become big.

– Tromsø-based Dualog has developed into a global company that delivers solutions for communication between land and sea. It all started with an idea of how to transfer catch data from fishing boats to shore and an ambition to succeed internationally. Now Dualog has become a company that operates all over the world, but still with ambitions for further growth,” says Lilletun.

Companies wishing to rent premises at Siva Innovation Center can find contact information at the bottom of this article.

In recent months, two Tromsø companies have entered a particularly exciting phase. Pazzing is developing a new type of mobile game – a mix between Escape Rooms and Pokémon Go – where users have to solve puzzles while out and about. The company has just been through an investor round where they have raised several investors and three million in capital and will be hiring more people.

Keenious is another company originating from Norinnova, which has developed a completely new method where they use a search engine and analyze text so that students and researchers can more easily find relevant articles. They recently received NOK 21 million in an innovation contract and are now increasing from two to nine employees.

– For 30 years, Norinnova has worked to help promising start-up companies grow and create new innovative jobs in the region. It’s fantastic to see when they succeed,” says Lilletun.

Helping each other

Each year, Norinnova helps between 25 and 30 start-ups realize their global ambitions. Several of these share an office with Norinnova at the Siva Innovation Center. The new office space is specially designed for a social environment where it’s easy to meet.

– We want everyone who works here to interact with each other and the threshold for benefiting from each other’s experiences to be low. We have a shared dining room and eat lunch together. It’s a great place to be to make contacts and learn from each other,” says Lilletun.