Yearly Oslo Innovation Week (OIW) is just around the corner, but we were able to grab Fredrik Winther, Managing Director of Oslo Business Region, the very busy man behind helping it happen for a moment to answer some questions. Fredrik tells us about the background of OIW and what’s new this year.

What is Oslo Innovation Week?

It’s a five-day series of events held each October. There are seminars and talks, pitching contest and hackathons, workshops, breakfast meetings and company crawls. You will find events of over 90 different organizers all over the city.

How many times has OIW been organized?

10 times, although it really took off the last couple of years.

How many people attended last year?

9,500  

How many people are you expecting this year?

More than 10,000.

Why was OIW created?

OIW was created to put Oslo on the international map, highlight the increased importance of acceleration over size in tech, and to showcase what Norway can teach the world. Most startups in Norway relate to real societal problems. Not just time-consuming apps.

What do you want to achieve with OIW?

To make a bigger spotlight on the Norwegian startup scene, and to show how it is booming as capital, intelligence and tech experts are rethinking their career. It really took off following the global drop in oil price.

How do you see OIW as being part of the growing startup scene in Oslo?

Everyone in the Oslo startup scene contributes. OIW is the best way to experience the startup scene both as investor and startup. I.e the OIW 100 pitches is a great opportunity to get the level of startups in Oslo right now. Either you are interested in edtech, fintech, healthtech, VR, AR, IoT, AI, blockchain, or, any-tech.  

How is this year different from the previous editions? What’s the vision for this year?

The topic this year is “Power couples”. The global economy needs a bridge between large, established companies and the startup scene. Innovation, particularly radical innovation, happens when connecting previously unconnected bodies of knowledge. By organizing workshops, debates, hackathons and crowdfundings, we are creating a meeting place where these powercouples can start to grow: Startups and corporates, people representing different fields of innovation, science and research all join forces to tackle the big problems and challenges.

Powercouples. Give your thoughts on this. Is there something happening in Norway between startups and big corporations already?

It can take many forms, and the relative lack of experienced VCs in Oslo has ignited a perfect condition for startups and corporations to cooperate. Startups get access to customers, innovation departments, R&D, experts, and international networks, and big corps get access to the speed and tech trends dominating the startup scene.

Any special parts or new additions in the program for startups you want to highlight?

Corporate Innovation Day – Meet the transformers. Best place to experience power couples in practice, and why Oslo will be the next Nordic startup hub to watch for. #TheOslomodel

What happens in the evenings in Oslo during OIW?

Oh, just the usual stuff when all the kick ass female keynote speakers (70% of all keynotes) hang out at MESH for their afterwork party…

What’s the benefit for a startup outside Norway to come and join?

Startups outside Norway will experience a much less crowded space when it comes to get attention from investors, customers, partners, experts, employees, and everything you need to grow. And of course, if they contact the organiser/ Oslo Business Region in advance, we will make sure they get on the right stages and meet a starving audience as well.
ArcticStartup is looking forward to meet many startups, investors and corporations in Oslo during October 17-21. Read more about various events during the week and sign up for them here.

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