The NTNU-based start-up company Kelpinor has been awarded one million NOK, after winning the “People’s Prize” and the “Jury’s Innovation Prize” during the accelerator program Arctic Ignite, under the auspices of Norinnova. Ten other entrepreneurial companies from Northern Norway also took part in the competition, and the development grants were awarded on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
By William Husby Hoven
Artic Ignite is a yearly accelerator program located in Tromsø, Norway. The event is held under the aegis of Norinnova, in collaboration with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Every year ten lucky start-ups are selected to take part in the program, where each participating start-up receives NOK 100.000 in starting capital for the development of their business idea. At the end of the program three start-ups receive development grants of half a million NOK each, based on the companies’ pitches on stage. In addition, the participating start-ups can be awarded the “People’s Prize”, consisting of another NOK 500.000.
Nowadays, raising capital might be difficult for young entrepreneurs with a business idea in Northern Norway, a challenge Arctic Ignite tries to address. Their mission is to facilitate for more start-ups being able to develop their business ideas in Northern Norway, reaching out to young, talented entrepreneurs based in the region. As part of the accelerator programme, the carefully selected participants are given an opportunity to attend two different gatherings, encountering a panel of experts fully focused on their ideas. Furthermore, they get access to relevant networks and are given an opportunity to present their ideas in front of a jury during the final event.
Kelpinor is a marine technology start-up originating from NTNU, focusing on kelp farming for the future. They have developed a cultivation technology that reduces costs of kelp production by up to 40%, in comparison with current methods. The company has ambitions to grow 10,000 tonnes of kelp by 2027, which is 10 times the current total production in Norway. On their journey towards achieving this goal the company starts production of kelp in January 2023, after Kelpinor’s first production plant is launched in the sea outside of Sandhornøy in Gildeskål in November this year. This plant has the size of 8 football pitches, and 10 tonnes of kelp will be harvested during the summer of 2023. The funds from Arctic Ignite will play a very important role in enabling them to achieve their goals in the years to come.
The jury was greatly impressed by Kelpinors’ pitch on stage, and awarded them the “Jury’s Innovation Prize” of half a million NOK. And as if that wasn’t enough, they managed to win the “People’s Prize” as well – a prize consisting of another half a million NOK, decided exclusively by the public. We would like to express our deepest congratulations to Kelpinor, and cannot wait to follow their journey in the time to come!