Spark Nord started with inspiration from Spark NTNU, and has in less than a year grown to become a mentoring service with four mentors and 14 active start-ups. The mentors are students with start-up experience who call themselves “buddies with knowledge”. “The whole point of Spark Nord is to give students with an idea, a low-threshold offer when they need guidance and help,” says leader Ole Albrekt Egeland. “We have full confidentiality and we hope that we can push the start-ups in the right direction!”
Since the beginning in February of 2019, Spark Nord has seen that there was a need for them. Now, they are working on standardizing their methods and reaching out to even more students. “We meet with our start-ups approximately every two-to-three weeks to see how they are doing and try to help them solve new problems that may have occurred,” Michal Meyer Nilssen tells passionately. He’s one of the initiative takers for Spark Nord and has been around since the beginning. “We try to challenge their thoughts around the ideas they bring in and, in that manner, we work more with the people than with their concrete ideas.”
One of the start-ups mentored by Spark Nord is Universo Gallaecia, driven by Néstor Teixeiro Garrido. As one of many entrepreneurs, Néstor is trying to help solve the environmental crisis we see in the world today. “I started my project and got a patent in Spain, but chose to come to Bodø to develop the rest of the company,” he tells. “The opportunities are great here thanks to initiatives like Spark Nord.” Néstor says that he would like to become a mentor himself one day, but he would want to learn some more Norwegian first.
As well as mentoring, Spark Nord also host events, workshops and gatherings. “We want our start-ups to know each other and feel comfortable enough with each other to be able to share experience and learn from the other teams in the group,” explains Ole Albrekt Egeland. For the year to come, Ole and the team are looking forward to have even more activities planned out for their members. “We hope the fellowship we have started here will develop further and that Spark Nord continues to grow!”
Spark Nord has four mentors, but hope to grow in the year to come. From the left: Jacob Fjellberg, Ole Albrekt Egeland, Michal Meyer Nilssen and Camilla Kjellbergvik.