The High North Young Entrepreneur contest is an international pitch competition of Arctic-related business ideas of young entrepreneurs and start-ups. The goal of the contest is to promote the potential and opportunities of the High North for young people and to encourage them to develop their business ideas for the sustainable North.

High North Young Entrepreneur logo

The contest final event is a part of the program of the annual High North Dialogue conference in Bodø, Norway. The award for 2024 is handed out during the High North Dialogue Conference in Bodø as a part of the Arctic Congress Bodø 2024.

At the final session, three finalists have an opportunity to pitch their business ideas to the conference participants on site to win NOK 50 000 funding for their business.

Contest background

The idea of the contest came after the High North Dialogue conference in 2017 when the prominent investor Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners received the High North Hero Award, in recognition of his efforts to highlight the economic potential of the Arctic by promoting long-term investment in the region. Scott Minerd donated the award money to support young entrepreneurs and their business ideas. Accordingly, Nord University Business School in cooperation with Bodø Science Park launched the High North Young Entrepreneur contest for young entrepreneurs and start-ups from all over the world.

The first contest took place in 2018 during the High North Dialogue conference session where three young entrepreneur groups presented their Arctic business ideas to an audience of prominent experts with competence in High North issues. The final session was recognized as an important part of the conference, and we, therefore, decided to continue with the High North Young Entrepreneur contest for the years to come.

From 2018, Innovation Norway Nordland supports the High North Young Entrepreneur initiative including the funding of the prize for the winner in the amount of NOK 50 000.

You can  apply if:

  • You have an individual start-up or you are a part of a company
  • Even just with a good start-up idea as individual (registered company is not required)
  • You or your company can be located in any country and sphere and your idea is focused and related to the Arctic
    • All projects from Northern area are eligible
    • Projects from areas outside the Arctic need to show relevance to the Arctic
  • The company is not older than five years of the start-up date
  • The applicant can be the idea generator or the one who will execute the idea in practice or any other person, related to the idea
  • The applicant’s age is up to 40 years old

We especially encourage projects from Bioeconomy, clean energy, health and welfare, ocean, smart society, creative industries, tourism, and the green shift areas.

Key Evaluation Critera

  • Relevance to the North
  • Quality of the project application and business plan elements
  • The inovativeness / originality of the idea

Try to tell us why your idea is unique, important, and doable.

How to Apply?

  • You can apply via the application form here
  • Please, follow the prescribed limitation in characters, given in the application form
  • You are allowed to send one attachment, which can contain the elements of a business plan, including marketing plan and financial aspects
Deadline for nomination is April, 20.2024, 12.00 CET

What is next?

The international jury of experts in business and innovation will evaluate your application. Three best applicants will be invited to Bodø, to present their ideas at the at the contest final session in Bodø, Norway at the Arctic Congress 2024 on 31st of May. Travel costs in connection to travel to Bodø will be covered for the selected finalists.

During the final session in Bodø, three entrepreneurs will pitch their business ideas to compete for first place. The High North Dialogue conference participants will vote for the best project in real-time, and the winner will be announced at the conference dinner the same day. The prize for the winning idea is a check for 50 000 Norwegian crones. All finalists will receive diplomas for participation.


The High North Young Entrepreneur Jury 2023 consisted of the following experts:

  • Marius Fagerli, Innovation Norway Nordland, Norway
  • Lisbeth Bjerva, Business Developer, Innovation Nord, Norway
  • Sheila Downer, Vice-President Northern Community Engagement, UArctic, Canada
  • Michael Carey, UArtic Entrepreneurial Fund, USA
  • Mads Qvist Frederiksen, Execuctive Director, Arctic Economic Forum
  • Maiken Nilsen Stensaker, project leader at Engage SFU, Nord University, Norway
  • Alexandra Middleton, University of Oulu, Finland
  • Elena Zhurova Sæather, Ph.d. / Researcher at High North Center / Nord University Business School, Norway
  • Frode Mellemvik, Director, High North Center, Nord University Business School, Norway
  • Maja Wolland Blomberg, PhD Researcher, High North Center, Nord University Business School, Norway
  • Kazakov Andrey, Advisor, High North Center, Nord University Business School, Norway

Previous winners

  • 2023 –  Norwegian Eagle AI, Bodø, Norway
  • 2022 – Wai Genetics, Tromsø, Norway
  • 2020 – Arctic Biotech Oath, Alaska, US
  • 2019 – 60 Hertz, Alaska, US
  • 2018 – The Growcer, Canada

More information

Please contact Elena Zhurova Sæther,  HNYE coordinator at the High North Center.