Join us at the High North Young Entrepreneur contest

High North Young Entrepreneur contest is an international pitch competition of Arctic-related business ideas of young entrepreneurs and start-ups. The overall goal for the contest is to bring attention to the economic potential and special needs of the High North areas and to encourage young people to develop their business ideas. The contest final is a part of the program of the annual High North Dialogue conference in Bodø. At the final session, three start-ups have an opportunity to pitch their business ideas to 350 conference participants – Arctic experts, and to win financial funding for their business:
A check for 50 000 NOK.

The contest background

The idea of the contest came after the High North Dialogue conference 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 a fund 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 final took place in 2018 during the High North Dialogue conference session where three young entrepreneur groups presented their Arctic business ideas to an auditory of experts 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 High North Young Entrepreneur initiative including the funding of the prize for a winner in the amount of NOK 50 000.

Who can  apply?

Companies and individual entrepreneurs from any country and sphere are eligible to apply; however, start-up owners or/and a business idea has somehow to be related to the circumpolar North. It may be an individual start-up or a company registered and operating in the Arctic area, for example, Arkhangelsk, Bodø, Anchorage. It may be a business idea connected to the Arctic in spite of the start-up being located in Oslo, Moscow, or Paris. As the contest focuses on start-ups and fresh business ideas, the company must not be older than three years of the start-up date. Age of the applicant – up to 40 years old.

We especially encourage, but not limit projects to the areas as follows: Bioeconomy, Clean Energy, Health and welfare, Ocean, Smart society, Creative industries, and tourism.

The following information is required to complete your application:

Organizational name and contact information.

A short text in maximum three pages explaining the business idea. The application should contain the elements of a business plan, including a marketing plan, financial aspects, etc. Please tell us why your idea is unique, important, and doable.

Submit your application to elena.z.saether@nord.no 

The nomination period closes March 10, 2022.

What is next?

The international committee consisting of experts from the areas of business and innovations will decide on three companies who will be invited to Bodø to present their ideas at the High North Dialogue conference on April 6, 2022. Three criteria will be considered: relation to the North, quality of the project application and presented business plan, uniqueness/originality of the project idea. Travel costs in connection to travel to Bodø will be covered for the finalists selected.

During the final session in Bodø, three entrepreneurs will pitch for three minutes each to compete for the first place. The High North Dialogue conference participants will vote for the best project via Kahoot tool in real-time, and the winner will be announced straight away during the final session. The prize for first place is a check for 50 000 Norwegian krones.

The High North Young Entrepreneur Jury consisted of the experts as follows:

Bjørg Helene Jensen, Innovation Norway, Nordland,

Marianne Arntzen-Nordqvist, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research Group, Nord University Business School,

Maiken Nilsen Stensaker, project leader at Engage SFU, Nord University,

Vitaly Akimov, Northern Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Murmansk Region, Russia

Alexandra Middleton, University of Oulu, Finland.

Elena Zhurova Sæather, Ph.d. / Adviser at High North Center / Nord University Business School, Norway

Previous winners:

2020 – Arctic Biotech Oath, Alaska, US

2019 – 60 Hertz, Alaska, US

2018 – The Growcer, Canada

Any questions?

Do not hesitate to reach out to me, adviser at High North Center Elena Zhurova Sæther: elena.z.saether@nord.no.