Midwest-Telemark cooperation continues

In Oslo and in North Dakota, ties are strengthened

Photo courtesy of Telemark Trade Office Delegates from Telemark join locals at the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the Telemark Trade Office in Minot, N.D., last October.

Photo courtesy of Telemark Trade Office
Delegates from Telemark join locals at the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the Telemark Trade Office in Minot, N.D., last October.

Rasmus Falck
Oslo, Norway

A Midwest Business Delegation made up of representatives from North Dakota and Minnesota just visited Oslo. Jason Turflinger, Managing Director at AmCham Norway, invited the group to breakfast and a round table discussion. There where short briefings on AmCham, Norway House in Minneapolis, the Commercial Section from the U.S. Embassy in Oslo, Oslo Chamber of Commerce, Oslo Medtech, and former Member of Parliament and CEO for Norway of Burson-Marsteller Morten Pettersen.

AmCham plays an important role as an arena for sharing information, networking, and public events. It is a valued partner in the government’s work on strengthening the economic ties between the U.S. and Norway. The past few years have been exciting ones for investments in the U.S. The U.S. economy is growing and companies are expanding. As of July there have been 64 straight months of job growth. Norway has ranked as the fifth-fastest-growing source of Foreign Direct Investment into the U.S. for the last few years. According to the latest figures Norway is now the 12th largest. The U.S. is Norway’s most important trade partner, after the EU.

Most of the Norwegians at the meeting came from Telemark. Telemark County Council has an ongoing activity in the Midwest to mobilize and develop potential networks there. The main business developments are in health/MedTech, environmental technology, information and communications technology (ICT), and oil and gas.

Water has powered Telemark for centuries. The county’s abundance of hydroelectric power fuels economic growth and supports a thriving cultural scene. The industrial era started in 1902 when Norsk Hydro developed artificial fertilizer, a business continued today by Yara, the global market leader. Home to the largest port in southern Norway, Telemark is an outward-looking region with customers and business partners worldwide.

Telemark’s world-class clusters of onshore and offshore industry, ICT, and clean technology and the cultural sector have joined forces with Telemark University College, research institutions, and government to pursue opportunities for interregional cooperation between Telemark and the Midwest. Telemark’s manufacturing sector is among the greenest in the world. Highly regarded research institutions and industry are working as partners in the emerging carbon capture field, and the region leads the way in offering pilot facilities and technology parks for developing green solutions and products. Scandinavia’s foremost clean technology organization, Green Business Norway, is based in Telemark.

Telemark wishes to achieve a closer collaboration between Dyrsku’n and the North Dakota State Fair in Minot, which has over 300,000 visitors. They had a stand at this year’s fair, and will also have a presence at Norsk Høstfest.

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 25, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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Rasmus Falck

Rasmus Falck is a strong innovation and entrepreneurship advocate. The author of “What do the best do better” and “The board of directors as a resource in SME,” he received his masters degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently lives in Oslo.