County Governor: "To succeed, we need to attract international capital"

3 Minutes Read

Last year, the Vestfold and Telemark county established Invest in Vestfold & Telemark to contribute to increased value creation in the region. Now, they celebrate one year and can show good results.

Invest in Vestfold & Telemark was established with the aim of contributing to increased value creation, green transformation, and new industries and jobs in the county. The initiative works to highlight the region's strengths to national and international investors and businesses. They mark the initiative's one-year anniversary during Industriuka in May.

"To succeed with a green transformation and at the same time create more jobs in the region, we must be visible and competitive in the fight for international capital," says County Governor Terje Riis-Johansen.

Christian Jahren, from Tønsberg, is the Head of Department. He comes from the private sector and has worked with international sales and marketing and startups, among other things.

"The past year has been a learning experience and incredibly fun! It is fantastic to meet and get to know a business community that is as exciting and offensive as the one we have here in our region," says Christian Jahren. "I have been met with an open door and great engagement from academia, business clusters, and all partners, including the region's many business-friendly municipalities.


Must win the battle for international capital

County Governor Terje Riis-Johansen is clear that Jahren is leading important work.

"To succeed with the green transformation and create more jobs in the region, we must be visible and competitive in the fight for international capital. We must attract investments and expertise outside the county and national borders.

Invest in Vestfold & Telemark functions as a professional reception center for the region and guides relevant entrepreneurs to the municipalities and business areas that best suit their needs. This increases the likelihood of establishment.

This work benefits the entire business community and all municipalities in the region.


High activity in the establishment year

"Invest in Vestfold & Telemark's work has already generated several cases that have led to concrete establishment decisions and new jobs for the county, and I am proud of that," says Jahren.

Up to the beginning of the second quarter of this year, Invest in Vestfold & Telemark has been involved in nearly 50 establishment cases, where about 10 are considered to have an investment potential (CAPEX) of over NOK 1 billion each.

"These are companies that hold their cards close, but I can reveal that they vary in type of business, from large-scale carbon storage, bio-refineries, and solar cell factories to smaller and larger data center establishments" 

"It's fun to see that the initiative has already yielded results," says Riis-Johansen, adding that the response from entrepreneurs and partners has been entirely positive.


Must highlight the region's advantages

According to Jahren, Vestfold and Telemark have many strong advantages in the fight for investors and entrepreneurs.

"The industry in Grenland is the spearhead of the region, with professional communities, innovations, and efforts for the green shift that are known worldwide. The Industry Week as an arena, where actors from the entire region are gathered, is a symbol of an innovative business in world-class and underpins that our region has all the prerequisites for successful establishments and profitable operations.

But it is not only industrial companies that have good reasons to choose the county as a location.

"We are fortunate to have such a varied and differentiated business community in the region, which means that we have business areas, value chains, and expertise that are attractive to many different entrepreneurs"

While many industrial companies are targeting Grenland, for example, Horten has a very exciting technology environment, Sandefjord, Tønsberg and Holmestrand are strong in logistics, Kragerø in pharma, and upper Telemark in timber processing.


A knowledge-sharing culture out of the ordinary

"Invest in Vestfold & Telemark" "pilots" you towards a successful establishment and future profitable operation. The structural aspect is crucial. If you are going to succeed over time, networks and good partners are crucial. And there, I think we are good in our county. Our clusters and networks have a sharing culture and openness that is out of the ordinary, regardless of whether it is a small start-up company or a large multinational industrial conglomerate," Jahren says.

Jahren adds that it is also important not to forget the competence in the region.

"The skilled worker is strong in our region, and we usually say that "shift work is in our DNA." At the other end of the scale, we have many with a doctoral degree. And for many companies, you are completely dependent on the breadth of expertise to succeed"


Bilde 4 Kristin Saga_NHO: - We need a business friendly public sector

Kristin Saga, head of NHO Vestfold and Telemark, believes that the "Invest-in" initiative is wise. She points out that in NHO's roadmap for the future of the labor market, "Next Move," emphasizes the importance of creating new jobs in the private sector to ensure future value creation and welfare. Jobs must be created both within existing companies and newly established businesses, and it is important for Vestfold and Telemark to attract more businesses and increased investment.

"We have every opportunity to take a position in value chains within green industry, digitization, service industries, and international trade, and we already have many exciting businesses and environments that are developing solutions for a more sustainable future. They need to have a business offensive public sector on their team, and Invest in Vestfold & Telemark is an important player in securing investments and new establishments - and helping businesses succeed - in our region," Saga says.