Green light for new Nordic incubator in New York

14.02.17 | News
Frukt og grønt og taxi i New York
Silje Bergum Kinsten/
This spring, the five Nordic countries are opening Nordic Innovation House on Manhattan. The project, which is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, will help the most promising and ambitious Nordic startups access the American market.

Building on the success of the Nordic Innovation House in Silicon Valley, which has turned into an important platform for Nordic startups on the West Coast, government agencies from all five Nordic nations have joined forces to open the soft-landing incubator Nordic Innovation House in New York City.

The East Coast incubator is financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers via Nordic Innovation in Oslo.

Dagfinn Høybråten, the Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, is delighted to see Nordic co-operation lead to such real-life initiatives to help companies penetrate markets abroad and boost sustainable growth in the Nordic Region.

“I am very happy that we are strengthening Nordic business co-operation with the Nordic Innovation House in New York City. It is an important step towards ensuring that Nordic startups can get the best possibilities for access and success in USA. By building a solid common Nordic platform for entrepreneurs and startups, new doors open for closer co-operation and not at least an incredible opportunity for the Nordic countries to grow stronger together,” says Mr. Høybråten.

Help for the most promising

The Nordic Innovation House aims to start operations bit by bit in early spring 2017, and reach full service capacity by the autumn. Initially a three-year pilot project, the intention is that the incubator will become self-sustaining.

A ‘Program Director’ will be recruited to take charge of the day-to-day running of the House.

By providing a co-working office space and access to legal advice and help with accounting, tax and work permits, the Nordic Innovation Hub is an attempt to give the most promising Nordic companies a soft landing on the US East Coast.

Providing them with a solid Nordic platform will make it easier for entrepreneurs and startups to work together and, not least, will provide an incredible opportunity for the Nordic countries to grow stronger together.

The Nordic Innovation House on Manhattan will start off with ten desks, two per country, and a flexible plan to use each other’s desks when they are not occupied.

The selection criteria for companies will be the same in all five countries. They will nominate their ‘own’ companies and conduct their own selection process, before a working party and the programme manager grants final approval.

“Good example of Nordic co-operation”

The startup ecosystem in NYC is a bit different from Silicon Valley, and the incubator will provide opportunities for greater a diversity of Nordic startups.

 “This is a good example of Nordic co-operation in practice! I've been to New York myself and experienced its culture of entrepreneurship through the meetings I’ve had with entrepreneurs and startups there”, says Ms. Monica Mæland, Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, who thinks the incubator will be welcomed by ambitious Nordic entrepreneurs

Norway holds the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers 2017.

 “A Nordic innovation house will help pave the way for Norwegian startups, both established ones and those with high ambitions. Small Norwegian communities can reap great benefits by co-operating with their Nordic colleagues when entering the big American market", she adds.

Nordic Innovation House in New York, a strong Nordic initiative:

Innovation Norway is coordinating the project in partnership with the Consulate General of Norway and NACC (Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce). The project partners are:

  • The Swedish Consulate General in partnership with Business Sweden and Team Sweden
  • Innovation Center Denmark
  • The Finnish Consulate General in partnership with Team Finland (Finpro and Tekes)
  • Innovation Center Iceland in partnership with the Consulate General of Iceland and Promote Iceland