Text and photo: Siri Krohn-Fagervoll
The purpose of the cooperation agreement between GBN and USN is to boost the research and development activities of the start-up businesses taking part in GBN's Accelerator programme. Through its international network, GBN picks up on opportunities and ideas to help start-up businesses operating in the circular economy get off the ground. In the Accelerator programme, GBN works closely with participating businesses to develop and commercialise their offering. This working relationship will now be taken a step further in partnership with researchers at USN.
CEO Thor Sverre Minnesjord is delighted: "Having access to a network of researchers and academic experts is a huge advantage for our Accelerator businesses. USN is the perfect partner for new projects, especially those with an EU focus."
Asked what was special about GBN compared with other start-up networks the university college is involved in, Morten Christian Melaaen from USN said: "GBN's Accelerator programme is especially interesting because the business network has a strong global focus."
Since 2003, GBN has established a presence in several international markets in Asia, central and eastern Europe, and the Gulf region. The Accelerator programme is a new initiative targeting start-ups.
"All the start-ups on the GBN Accelerator are either international companies or spin-off projects from existing member businesses," explained Minnesjord. "We invite the start-up businesses to come to Telemark and join the GBN Accelerator platform, where we offer a wealth of expertise spanning international borders. There's a lot of interest out there in our Accelerator concept."
Focus on 3D technology
When GBN approached them about Fluid Metal 3D's start-up business, researchers at the university college found the invitation too attractive to refuse.
"3D technology is one of the focus areas where we want to step up our research," said an enthusiastic Melaaen, "so we're particularly excited to work with this start-up business and its new 3D technology at this time."
Fluid Metal 3D is one of the promising businesses currently on the Accelerator programme, added Minnesjord.
"We see considerable scope for being involved in this exciting Accelerator programme that GBN has started," said Melaaen, who is confident that the partnership can play an ongoing role in enhancing 3D technology expertise.
Bringing new R&D opportunities
According to Melaaen, working closely with the business community has many benefits.
"GBN can bring us new, international research opportunities, helping to build centres of research excellence and technology clusters that will devise solutions to society's future challenges."