Nor­way’s En­tre­pre­neur­ial Out­look on Asia

Norway-Asia Business Review - - News - By Eric Baker

Kristin Sko­gen Lund is Direc­tor Gen­eral of the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Nor­we­gian En­ter­prises, the main rep­re­sen­ta­tive or­gan­i­sa­tion for Nor­we­gian em­ploy­ers. She gave a talk at the 2015 Nor­way-Asia Busi­ness Sum­mit in In­dia, of­fer­ing words of wis­dom for en­trepreneurs po­ten­tially look­ing abroad as well as ex­pa­tri­ates keen for guid­ance on where Nor­way stands. “The re­cent drop in oil prices has af­fected Nor­way, as it has many coun­tries,” she said. “But we are not in a cri­sis, rather a re­bal­anc­ing. We know we can­not de­velop as an iso­lated coun­try. Nor­way has only just be­gun to di­ver­sify its eco­nomic port­fo­lio, but we will con­tinue to see suc­cess in the oil sec­tor. “Yet mov­ing be­yond doesn’t mean drop­ping ev­ery­thing you’ve been good at. You can grad­u­ally shift in some ar­eas where you al­ready have an ad­van­tage. Some of th­ese can be coun­try-driven, such as en­ergy and mar­itime for Nor­way. Some are com­pany-driven, such as the changes tak­ing place at Te­lenor, Jo­tun and Yara. “Nor­way’s cli­mate is harsh, which has led Nor­we­gians to be good at ex­tract­ing re­sources from this en­vi­ron­ment and adding value to them. With the new global fo­cus on cli­mate change, Nor­we­gians abil­ity to ex­tract the most from scarce re­sources will be in high de­mand. “The spirit of Nor­we­gian busi­ness is in­no­va­tive be­cause it has been forced to be. Nor­way has a high cost level, so we need to work that much harder to stay com­pet­i­tive. “Nor­we­gians are also good at adapt­ing, be­ing a small coun­try and not very im­pe­ri­al­is­tic. We are lean and mean, not very bu­reau­cratic, and keen on street smarts, all of which should be an ad­van­tage go­ing for­ward. “Nor­we­gian busi­nesses in Asia re­ceive too lit­tle recog­ni­tion for rep­re­sent­ing Nor­we­gian en­trepreneur­ship abroad. Nor­way de­pends on th­ese busi­nesses, as the view back in our home coun­try is too in­su­lar. Nor­we­gians of­ten only

look at the Nor­way per­spec­tive on mat­ters, which is too pro­vin­cial.

“We are not suf­fi­ciently good enough at re­ward­ing busi­nesses that suc­ceed in Asia be­cause there is such a great deal of risk in­volved with do­ing busi­ness here. It is im­por­tant for us to sell oth­ers on Nor­way, but also to try and bring the world to Nor­way. We some­times for­get there is so much tal­ent out­side of Nor­way that we could use. “As for spe­cific coun­tries, the sit­u­a­tion in China is wor­ri­some. It doesn’t seem to be calm­ing down with time, and to some ex­tent it may be get­ting worse. Many Nor­we­gian busi­nesses are good at deal­ing with this ten­sion in a dif­fi­cult en­vi­ron­ment, but the dia­logue at a high level is not func­tion­ing. “Nor­we­gians have a lot to learn from In­dia as com­pet­i­tive­ness is some­thing you pick up in the mar­ket, not in a lab or an of­fice. If you can com­pete in In­dia, you can do it any­where, I think. “Else­where, Nor­way’s new re­la­tion­ship with Myan­mar has proven to be an ad­van­tage in busi­ness deal­ings, while our devel­op­ment pro­grammes in Viet­nam have been re­ceived pos­i­tively. For the most part, Nor­way is seen as neu­tral and easy to deal with. “I would close by re­mind­ing you that busi­ness can solve more of so­ci­ety’s prob­lems than we think and we should al­ways be on the look­out for ways we can help.”

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