Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Minister of Finance Siv Jensen hosted a lunch for entrepreneurs in the offices of BTO and Nyskapingsparken. Erna Solberg then released the news that BTO is the first pre-seed investor in Norway that invests the entire pot of money.
“We know that entrepreneurs experience many difficult phases. One of these is to raise capital in the early stages”, said Solberg before she announced that the companies Pluvia, Nobesita, Leieting.no, Soundio, RestDB, Dyrekassen og Rock Physics Technology have received offers for investment of pre-seed capital from BTO.
“We have prioritized to get these money out to the companies and in use as quickly as possible. The interest has been great, and we are very pleased that the public funds has triggered a huge amount of private capital – just as the scheme is intended to work. The risk is now divided between public and private, and hence more investors are willing to go into companies in early phases. This is a scheme that could potentially mean a great deal for the new industry in Norway,” says Anders Haugland, managing director of BTO.
For years now, it has been close to capital drought for innovative companies in the early phase that need capital to grow. It has also been really difficult to mobilize private investors to take risks in new knowledge-intensive industries.
After pressure from the Liberal Party (Venstre) and Terje Breivik, the Government decided to create a pre-seed capital program to encourage private investors to invest in new and innovative industries. The government has allocated 40 million from the national budget of 2015 for this purpose. Of these 40 million, BTO has been given the responsibility for investing 8 million NOK in early phase companies in the Bergen region.
In addition to announcing the companies that have been offered pre-seed investment, Erna Solberg and Siv Jensen met 20 people from and around the entrepreneurial and innovation environment in the region. The Prime Minister herself had taken the initiative for the meeting because she wanted input regarding the government’s entrepreneurial policies. Solberg received great input during the lunch, and she was very pleased with the meeting.
«Norway needs more legs to stand on in the future. It is the entrepreneurs themselves who do the work, and must continue to do the work in the future. We will contribute with schemes and programs that can help you,» said Solberg to her lunch guests.