I interviewed Gaute Hagerup avbout what is going on when Oslo spend a week on innovation during the pandemic

I interviewed Gaute Hagerup avbout what is going on when Oslo spend a week on innovation during the pandemic

Gaute Hagerup, centre, is the CEO at Oslo Business Region, organizing the annual Oslo Innovation Week.  Photo: Gorm K. Gaare.


  • The Oslo Innovation Week attracted in 2019 more than 13 000 participants from around the world, they alle came to Oslo the last week in September.  But not in 2020.  I spoke digitally to Gaute Hagerup at Oslo Business Region.

Gaute is the CEO of Oslo Business Region, a company owned by the municipality of Oslo and its mission is to strengthen the startup ecosystem in Oslo and to attract investors to do business in Oslo.

  • Chaitra:  Why Oslo Business Region?

Gaute: The way it is organized is unique, as I said it is owned by Oslo Municipality but has a separate org entity outside of the bureaucratic process of city hall. We work and function for all practical purposes as a company, we are able to get in touch with more in-depth information about the market- company, hub, clusters inclusive of market-oriented while OIW is funded by city hall and innovation Norway and we (OBR) are the project manager of the  OIW event.

  • Chaitra: What is going on in Oslo this week? 

Gaute: A full OIW program including 150 investors. We have organized about 80 collaborating events, we are giving the platform for these events who are having discussions on various interesting topics, about 100 pitches. 350 applications and 50 different countries participating in this event, including16 different countries credited.

  • Chaitra: Normally more than 10 000 people attend the Oslo Innovation Week.  What is the numbers this time, how many have participated physically, and how many digitally?

Gaute: We are expecting more than 13000 as last year, as it is a larger audience with digital reach compared to previous years. I do not have the exact numbers yet but we have about 50 different countries listed so far as attendees.


The innovation scene: Oslo Innovation Week was presented in the old library building Deihmanske in central Oslo. Photo: Gorm K. Gaare.

  • Chaitra: What have been the main challenges organizing OIW 2020?

Gaute: The new digital world is a challenge, certain questions like how we are going to succeed in the digital platform, how are we going to stream all events successfully on the technical platform. So far things are going well with online streaming and there is err so hopefully we get to see good numbers and investments post OIW event.

  • Chaitra: How is the local, national, and global reach for OIW this year?

Gaute: OIW brings forward new voices and innovation in action. We highlight bold solutions that solve real global challenges through entrepreneurship, technology, and innovation. We believe in creating sustainable solutions by bridging differences and forming new power couples, pushing the world forward through collaboration. 

  • Chaitra: What kind of topics and news is the focus at OIW 2020?

One track per day, with 80 free online events created by the Nordic entrepreneurial community, they have curated a program in collaboration with five partners on the Future of Work, Energy, Health Innovation, Circular Economy, Accelerating Growth are main focus at OIW this year, mainly discussing topics around what solutions do we need to build a better world, why is it important for women to invest and how to scale through partnerships.

  • Chaitra: What long term impact will the COVID 19-version of OIW have, both for OIW in itself and innovation activities in Oslo generally?

Gaute: I believe OIW will be conducted online at least a year more, and it is working really well with streaming we are able to reach a larger audience as I said Oslo innovation week had taken COVID into consideration and made the event digital. I do not have all numbers but we do have a better response I must say.