State Budget 2021: here are the highlights for startups

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Published by Oslo Business Region, 22 October 2020

This month, Norway’s government presented its proposal for 2021 National Budget. Here’s what’s in store for startups, innovation and research.


Employers that purchase shares in the employer’s company can receive tax-free discount of 25% of market value of the shares, but with a maximum of NOK 7500 per year. It will be mandatory to inform the tax authorities.

2. National funds for competence development

The government proposes to allocate NOK 14 million to the national knowledge program for Covid-19. These funds are called competence development funds (bedriftsintern opplæringsmidler, in Norwegian). These funds are important to education and change management due to the pandemic.

3. Funds for research

The government proposes to allocate about NOK 45 billion to research and development (R&D). There is an increase of approx. NOK 2 billion from 2020 and amounts to 1.6 per cent. If Skattefunn is excluded, the proposal involves approximately NOK 41 billion in R&D appropriations.

4. Funds for research of green transitioning

The government proposes to increase the allocation for research for green conversion related to, among other things, land use, sustainable cities, the sea and low-emission technology by NOK 50 million.

5. The Norwegian Research Council

The government proposes to allocate about NOK 1.7 billion for business-oriented research, and NOK 407.9 million for marine research. Among other things, the Government proposes continuation of the Research Council's share of the Green Platform with NOK 192 million.

6. Green jobs

The government proposes to allocate NOK 333 million to the Green Platform in 2021. It is a three-year project and is aimed at renewing the business community through a green platform for research and innovation. The Research Council, Innovation Norway and Siva will administer the scheme and they will distribute the money to green projects.

7. Horizon Europe

The government proposes to allocate NOK 827 million for participation in the EU framework program for research and innovation, Horizon Europe. The Government reserves the right to make a final decision on Norwegian participation in EU programs until the EU's long-term budget has been adopted. This will probably happen in November so that the programs can start in January 2021.

8. Innovation program for public innovation purchases from startups

The government proposes to allocate NOK 7.9 million to a program for innovation purchases from startup companies (StartOff). The program will make it easier for startup companies to become suppliers to the public sector by facilitating a quick and easy procurement process, smaller detail specifications and short development runs.

9. Innovation Norway

The government proposes to allocate a total of about NOK 3 billion to Innovation Norway from the budget of the Ministry of Trade and Industry. This is an increase from about NOK 2.1 billion in 2020. The increase is largest in the tourism area. The tourism industry has been severely affected by the restrictions due to the corona pandemic.

10. Innovation loan

The government proposes a framework for the innovation loan of NOK 2 billion in 2021. This is an increase of NOK 600 million from the budget in 2020. On top of that, an NOK 600 million to top innovation loans within environmentally vessels within ocean. Innovation Norway’s cooperation with European Investment Fund (EIF) also apply in 2021, to enable increased flexibility.

11. Nysnø Climate Investments

This company is a governmentally owned investment company. They allocate NOK 700 million to Nysnø Klimainvesteringer AS. So far, they have been provided with NOK 1,7 billion in capital. Their goal is to accelerate the green shift by making profitable investments in technology that reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

12. Business oriented research and innovation

The government proposes to allocate more than NOK 9 billion from the Ministry of Trade and Industry's budget for business-oriented research and innovation. The goal is to create more research and development in business providing new products and services, which provides new value creation and growth for the Norwegian economy. It will contribute to the business community becoming greener, smarter and more innovative.