Oslo - The Big Small

Window View OBR Damian Heinisch small

Published by Oslo Business Region, 18 August 2020

Read in EN / NO

Oslo is, in a word, compact. Here you will find everything you need within easy reach. But we do have a lot of room. Not only physical space for growth, but room for new ideas, for study, for innovation, for entrepreneurship – and for offering almost 5.000 live performances in a year.

Being small, we also have short distances – from urban centres to quiet forests, from ski slopes to the waterfront, from the place you work to the place you live. In our informal, egalitarian society other distances are short as well – from people to power and from words to action.

Finally, Oslo is geared for the future. We are early adopters of new technology, we have a hot start-up scene, and we are Europe’s fastest growing capital, with a high and increasing ratio of young, well-educated people.

We happily admit that our city is small. But it is small in a very big way.

The Oslo region is Norway’s largest competence and industry region with 245,000 companies and 2.5 million inhabitants. The region has a large proportion of the country’s knowledge-intensive industries, and is otherwise an area with a very versatile combination of business and knowledge environments. This represents large resources and opportunities for innovation and new business development in several future-oriented areas.

The services sectors take home a dominant share of value creation and employment. In a national context, the region is the specialist within knowledge intensive business services, culture and culture experience industries, and commerce. A majority of the people employed in the services industries live in the Oslo labor market area.

The Oslo region has about 50 formal cluster or network organizations. Most of them operate in the fields of environmental and energy technology, bio economy, life sciences, and ICT systems. The region also has a large number of universities, colleges, and research institutes that conduct research which is of high relevance for businesses and the public sector. Several other innovation environments are also of importance. The public enterprise SIVA is co-owner of 32 innovation companies across the region. Smaller start-up environments have also contributed to a high start-up rate.

The most innovative industries measured in proportion of innovative companies, are found within knowledge intensive business services and in some industry sectors (chemical/pharmaceutical, computers/electronics, plastic products and metals). The majority of new establishments and net growth can be found within culture and experience industries, other private services, and knowledge intensive business services. This is largely due to new private establishments in the health care and educational sectors.

Based on international framework conditions and the Oslo region’s advantages, seven competence- and technology fields are especially relevant for the future competitiveness of the region:

  1. Bio economy and circular economy
  2. Life sciences, health- and welfare technology
  3. ICT products and services for new applications in other industries / sectors / markets
  4. Environmental technology, renewable energy and low-emission transport, sustainable construction
  5. Sustainable experience industries and creative industries
  6. Smart cities and regions
  7. Sustainable processing industry