The countries in the North Atlantic: Iceland, Faroe Islands, Greenland and the coastal communities of Norway, have overlapping experiences from small businesses and entrepreneurs who are in the starting phase of farming algae for food, animal feed, energy and other uses.
 
The developments within the processing and product development from algae lags behind the technology used to farm it, except certain areas that have a large degree of specialisation. For examples turning algae into alginate, or other biochemistry.
 
Norges Vel therefore wanted to contribute to increasing the practical knowledge gained by research and development, and share the knowledge between entrepreneurs.
 

Knowledge sharing and local wealth creation

- Norges Vel took the initiative to start ALGET in 2014, Algae entrepreneurs, from farming to product and business development. It is a networking project for knowledge sharing and learning for entrepreneurs in all the 4 countries. The project was established in strategic cooperation with Denmark which has advanced processing competency, and with solid experience that can be imported from Canada, Ireland and eventually Scotland and Shetland. A diversification and further development of the marine sector is increasingly sought after in all the participating countries.  Anne Mugaas says, senior councillor in Norges Vel and leader of the project. 
 
The aim of the project is to establish a common place and a network for entrepreneurs and small to medium sized (SMB) businesses within the farming and processing of algae, and one which contributes to increased competitiveness and local wealth creation in the North Atlantic region
 
- The project arranges meetings with a focus on increased knowledge of types of algae and the areas of use these have. We highlight the effective methods for farming, harvesting, processing and product development. Simultaneously we hope that participating small to medium sized businesses will gain increased insight into their own competitive advantages. Says Mugaas.
 
The project is financed by Nordisk Atlantsamarbejde (NORA).
 

Participants in the network

Norges Vel is the project leader of the network which consists of the following:
  • Norway: Seaweed AS (new SMB, Sogn og Fjordane), Austevoll Seaweed Farm AS (new SMB, Hordaland), Val videregående skole (Nord-Trøndelag) and Norges Vel (Project leader).
  • Faroe Islands: Tari-Faroe Seaweed (National coordinator with new developments within farming / harvesting and some product developments of algae), Fiskaaling (FoU-institution), Faroe Marine Products (product development/ trial) and Ocean Rainforest in relevant areas (algae farming/ harvesting and processing/ export).
  • Iceland: Matis (National coordinator, FoU) and SMBs on processing KeyNatura, Marinox and Prokazyme.
  • Greenland: Kommunen Qaasuitsup (National coordinator), Klaus Berg Consult Greenland and Denmark, Arctic Ecological Research, Grønlands Naturinstitutt og Aarhus Universitet.                 

Norges Vel's contribution and role

  • Initiative taker and responsible for financing application
  • Project leader
  • Responsible for the workshops

Results

  • Since 2014 five workshops have been held with a focus on increased knowledge, better methods, and market understanding. A final workshop will be held in 2018. 
  • Participants have strengthened their professional network
  • New competancy was put into practice, and will in time contribute to innovations, new employment opportunities and increased sustainability.