Thriving local communities depend on entrepreneurs with ideas and conviction. Entrepreneurship provides employment, value creation and new business ideas are born. Effective organisation, and good cooperative solutions with local businesses mean that the values created stays in the community. This is important for Norges Vel.
Sustainable food production and utilisation of local resources will be more important than ever once the oil that is providing us with wealth eventually runs out. Norges Vel helps entrepreneurs developing their ideas, and therefore helps create full time work in agriculture. We work on green entrepreneurship and base our work on sustainable principles.
Business organisation and cooperative solutions
Business organisation is about both the choice of company structure, and about other cooperative solutions. Norges Vel works towards making creative solutions for partnerships, strategic alliances and the development of strong local supply chains that ensure both value creation and manpower benefits the business as well as the local community.
The impact of entrepreneurs cooperating instead of competing is often understated. Small businesses have more to lose than win if they decide to compete instead of working with each other. Throughout the years Norges Vel has contributed to establishing many successful cooperative agreements in the agricultural sector. Bygdeservice SA is an example, where farmers developed a common business that provides services like cabin building, snow clearing, and transport for the council, other companies or private individuals. This provides significant extra revenue for each farm and more full time jobs are provided by the farm.
We also contribute to establishing networks of companies and associations. An example being The Norwegian Seaweed Group, with members up and down the Norwegian coast farming kelp for food. The business cluster Fremtidsmat (Food for the future) is another example; a cluster for food producers, research groups, and think tanks invested in developing food with positive health impacts.
Business organisation and sharing economy
Being structured as a cooperative is well suited for many areas of Norges Vel's work. A cooperative is owned, and run by and for its members, where each member has an equal say on the cooperative's direction as well as an equal share of profit. Businesses structured as a cooperative have certain values and are rarely run for profits alone.
Many years ago Norges Vel contributed to the creation of the new business structure known as agricultural cooperative. Many of today's companies within agriculture are organised as a cooperative: TINE SA, Nortura SA, Felleskjøpet og Norsk Matraps SA are all owned by farmers through this model. A cooperative is a democratic organisation that contributes to a more prevalent and real sharing economy. We therefore want to help more companies to structure themselves as cooperatives.
From RnD to business development
New businesses often spring up as a result of new knowledge in a combination with changing markets. Norges Vel works diligently to provide meeting opportunities and networks between research, business and the public.
Norges Vel makes relevant research findings available, and transferrable to small and medium sized businesses within the agricultural and food sector.
To promote innovation and increased value creation, Norges Vel is working towards expertise sharing and network building between RnD and businesses. By establishing a new company for kelp farming Norges Vel made contact with research groups like Nofima, Sintef og Nifes - and applied for financing from Regionalt Forskingsfond Vest. They all accepted, and the cooperation resulted in a project financed by the regional Regionalt forskningsfond which led to research based developments of Seaweed AS in Bulandet og Værlandet in Sogn og Fjordane
Entrepreneurs often find that it takes years for a business to become profitable, at the same time it is hard to find the tools if you need support. Norges Vel has throughout many years contributed to the establishment of new businesses through advising of potential entrepreneurs looking to make a thriving business.
Today we are responsible for the entrepreneur services in Follo, founder entrepreneur in Østfold and and are currently taking over the services in Øvre Romerike. Entrepreneur services are provided for everyone who wants to start their business. There we provide free courses and advice from securing quality in business ideas and the right choice of organization.
Business development on the farm and green entrepreneurship
Norges Vel is invested in entrepreneurship in agriculture and supports farmers by identifying supply chains and cooperative solutions. We contribute to the establishment of new businesses and motivating the youth into wanting to take over the farm by identifying new opportunities for development well suited for the range of resources available.
For many farmers it is hard to make a living doing only conventional farming. Together with the Norsk Landbruksrådgivning (Norwegian agriculture consulting), Norges Vel has developed and hosted the course "Business development on the farm" for farmers all over Norway.
Integration through work training
Communities are an important arena of diversity and integration, and becoming a part of the Norwegian society is often easiest through work. A new area of focus for Norges Vel is contributing to the integration of immigrants through specialised job training.
We have developed and hosted a training program for immigrants who want jobs, or to start their own business within production, processing, sales or preparation of food. The program gives key working skills whilst improving the language and maths skills of the participants. Many of the participants are now in work.