Unveiling Nordic Innovations

Making a Difference with “Iceland Innovation Week”

Iceland is arranging “Iceland Innovation Week” this coming week 13th May to 17th May, with the objective of expanding and developing the Icelandic Start-up Eco-system.

Interview with Edda Konrádsdóttir, Founder of “Iceland Innovation Week” 

Iceland is a geographically isolated country with a few important resources like fish, other marine resources, thermal heat, and a small population of some 300 000 people. It takes a tough Nordic heart and mind to maintain a high standard of living that depends heavily on exports.

Small countries like Iceland must be careful on how they use their limited resources to spend on support for innovation but, according to Edda Konrádsdóttir, it has been a well-oiled process in working with all the government ministries involved in innovation.

“The government is a great partner here and we are very happy to see how they have sought proactively to work with our start-up eco-system. They have done much like changing the law to allow R&D costs to receive a tax discount, and for attracting much-needed talent to Iceland…  They understand the importance of cooperation between private and public parties for innovation” says Edda Konrádsdóttir.

This “Festival”, this is not your couple of days like Slush, but a whole week’s series of events whose objective is to be highly inclusive of the whole population and friends.

They aim to make a difference by developing the start-up eco system in cooperation with the government that is highly cooperative with the organiser Edda Konrádsdóttir and her team.

The organisers have sought to achieve their own Icelandic flavor with this one week innovation week “Festival” with free side events that range from panel discussions and company visits, to happy hours, and icy ocean dips at locations in Reykjavík.

There is also a three day official program for paying pay-holders:

Day Zero is for investors

  • Panels about the Icelandic VC Ecosystem and includes speakers from LOGOS Law Firm, Xange VC and Iceland’s Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation. 
  • There will be Iceland’s “UniCod story”: from founder and CEO, Fertram Sigurjonsson, of Kerecis. The Kerecis fish skin is being used to treat wounds, burns and other complex acute and chronic wounds including diabetic, venous, trauma wounds. 
  • Startup Pitches: TrebleORF GeneticsSheSleepDTESnerpa Power & Standby
  • Other events include presentations from Frumtak Ventures and Carbfix.

Day One – Panels’ galore

Dozens of panel discussions on Main Stage & Founder Stage covering the main topics chosen by the organisers – climate, waste, healthcare, fisheries, marine, carbon capture, diversity, and talent immigration, etc…

Day Two – Climate Theatre with Waste as a Theme

Ok, bye Climate Theatre is not a normal startup conference but rather a unique climate performance, where talks and discussions will be intertwined with artistic happenings, music, and visual approaches. For 2024 their theme will be WASTE with keynote and panel discussions from world class speakers and artists. 

This Iceland Innovation Week story will be followed up by forumNordic in a few weeks time to examine the results and most interesting stories from the Festival.

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