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Nor-Shipping helped us shape the future

Brim Explorer is a young and successful company that aims to deliver sustainable nature experiences at sea with ships and technologies that will move the entire industry towards sustainability. However, its journey might have looked slightly different had it not been for a life-changing moment at Nor-Shipping 2019.

A year after being established in 2018 by Agnes Árnadóttir and Espen Larsen-Hakkebo, the duo were stunned when the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry presented them with the Nor-Shipping Young Entrepreneur Award 2019, with King Harald of Norway watching from the audience.

Four years after that day in Oslo, three self-developed hybrid sightseeing boats are in operation in Svalbard, Tromsø and Oslofjord, with ambitious plans for further expansion thanks to the investors on their team. 

Agnes and Espen will, of course, be present at Nor-Shipping 2023, where the theme is #PartnerShip – something they emphasise wholeheartedly.

A wealth of opportunities on offer

– What would you recommend to a first-time attendee looking to get the most out of Nor-Shipping?

– Nor-Shipping offers an abundance of lectures and seminars and a unique opportunity to meet remarkable suppliers. You can benchmark the best solutions available on the market. Look at this boat we are currently sitting in, for example. The antifouling we chose resulted from a meeting with a supplier at Nor-Shipping 2019, and the entire Brim concept was born from our first visit to Nor-Shipping in 2017, Agnes begins.

– What happened at the exhibition that year?

– We met with several shipyard representatives and a range of suppliers, which led to the idea for Brim finally starting to take shape because these companies could deliver what we wanted concretely, says Espen.

Share your idea, and it will improve

– The more people you talk to about an idea, the more real it becomes. All the conversations we had during Nor-Shipping 2017 were a critical push in the right direction for us; they helped us to focus on the concept, recalls Agnes.

– We also connected with our designer Einar Hareide after a tip from someone we met at Nor-Shipping – that’s another example of what this fair means to us both, she adds.

– What did winning the 2019 Nor-Shipping Young Entrepreneur Award mean to you both?

– We received the award during a challenging start-up phase, and it was an important signal that the industry had faith in the project and recognised what we were doing. We were well underway with building our first vessel, had established our business model and had secured our first investors. When we received the award, it put us on many people’s radars, making contact easier. Nor-Shipping has been a significant gateway into the maritime industry for us, Espen states.

An industry for important decisions

– Why is the maritime industry the place to be for young talents wanting to contribute towards the green shift?

– It is a vital transportation industry with enormous potential for green transformation. It is only now that vast changes are starting to happen. If you enter the maritime industry now, you can significantly influence the shift we are experiencing and contribute to the critical decisions moving us in the right direction, says Agnes.

– We have been in contact with many suppliers to get the best solutions for our boats, and the most forward-thinking companies are the ones that have young decision-makers on their teams. We see that they are pushing this industry forward, so among our best partners, you will find a nice mix of experienced veterans and new companies that challenge established structures, explains Agnes.

Choose the green sea route!

The maritime industry is a critical benchmark in how society handles the green transition. It is also a large transportation industry that will grow in importance as an environmentally friendly and less intrusive transportation solution for passengers and cargo. There is no need for new infrastructure on the water. Look at Oslo: developing a sustainable transport network on the sea makes more sense than building more highways, says Espen.

– Are we right to assume that you will be attending Nor-Shipping 2023?

– Absolutely! I’m looking forward to this year’s fair because we are now established but are still innovating and producing new ideas. Meeting other players and discussing our and others’ solutions is vital if we want to build something even better. We’ll be looking for suitable partners and, not least, be inspired by others. Hopefully, we can also be an inspiration too, says Agnes.

Nor-Shipping is the place for new ideas

– If you want to renew a boat, build something new or change the existing technology on a vessel, then Nor-Shipping is where you will find the ideas and solutions you need. It is a trade fair that is sailing towards becoming a meeting place recognised internationally, Espen adds.

– What happens in the maritime environment in Norway is often at the forefront globally. It is a great starting point. We have much to be proud of and a lot left to do.

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