Study shows only one of the three companies who go international seek public help

Prime Minister Erna Solberg.Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

Only one in three Norwegian companies that trade internationally have asked for government agencies’ help. Networking with other businesses is more popular.


This was shown in a comprehensive survey from the Norwegian Chamber of Commerce,made among 1,438 companies.

When asked who the companies would be looking to in order to gain the necessary
competence to invest internationally, one in three chose financial institutions in Norway,and a corresponding percentage chose another Norwegian company.

At the same time, 39% of respondents answered that they gained most needed knowledge from networking with other companies.

Too complicated

The survey included ‘Innovation Norway’, the ‘Guarantee Institute for Export Credits (GIEK)’ ‘Eksportkreditt’, and the ‘Foreign Service’ as examples of public enterprises that help Norwegian companies abroad.

‘I am surprised that no more than one of three companies think the public funding
institutions are important,’ said Bergen’s Commerce Advisor, Marit Warncke, to NTB news.

She pointed to several possible reasons why a Norwegian company that wants to go international,might address other companies as well as the public sector.

‘It’s too complicated, and too detailed. One must simplify. When it comes to state visits where one wants to get business, one must also think about the small businesses.

Changes occur

78% of the companies responded that they gained the necessary skills on their own, while 15% responded that they looked to the institutions.

Warncke believes that the government agencies have been targeting the small businesses too little.

‘The big companies often manage themselves,’ she said.

‘The little ones who succeed in doing so are often on the backs of the big ones, for example in the oil and gas industry. There are many very small businesses ready to go big outside thanks to help from, for example,Statoil.

Innovation Norway is a very big game changer. The organisation meets more needs that companies demand today than just a few years ago’, she said, and gave as an example,among other things, the cluster initiative.

Language no obstacle

The survey also revealed that Scandinavia and the EU are the most relevant areas for the start-up or expansion of international operations. At the same time, half of companies responded that they have no plans to go international.

‘It is not surprising that the Nordic countries, and Europe, are the largest markets. More than thinking of new markets,many businesses wish to expand where they already are’, said Warncke.

The companies stated that legal relationships, market conditions, and cultural differences are the biggest challenges in international investment.

‘It is astonishing that they don’t see language as a challenge. I think we Norwegians tend to overestimate ourselves a little. Lack of language and cultural understanding is generally bad for Norwegian companies’, said Warncke.

Half of the companies in the survey have international business today.

Four out of five of those have operations in the Nordic region, while three out of four are active in the EU. Export of services, and products, are the most common international businesses for Norwegian companies.

The survey was conducted by Advicia in cooperation with DNH. The error margin is stated at- / + 1.2%.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today