Doing Business in Trondheim

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Trondheim is the third largest city of Norway with over 200.000 inhabitants. It is the largest city in the Trøndelag region. This region has almost 500.000 inhabitants.

Hub between North and South

Trondheim is ideally located in the centre of Norway on the main Norwegian highway E6. This makes it easily accessible by car (+/- 500 km from Oslo). As the hub between the north and the south of Norway, Trondheim is an important rail hub as well. The Trondheim Central Station (Trondheim S) connects Trondheim with Oslo in the south and Bodø up north.

Trondheim has a international airport, Værnes, offering direct flights to among others London and Amsterdam and a wide range of domestic destinations. The airport is accessible within 30 minutes by car, train or bus.

Tech and Innovation Capital of Norway

Oslo is the largest city and is seen as as the main business centre of Norway. Stavanger is the oil capital of Norway and Bergen is a large shipping and tourism hub. Where does that leave Trondheim? Trondheim could be called the science, technology and innovation city of Norway. It is well-known as a knowledge and business centre for marine and aquaculture business. There are a few key organizations that make Trondheim the tech and innovation hub it is.

SINTEF

It is home to Scandinavia’s largest independent research organization, SINTEF. Its main areas or research are: Health Technology and society, Oil and energy, ICT, Materials and chemistry, Construction and Marine science. This research institute is a large accelerator of innovation and growth, not only in Trondheim but all over Norway. Many startups have spun out directly or indirectly from SINTEF. In addition to this, the institute has established a seed investment fund to stimulate commercial application of research and development.

NTNU Trondheim University of Technology

NTNU is one the leading technological universities in the Nordics and Europe. A relatively unique aspect NTNU is its high ranking on universities with the most corporate links. This is mainly due to NTNU’s close ties to SINTEF.

Furthermore, the university stimulates entrepreneurship among students through a wide variety of programs, courses and funding and subsidies.

Largest companies in Trondheim

Not only is Trondheim increasing its position as a startup capital. Trondheim is home to a large amount of mid-sized and large companies. Below a list of Trondheim’s largest companies in terms of revenue and profit (numbers are x1000 NOK).

CompanyRevenueOperational profit
1HENT AS6 765 278158 576
2DANSKE BANK6 751 0003 709 000
3COOP MIDT-NORGE SA6 217 296150 343
4SPAREBANK 1 SMN5 493 0002 862 000
5ASKO MIDT-NORGE AS5 428 52371 228
6NORWAY ROYAL SALMON ASA5 080 807807 739
7VESTAS NORWAY AS3 507 82741 231
8STIFTELSEN SINTEF3 258 160184 792
9E.A. SMITH AS3 199 88152 090
10NORDIC SEMICONDUCTOR ASAUSD 271 134USD 14 047
11I K LYKKE AS2 747 25858 234
12SVEA FINANS NUF2 127 041767 238
13SINTEF AS2 009 151103 065
14DANICA PENSJONSFORSIKRING AS1 881 99962 459
15ORKLA CONFECTIONERY & SNACKS NORGE AS1 881 926289 989
16ATB AS1 775 7967 572
17TEEKAY KNARR AS1 758 285183 565
18GRILSTAD AS1 464 790117 770
19MØLLER BIL TRØNDELAG AS1 432 51025 311
20REITAN HANDEL AS1 199 0001 186 000

Offices and Co-working in Trondheim

In recent years Trondheim has increasingly put itself on the map as a startup city. This has resulted in an increase in co-working space for entrepreneurs. Besides established office providers like Regus, many others offer co-working in a young and high-tech environment. Probably the most well-known off those is Digg, part of the Mesh coworking concept that originated in Oslo.

Finding an investor in Trondheim

Although traditionally most of the capital is centralized in Oslo, there are several investment funds and wealthy individuals (informal investors) in Trondheim that can help kickstart or grow your company.

There are several private investment firms, among them family owned/backed firms of some of Trondelags wealthiest families and individuals. Wiski Capital is the fund of the heir to the Witzøe family’s salmon business. They invest mostly in tech startups. Wiski Capital is owned for the largely by one of the oldest investment firms, Salvesen & Thams. They invest more in the mature growth stages of companies and focus less on online tech.

Expat life in Trondheim

Trondheim is home to a relatively large number of expats. In its core Trondheim is an internationally oriented and tolerant city. Not unimportantly, Norwegians are great at English. In fact, Norwegians are in the top 3 of non-native English speaking nations in the world.

You should start your search for expat life online. There are several meetups being organized and there is an active Facebook group. Furhermore, the people at LifeinNorway have created a great expat blog on Trondheim.