Olav Thon at the official opening of Startup Campus: — I am proud and happy
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and the business man Olav Thon were among the guests when Startup Campus had its official opening.
The room was packed with people on Thursday this week — when Startup Campus had its official opening at its new location. “What, Startup Campus had yet another opening?”, you might say — pointing out that we’ve already hosted several events in this space. Well, that’s the nature of show business — and startups —because often, a company will have to keep the ball rolling while they’re still developing and implementing new changes.
The rebranding of the familiar Oslo House of Innovation (OHOI) has been one of these changes we’ve both developed and implemented in cycles, and so the opening of Startup Campus marks the end of implementing: Now we’re just going to be Startup Campus — and gone are the days of OHOI.
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A crowded space of innovators
We had several special guests present for the opening of Startup Campus (which doubles as both an event space and an office space) — but among the more notable ones were His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, and the business man Olav Thon. The latter is the owner of the building where Startup Campus has found a home. The Crown Prince and Olav Thon, along with his wife Sissel Berdal Haga, were among the audience for the program onstage, which (among other things) included founding partners introducing themselves, and board members taking part in panel discussion led by the Startup Norway CEO Maja Adriaensen.
Towards the end of his visit at our new space, Thon held a speech to the audience about his journey as an entrepreneur — as well as the importance of Startup Campus and their affiliated companies.
It is nice to be here, and nice to see all of you. I won’t keep you busy for long — there are so many interesting people here, so you must get to know each other, and not just listening to me. I am now in my 97th year — and started out as a young entrepreneur at the age of 16. So when it comes to being a CEO — something that I still try to be — I have most probably set a world record. What I can say to the young entrepreneurs is that the entire world is full of opportunities. But sometimes, the more active you are and the more innovative you are, the more disappointments you might encounter along the road.
Thon followed up by saying that it’s the “stayer” quality which in the end makes or breaks your entrepreneurial journey. Do you get up after a fall, or do you decide on making the failure your final appearance in the startup community? Thon went on to talk about how he sees the Startup Campus.
I am proud and happy that I as an owner of this building have this exact Startup Campus as the user of the top floor. Let this be a signal to Startup Campus — that you’re on the top shelf. This is where you belong.
Thon wished everyone good luck on making the best of Startup Campus.
And last but not least, everyone who seeks out this unique occurence of having a Startup Campus in the middle of Oslo. I wish you all good luck!
And there is no overstatement to say that our event space was truly crowded for this special afternoon: In fact, people were even sitting on the window sills (and would probably have sat down in the ceiling too, if they could). Among our other guests were our 32 founding partners — several notable people from the Norwegian startup community.
Startups seeking a home
In addition to hosting a mingling session for attendees at the event, we also did a guided tour where the attendees got to meet selected startups in the office space. Each startup told the groups about their innovative products, and the attendees also got an impression of the scale of Startup Campus — 2300 square meters. And it is indeed the community members that make up the Startup Campus, and fill it with life and vibrance.
As Olav Thon touched upon out in his speech, what would Startup Campus be without the people who make up the community of the campus? Not very much at all, and this is also why we are eager to get more people — and startups — to join us for the future of Startup Campus.
“Together, we want to make a home”, a voice tells us in the Startup Extreme video from this spring. The same goes for Startup Campus — a community is what can get you going and keep your mindset steady, even through rough startup seas.