Ulla Sommerfelt is a Norwegian CEO and Founder at EGGS Design. She agreed to share her experience about the business ecosystem in Norway and her expertise about internationalization.
Willing to expand abroad? This article’s for you!
What does EGGS Design do? What is it about?
EGGS Design helps our clients innovate. We are a multidisciplinary consultancy housing designers, brand builders and creative technologists. Our value proposition is to create products and services your customers will love. Our approach is people and business centric, we love projects with high complexity and to make simplification happen. Our customers are start-ups and big corps in industries such as health, bank & finance, retail, consumer goods, ocean technology, connected world, and public services.
My focus as a leader is to create the world’s best work place, a work place where our people develop both professionally and personally.
Where are you willing to expand and why?
We currently have offices in 4 cities: Curitiba in Brazil, Oslo, Stavanger and Trondheim in Norway.
We will set out to create an eco-system of offices around the world. EGGS was born global with 15 nationalities already in the house. We want to build on this multicultural, cross-disciplinary idea, as diversity is the birthplace for innovation and creativity. We want to make sure that our people develop both professionally and personally, and we have programs in place for that. Also, people grow when they travel and live in new places of the world. Our eco-system will draw on competence, inspiration and different perspectives.
Our leadership model and work culture is well suited to attract and retain creative talent within design and technology across the globe, and we strive to create excellent employee experiences.
From our Norway business, we are world leading in design and innovation in heavy industries like oil & gas, aqua culture, maritime and various areas of industrial automation. We are specialists in creating professional user interfaces and work environments that have strong requirements for efficiency, security, and safety. There is a huge potential for digitalization and innovation in these global industries, so we seek to export this knowledge to other places with similar industries.
In addition, we are opportunistic about the other areas where we have excellent capabilities, for example financial technology, telecom, healthcare, and consumer services at large. We have helped more than 100 start-ups succeed with their ideas, and we work with large corps. Our opportunity space is quite large, and research and decision making is work in process right now.
We see that the success of exporting competence and business culture from Norway relies on local knowledge and adjustment to local business culture. Therefore, we will create powercouples of existing EGGS and people with local knowledge and network, thus merging local competence with the EGGS culture, a driver for our success.
How is it like to internationalize in Norway? Would you recommend it to other entrepreneurs?
Internationalization requires a lot of work, a lot of research, the will and skills to understand the local business culture and a local network to ensure this. In Norway we are getting excellent help from the government agency Innovation Norway who have the skills and infrastructure to support Norwegian companies on their internationalization journey. But we must do the work ourselves, of course, as well as finance it.
Any successful business today needs to internationalize. We live in a global world, 95% of our clients operate in a global market and it is essential to have a global mindset to succeed.
What are the main mistakes to avoid when developing there?
Not taking the local business culture seriously, and not appreciating or straining towards integrating in local culture can make it very difficult to succeed in business. You must place yourself inside the business environment, not stay on the outside.
Ulla’s “special” tips for the community
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Establish a good network of people. Reach out on Linkedin, attend business forums, contact institutions that help companies go international.
Listen to the advice from these people. Listen to the advice of your local contacts. And question the advice people give you. How can you use their insight, and advice in a smarter way, for your local offices and colleagues?
The EGGS facts
• Established in 2012
• 70 creatives in 2016 (24 in 2013)
• Offices in 4 cities, currently working on establishing a 5th
• 55 MNOK turnover in 2015, estimated turnover for 2016: 62 mNOK
• 15-30% annual growth since 2012, with positive results each year