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Oslo – Open for business

Oslo is Europe’s fastest growing capital, and home to numerous businesses within almost any imaginable field. This means it’s also the best place to find a dream job.

Picture from the popular Oslo area Barcode

Norway’s biggest industry is of course the off-shore sector. This has its main hubs in the west and south west, but Oslo has a share of this too. In addition, Oslo is the main city for banking and finance, creative business, media, architecture, NGOs, governmental departments and organisations, telecom, technology, transportation, import businesses and most retail chains in and outside of Norway, and a lot more.

No matter where the oil industry is heading, there is an expressed wish to develop a robust, diversified and sustainable future economy for Norway. The Oslo region is the key to achieve that. We don´t know yet what kind of industries will define us in the future – but we do know that innovation and entrepreneurship is the answer.

Human Capital

Oslo is a compact city where everything is within reach, including talent, investors and ideas. Cooperation and flat hierarchy make things easier, and in short world class human capital.

Norway is ranked at no. 7 in the first Human Capital Report, produced by the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. The study encompasses 122 countries, ranking them on four main pillars: Health and Wellness, Education, Workforce and Employment, and Enabling Environment. Scoring high in Health and Wellness and Workforce and Employment, and achieving the no. 3 position in Enabling Environment, Norway joined its Nordic neighbors in the top ten, with Switzerland topping the ranks. At the sub-pillar level, Norway ranked no. 1 in Education Gender Gap, an index of gender parity in literacy and enrollment at all educational levels, and no. 2 in both Economic Participation Gender Gap and Internet Users per 100 people.

How does Europe’s fastest growing city stack up?

Each year Monocle magazine publishes its “Most Livable Cities Index,” a subjective evaluation of the quality of life in selected metropolises around the world. Despite Monocle’s love of Scandinavia, it’s been a while since Oslo was included in the Index. About time for a new look…

The criteria tend to vary from year to year, but some perennial points on the Quality of Life Index are international connectivity, public transportation, climate and sunshine, charm and attractiveness, business conditions, design and architecture, the environment and access to nature, and security.

Starting with international connectivity, Oslo main International Airport ‘Gardermoen’ has overtaken Stockholm’s Arlanda as the busiest in the Nordics. Public transportation and punctuality are also key to liveability, and Oslo’s underground and tram systems, supported by extensive bus lines, are efficient, modern, and undergoing continuous upgrades.

Complimenting service is a growing focus on the environment, with regional busses running on biogas produced at city refuse stations, and live testing of hydrogen fuel cell busses. Oslo is also the e-car capital of the world, with most electric cars per capita, thanks to heavy investment in infrastructure and incentives. (The new Tesla S has been the best-selling car overall in Norway since its introduction in September.)

Better Business

Doing business is relatively easy in Oslo, in fact second-easiest in Europe and 9th in the world, according to Doing Business 2014, a co-publication of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation. And Oslo came in at no. 6 in Ericsson’s Networked Society City Index 2013, aimed at capturing the fundamental factors in sustainable urban development and their relationship with ICT maturity.

Entrepreneurship is also taking its rightful place in the progressive economy, with entrepreneurial communities making stuff and noise, and sometimes even money.

Build for the future, live for today

The ambitious Fjord City project, a reclamation of the city’s vast docklands, commenced in 2003 and has rounded the halfway mark. In the south-eastern Bjørvika district, the city’s love-hate relationship with the striking Bar Code development has largely given over to fascination as the string of narrow, angular structures near completion and begin to shine with its intended brightness.

In addition, a grounded twist on urban connectivity, talk of a high-speed rail link between Oslo and Copenhagen, a region known as “The 8 million City,” is gaining momentum. “Why didn’t we think of this before?” asked Norway’s Minster of Transportation following recent talks with his Swedish counterpart. If realised, the impact of the connection will re-shape Oslo’s downtown, as density increases around the Central Station.

A good place to be

To date, no one has been mugged for their skis. Crime rates are low in Oslo, and citizens are accordingly alarmed at any spike in criminal activity, triggering official reaction. And with health care that ranks among the best in the world, Oslo is all-in-all one of the safest, most secure places you can live.

But what’s really new in Oslo, the catalyst that is making all these things happen, is a mixture of optimism and pride. For the first time, citizens are allowed to be proud of Oslo. Plans are being realised and promises are being kept, and people are starting to believe. Right now they believe they have the best concept, they believe they can win, and they believe they can deliver. Renowned international brand strategist Julian Stubbs, who with his global branding company UP there, Everywhere has spent considerable time analysing Oslo’s qualities, concurs: “We believe Oslo’s time has come.”

And you are welcome to join us!

Source: Oslo Business Region