Nor-Shipping has revealed the shortlist for its coveted Young Entrepreneur Award 2017, with the final four nominees championing innovations with the potential to transform key areas within the global maritime industry. The award, a joint initiative with YoungShip, was conceived to help promote the next generation of shipping innovators, with a focus on those working to address critical issues. Previous winners include Boyan Slat in 2015, the founder of The Ocean Cleanup, and Tør Østervold in 2013, CEO of ECOsubsea. This year’s contenders, all of whom had to be under 40, are Joel Spark, Co-Founder of Spire, Tuomas Riski, CEO of Norsepower, Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund, and Christine Spiten, Co-Founder of Blueye Robotics. The award will be announced mid April, with the prize handed out on the first day of the leading global maritime event week, which takes place across a series of venues in Oslo and Lillestrøm from 30 May to 2 June. “This award works as a bellwether for our industry,” comments Nor-Shipping Director Birgit Liodden. “The issues that the best young minds in maritime are keen to address are those that will define the make-up, and success, of our industry tomorrow. “This year’s shortlisted nominees, who were carefully selected from a very strong competing pack, are no exception. Their businesses are focused on tackling matters as pressing as cost, energy and business efficiency, alongside access to information and the democratisation of the ocean space. The winner, picked by our expert YoungShip-led panel, will, without doubt, be ‘one to watch’ in shipping’s future direction and development.” The four shortlisted names may be united by youth and vision, but their innovations address very different areas. Spark’s US-based Spire Global Inc. is working on a nano satellite constellation service to provide cost effective AIS tracking, weather data and awareness solutions, while Spiten’s Blueye is developing underwater drones that can be controlled via smart phone and tablet apps. Riski, meanwhile, leads Norsepower, whose trailblazing Rotor Sail Solution allows ships to harness wind power to reduce fuel consumption. Berglund’s Xeneta is already well known in the container shipping and logistics market for its revolutionary price comparison software platform. “All of these entrepreneurs have identified key challenges and opportunities within maritime, before addressing them with potentially game-changing innovations,” Liodden notes. “They are combining simple ideas with often complex technologies to deliver products and services that deliver real value to their respective markets.
“This is want we want to see and what Nor-Shipping is proud to champion – talented young people that are prepared to reject conventional thinking and plot new paths to success and sustainability for our industry.”Alongside the Young Entrepreneur Award, Nor-Shipping will also be handing out the Next Generation Ship and Energy Efficiency accolades at its Opening Conference in Lillestrøm. Nor-Shipping 2017 is expected to attract around 35,000 visitors, with almost 1,000 of the world’s leading maritime companies showcasing products and services to the industry, future talent and shipping value chain stakeholders.