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A catalyst for growth

Owe Hagesæther, CEO of GCE Ocean Technology (left) with Frode Nergaard Fjeldstad, CEO at Agenda Vestlandet.
Owe Hagesæther, CEO of GCE Ocean Technology (left) with Frode Nergaard Fjeldstad, CEO at Agenda Vestlandet.

When Sparebanken Vest was presented with our growth program six years ago, they immediately recognized its potential, says Owe Hagesæther.

Since 2017, the Ocean Tech Scaling Program, a collaborative effort between GCE Ocean Technology, BI Norwegian Business School, and the Martin Trust Centre for MIT Entrepreneurship at MIT in Boston has provided invaluable support to 37 companies.

Their growth and development strategies have been tailored under the guidance of world-leading mentors and entrepreneurs.

– We wanted to offer an exclusive and tailored program that would provide state-of-the art know-how to promising companies in their effort to becoming export companies and grow into greener markets, says Owe Hagesæther, CEO of GCE Ocean Technology.

A reliable partner

When Sparebanken Vest (SPV) became aware of the initiative, they immediately recognized its potential and have been the main sponsor and source of financing since the very beginning.

The program now receives an annual grant of 2 million NOK through their foundation Agenda Vestlandet.

– Agenda Vestlandet is a driving force for the green transition on the west coast of Norway says Frode Nergaard Fjeldstad, CEO at Agenda Vestlandet. – Many new green business models die in the valley of death. This is a waste of resources. This is why we support this scaling program, as it creates new and green jobs and drives the energy transition.

24 steps to growth

The program is based on a 24-step method for disciplined entrepreneurship, developed by Bill Aulet who is the managing director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship as well as a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

The current program beginning fall 2023, has only two spots available, with a diverse range of participants: CGG, DeepOcean, Goodtech, Havkraft OlvondoTech and Scanreach.

With these latest additions, the total number of companies that have benefited from the programme now stands at 45.

Photo: Class of 2022 at MIT Boston.

Proof of the pudding

Bergen-based BSA Offshore brought their project and aspirations for a new business unit into the growth program and successfully established BSA Energy Limited in the UK.

– Although the establishment actually took place two years after our original battle plan, due to both Brexit and COVID-19, I do not think we would have done it with such success without the methodical approach we learned through this program, explains Jan Richard Finne, CEO of BSA Offshore.

Photo: From left to right: Vidar Strømsnes, Jan Richard Finne and Eirik Haugland from BSA Offshore.

Some other preliminary effects based on questionnaires and conversations show that the revenue of the selected companies has increased by 16% from the time they participated in the program until end of 2021, and the number of employees has increased by 24% accordingly.

An important factor that we learned through this program was the importance of opting out and focusing on the right things, something we did, and which today has resulted in a breakthrough for the product Drillwatch, Bjarte Fagerås, ex-CEO of Octio Group (now a part of Reach), participant, and current mentor.

An intense week in Boston

The program consists of 5 main modules, one of which is a week at MIT in Boston where 30,000 companies have been established by individuals from MIT, including Intel, HP, and Qualcomm.

Here, the participants not only attend lectures, but also meet and interact with MIT's world-class faculty and entrepreneurs. Between the five main modules the companies work on their own strategy based on the input given, guided by national and international mentors.

The commitment of Agenda Vestlandet has been a catalyst for the success of the program and we are extremely grateful for their continuous support, says Owe Hagesæther, CEO of GCE Ocean Technology.

Anyone interested in knowing more about the program can contact

Contact Information

Owe Hagesæther

Chief Executive Officer

Owe Hagesæther


The Ocean Tech Scaling programme is a unique scaleup programme for the ocean industries organised by GCE Ocean Technology together with BI Norwegian Business School, MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology and supported by Agenda Vestlandet.