Today was a special day for the entire Nordic Intent team, as we had the privilege of meeting Mrs. Ann Ollestad, the Consul General of Norway-India. Although the directors of Nordic Intent have met Mrs. Ollestad a couple of times before, this was her first visit to our office in Goa.
After a round of brief introductions, we settled down to discuss how Norway and India can build a better relationship. Mrs. Ollestad had some outstanding points on how India as a country needs to focus on various aspects of business growth and use its existing strength to keep growing.
Mrs. Ollestad commended Mahindra (a tech company in India) for investing in Norway and for pursuing other opportunities around the Nordic world. When asked what according to her has been the biggest challenge that Norwegian companies have faced while dealing with India in terms of business, she had a lot to say. She pointed out that the people who seek to enter the Indian market underestimate the complexities involved – they do not understand that it takes time to grow and prosper. She backed this reason with IKEA’s example – IKEA entered the Indian market after 12 years of market research. They took their time to work on areas that would attract the Indian crowd. And the result – a successful launch of the store in Hyderabad.
In a nutshell, Mrs. Ollestad stated that the Indian market is not for beginners. Also, for example, it took almost 10 years for Jotun to make profits after entering the Indian market.
But she was extremely happy and amazed to see how the new trend of startups in the IT sector are entering this complex market. She is keen on building bridges between smaller Indian companies and Norwegian companies.
The directors of Nordic Intent were very receptive of this suggestion and extended their full support in every way possible.
Moving forward, Mrs. Ollestad also helped us understand the Norwegian educational system, since we were curious to know about the exchange programs between India and Norway. She talked about some of the best universities in Norway and that currently there are about 4 IIT-Mumbai students studying there.
Another initiative Mrs. Ollestad is working on is linking the schools of Mumbai to those in Oslo, Norway in a way that would benefit both parties.
There were loads of other interesting topics that we discussed – how to adopt safety measures in Indian industrial estates, recycling waste and putting it to good use, jut like the people in Norway do, about energy and water management processes and also Goa can grow bigger as a state if the right kind of help is provided, even if the help is offered in micro-ways.
After the discussion, Ann Ollestad along with her husband toured all the offices of Nordic Intent and was impressed to see the strength of the organisation. She also stated that she is confident we are going to scale greater heights in the future.
Ann has invited the Nordic Intent Team to grace an event in December in Mumbai. The Nordic Intent team is also asked to present keynotes on helping students and Norwegian businessmen benefit from India.
The entire meet was indeed one that brightened our eyes with so much to look forward to. We would like to thank Ann Ollestad and her husband for taking the time to visit our office and helping us see a bigger picture of the Norway-India relationship.